Reviewing Nashville Predators 2024 Trade Deadline Moves as the Dust Settles

Now that we've had time to process what the Preds did at the trade deadline, what does it mean for the long-term future for the franchise?

Mar 2, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators players celebrate with center Cody Glass
Mar 2, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators players celebrate with center Cody Glass / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a full week since the NHL Trade Deadline happened, and the Nashville Predators were certainly one of the more interesting teams judging what they did. They were almost sure to be sellers in mid-February but ended up having to change their plans due to the team's performance.

The Predators went on a torrid win streak, getting eight of them in a row and to this day, they have not lost in regulation in their past 13 games. Even for a team that is putting a huge emphasis on the future, General Manager Barry Trotz could not ignore the absolute heater that his team was and still is on.

It was not an easy position that Trotz was in, and his actions and words at a press conference last Friday indicated that he knew it. Ultimately, he did what he could to reward the team for their recent play but not compromise the future of the team.

Nashville Predators did multiple things simultaneously at Trade Deadline

The Predators finished the 2024 Trade Deadline as modest buyers, as they brought in Anthony Beauvillier from the Chicago Blackhawks and Jason Zucker from the Arizona Coyotes. But they also made a sellers move, shipping off Yakov Trenin to the Colorado Avalanche.

These moves alone were perfectly viable for the Predators given the position they were in. Beauvillier only cost a 5th round pick while Zucker only cost a 6th, two moves that were very cheap and made possible by the amount of draft capital at their disposal, Trotz said.

But in trading Trenin, the Predators got a 3rd rounder in return, while also acquiring defensive prospect Jeremy Hanzel for another defensive prospect in Graham Sward. It is worth noting that Hanzel signed his entry-level contract the day of the trade, indicating that he is farther along in his development than Sward is.

When you put the pieces together, the Predators upgraded their draft pool by getting a 3rd rounder for a 5th and 6th, and got a better prospect than the one they had before. That in itself is a big win and a perfect example of how it is possible to make moves for the present and the future.

Now there were three other players on the team who looked like they could be real trade pieces for the Predators, and they are Tyson Barrie, Alexandre Carrier, and Kevin Lankinen. None of them were dealt, which I still do not love, but it is understandable why Trotz held onto all three.

In particular, not trading Barrie was a head-scratcher because he had been rumored as on the way out since December, but it was not for a lack of trying. Trotz mentioned that both Barrie and his agent were actively on the phones trying to get a deal done, and credited both for the way they handled it, which was good to hear after the drama that had ensued from the original rumors.

Trotz did admit that he intentionally held onto Carrier and that contract discussions are ongoing, and he purposefully kept Lankinen, although there was no serious market for him. It seems odd that Trotz would keep two guys on expiring contracts when the chances of the Predators winning a Stanley Cup this year are so low, but one quote from the press conference makes it more sensible.

He mentioned that the success of the Milwaukee Admirals this season was a factor at the Trade Deadline, and that he did not want to disrupt the special thing they have going. None of Trotz's words caught my eye more than those, and they show that the future of the team really was prioritized throughout the process.

The more the young guys succeed in Milwaukee, they will gain confidence and chemistry, and that can only be a plus to their development. In order to keep that going, you have to make sure there are enough able bodies in Nashville, and we can especially see why Lankinen was not traded.

Yaroslav Askarov is the last guy who you want to disrupt right now, and a Lankinen trade would have meant he was the next man up in Nashville. I absolutely understand why Trotz valued the development of his own guys in Milwaukee over a few draft picks and prospects that would not have been true blue-chip assets.

Predators Held onto their Future Assets, But Should've Traded Carrier

Looking at everything holistically, the one thing I really would have done differently was trading Carrier. He will most likely walk in the offseason for nothing, and even if he would not have gotten a crazy high return, I do not see how that would have not been more valuable to the team, especially given their logjam on defense.

Yes, it would have hurt Milwaukee, but the most important priority is still the NHL team, and it would have been worth it to make one move at their expense to aid the team's draft and possibly prospect capital.

Even though Trotz was not perfect at the Trade Deadline, I still think he did a good job. The fact of the matter is that when a team is hot like the Predators are, it is extremely hard to tear everything down, as you play games to win and completely bailing on what they had would have looked bad.

As important as it is to maximize future assets when a team is prioritizing the future, keeping a good culture matters too. Other players across the league can look at a team like the Predators and realize that they truly reward their players for good play, as Trotz harped on, and that can only make them more of an attractive place to play.

Additionally, it is hard to maximize the chance to win now while not only keeping your good prospects, but literally upgrading your draft capital. Trotz managed to do that, and there was nothing more important for the Predators than keeping the draft pool intact, so he gets an A-plus right there.


Another thing that is worth addressing is that Juuse Saros and Gustav Nyquist were two other guys who could have been trade bait for the Predators, and of course they did not go anywhere. Trading either would have actually hurt their chances of winning now, and if they were on contracts set to expire after this year, that would have been one thing.

But both of them are still under contract throughout next year, and with how they are playing, there is almost zero chance they tank their trade value between now and the coming offseason. If the Predators are an easy first round exit in the playoffs or simply miss them, both of those guys can be traded in the summer, and the team's future will hardly be affected.

. . Preds Trade Deadline Grade. Preds Trade Deadline Grade. B+

Let me reiterate that it was an extremely weird spot that Trotz and the Predators were in at the Trade Deadline. The present and future were two things that absolutely had to be accounted for, and we also must remember that this is Trotz's first year as a GM in any capacity, and it is Andrew Brunette's first year as the team's head coach.

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They are not only still learning about the team but learning how to work together together, and Trotz is in the early stages of being a GM. As much as some people might roll their eyes, all of that requires some trial and error, so it makes sense that Trotz would not want to do anything too far in any one direction.

He played it safe for all intents and purposes and did not do anything to truly compromise the future of the organization, which is what everyone was concerned about. Trotz avoided the things that would have hurt them the most and improved the most important asset that the team has, so overall I am content with the work he did.