Nashville Predators Should Aggressively Explore a Trade for Trevor Zegras

Mar 21, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras (11) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras (11) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

We are less than a week from the Stanley Cup Final beginning between the Edmonton Oilers and the Florida Panthers, which means that NHL offseason activity is going to start ramping up soon. Perhaps even sooner than we thought, as Frank Seravalli recently reported that major moves could start as early as this week.

As such, you have to imagine that GM Barry Trotz and the Nashville Predators could be among those teams. With their abundance of cap space, draft picks, and the Trotz's comments at the end-of-season press conference about adding to the team, they are primed to make some big trades.

Besides mentioning that he wants more speed and skill in the forward core, he specifically mentioned the center position as one that could use reinforcements. Luckily for Trotz and the Predators, there is someone potentially on the market for whom they should swing the fences, because it would fit on so many levels.

Upside of Trevor Zegras is too good for Nashville Predators to not heavily pursue

Trevor Zegras is 23-years-old and the former 9th-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, and is coming off of what should have been his third full year in the NHL. Things went horribly wrong for him in 2023-24, as he had two big injuries that limited him to just 31 games for the whole season.

Even in the games that Zegras played, he was not very productive, although to be fair to him, he could barely get into a rhythm with how often he was taken in and out of the lineup. And he did once again flash his talent by ending the season with 8 points in 11 games, which was enough to get to get to 15 points in 31 games.

Even still, the trade rumors around Zegras have not quieted down, and some wonder if it is a deeper issue than him as a player. It seemingly began last offseason when he was due for a new contract, and there was a dispute before the two parties finally reached a resolution.

But the rumors were still flying all throughout the season, and Zegras even admitted that they upset him. It is fair to wonder if the relationship between him and the Anaheim Ducks is permanently fractured, and with them having several other young and uber-talented forwards, we can see why a player like Zegras might be expendable.

If the Ducks are really considering moving him, the Predators need to swoop in. The talent he has is incredible, as he can create plays like nobody's business and score goals, and he has the potential to be a bonafide number one center for a team, which the Predators have always lacked.

A guy like Zegras is so rare to find on the trade market, as he has legitimate top six production under his belt, but also is super young and has potential to grow. He is also still under contract for two more years at a very reasonable price, and will still be a restricted free agent at its end.

If the Predators traded for him, they would get all of his potential upside without any huge risks to go along with it. And knowing where they are, they will likely never get a true top center in the draft anytime soon, so why would Trotz not take a swing at Zegras?

Even if the absolute worst case scenario happened and Zegras was so bad that the Predators did not qualify him at the end of his current contract, they have so many assets in their system that it would not hurt them that badly in the long run. It makes too much sense for Trotz to not offer a package.

What would a trade for Zegras look like forPredators ?

I would imagine that a trade for Zegras would not be the most expensive in the world, but surely would not get done for just pennies on the dollar. He is a good enough player for whom several GM's could get into a bidding war, and the Ducks do not have to trade him yet, so they have no incentive to take a package that is not beneficial to them.

Ducks GM Pat Verbeek has said that they are targeting a top-four right shot defenseman this offseason, and the Predators have one they could offer in Dante Fabbro.

Fabbro's time in Nashville has been full of ups and downs and uncertainty, and he was held out of the lineup for several games this year. But when he was in, he was solid, and spent much of his playing time on the top defensive pairing with Roman Josi, with whom he has developed great chemistry.

It is a bit of a mystery why he was scratched so often this year, but he looked good when playing, and could absolutely make it in a situation like the Ducks' where he could get a full-time spot. That could be beneficial for both teams, as the Ducks address a clear need, and the Predators part with a player whose future has always been in limbo.

While Fabbro would be a nice get for the Ducks, they would probably want a forward as well, and preferably another center to help mitigate the loss of Zegras. That is where the Predators could offer Cody Glass, who just had a down year and may not have a future in Nashville anymore.

Even still, he has potential as a former sixth overall pick and looked to be finding himself towards the end of last season, so the change of scenery could help him. At around this time last year, he looked to be scratching the surface on what he could become, so if the Ducks traded for him and he got back on track, it would give them a huge boost.

On top of that, the Predators could easily afford to throw in their 1st round pick for this year's Draft. Maybe that seems lofty, but remember that it is only the 22nd overall pick, the Predators have three 2nd rounders this year, and they have two 1st rounders next year.

Heck, if the Ducks wanted even a little more than that, I would be comfortable obliging if I were Trotz, as the Predators have so many draft picks and really do not need all of them.

Zegras is a player who could change the future trajectory of a team like the Predators, and once again, so long as they do not offer a top prospect or already established game changer, they will be fine if a trade for him truly does not work out. Hopefully Trotz is on the phone right now trying to make it happen.