The Nashville Predators still have a penalty-killing problem. Right now they are sitting at 25th in the league at 76.5%. It's bad and is far from where the average playoff team is resting.
With the most important stretch of the season looming and deals to be made, it is possible that trying to wheel a deal for one of these players could make a positive impact on the team and help secure a playoff spot.
Jordan Greenway - LW Buffalo Sabers 38 GP, 6 G, 8 A, 14 PTS
The Predators don't have a ton of beef in the lineup on the forward side. Sure they have some strong guys, but who is really intimdating? Yes, Michael McCarron, be he can only be on the ice so often.
Enter Jordan Greenway, a decent offensive player and penalty killer. At 6'6", 230 pounds, Greenway is a can't-miss physical presence on the ice. He's only played 38 games this season, but his 60 hits would put him in the Predators' top-10, and he drives play with his shooting and surprisingly spry skating.
At 3 million dollars he's not a terrible contract to have on the books for next year either, especially with a few expiring deals on the table for the Preds. The trick will be finding what Buffalo wants in return.
Nic Dowd - C Washington Capitals 39 GP, 7 G, 6 A, 13 PTS
He's a popular deadline name this year, because Nic Dowd is your ideal bottom six, playoff-style center. He blocks shots, wins faceoffs (51% on his career) has size, takes away more pucks than he gives away, and is good for 25ish points a year, maybe 30 if he avoids the injury bug.
With the forward market being set high, Down might cost a first-round pick, which is probably the only thing that has kept a team from pulling the trigger on him already.
Why the cost? He's not a rental, and he's playing probably playing the best hockey of his career. He also is cheap, at a measly $1.3 million. For what you get from Dowd, he's probably underpaid, and will remain underpaid next year.
There are better players out there yes, but he's a seamless lineup for almost any team, and in a cap-conscious league his number might be worth the draft pick.
Scott Laughton - C Philadelphia Flyers 51 GP, 5 G, 15 A, 20 PTS
Laughton is arguably the best offensive player currently of the four that will be mentioned. He's a former first rounder who has made his bones in the league doing the dirty stuff like penalty killing, agitating, and having to play smarter than most players night in and night out. Last season in a featured role for the putrid Flyers he had his best statistical season, but this year has returned to Earth stats-wise but has still been effective.
At 29 Laughton has some hard NHL miles on him. He'll have played 600 NHL games by year's end, and has two years at $3 million left on his contract. The Flyers have a glut of young talent they need to make room for while undoing their previous regeime's bad decisions. Laughton is likely to be a sacrifice for the sake of the Flyers' future, and he could be a useful addition for the Predators.
Nick Bonino - C Free Agent 45 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 5 PTS
The former Predator was released unconditionally by the Rangers a few days ago. There is a fairly decent chance that he's cooked, which is fair after a career spanning seven teams and 868 games.
However, Bonino would likely be the cheapest option available, and is a player that has a comfort level with the city and organization. Also frankly the fit in New York for him wasn't the greatest, so it's worth a tire kick at least.
Will the Predators find themselves on the hunt for any of these players? Only Barry Trotz knows at this point.