1. Yakov Trenin, 2024 UFA
I've been beating this drum for a couple months now; Yakov Trenin's future with Nashville looks bleak and has hit a roadblock, so you need to trade him now and avoid what could be a tricky contract negotiation that ends in you getting outbid.
Trenin is a great player for the role he plays. He's a relentless forechecker, plays hard minutes on the penalty kill, sets the tone with his physicality and occasionally sneaks in some bonus offense. All of those traits are awesome to have for your bottom-six, but is it enough to overpay for him? Absolutely not.
You can replace players like Trenin much easier than you can replace the raw offensive skill players that plays with speed and high hockey IQ. Those types of players that single-handedly take over games and win you a playoff series.
You're in a position right now leading up to the trade deadline that that there are teams who are searching for quick rentals to make their playoff rosters deeper and can grind out the physicality you need in the playoffs.
We don't even know if the Predators are going to be in the playoffs this year, and we know that the Predators are much further away than just missing a bottom-six grinder or two. This is why it's wise to make the difficult decision to part ways with Trenin, even if he is a fan favotire and a head coach's dream in terms of playing hard nosed hockey.
I don't see Trenin floating around on any prominent trade speculation boards, and maybe Trotz does find a team-friendly deal that keeps Trenin happy and the front office happy as well. Even if the money makes sense, you're taking up another valuable roster spot that keeps talented prospects buried in Milwaukee for the next two or three years.
Trenin would be a valuable addition to a bonafide Stanley Cup contender who needs some beef in their bottom six. In return, Nashville should be able to get a talented prospect or a couple mid to late draft picks.
I would expect Trenin to want at least a bump to around $2 million AAV, and maybe more this offseason. Unless other dominoes fall that frees up more cap space, then Trenin should be dealt and he should get some reasonable value.
Other Trade Pieces to Consider
I left out Tommy Novak, not because he won't have value, but because I don't think it makes sense to trade him. He's part of your long-term retool, or whatever you want to call it, and it seems counterproductive to give up on him now.
Also, I'm not entirely convinced Novak would feth enough trade value to move on from him so soon, but of course every General Manager has a price that can't refuse so we'll see.
Tyson Barrie is the player that Trotz probably can't wait to trade, but the value has taken a nosedive due to injury and healthy scratches. Hard to trade an aging veteran who isn't even playing.
It's also not going to be anything of high value when Barrie is traded, which is almost a certainty once the deadline gets closer. This looks like a deal that Trotz finally find a suitor for on the final day.
Finally, there's Kevin Lankinen. Although he doesn't have a ton of value, goalies always seem to be a little overvalued because there's always goalie starved teams out there.
Problem is, Lankinen has regressed a bit this year and fallen away from being No.1 starter status. To find a trade partner for Lankinen, you'll have to find a team in search for a cheap No.2 and possibly a No.1 past next offseason.
Unfortunately, Lankinen's average recent play, and lack of playing time, has taken him off rental status. Going to be hard to trade him and he might end up just being a loss in offseason free agency. But you have to at least try to get whatever you can, especially if Saros isn't traded.
A lot of fluidity and moving parts with Saros and Lankinen's trade futures.