The NHL trade deadline has passed and the Nashville Predators, for the second year in a row, failed to make any big splashes.
The biggest news of the day is that Filip Forsberg remains on the team for the rest of this season, but also has not yet been extended beyond 2022.
Sounds like the best offensive player on a playoff team isn't being moved, to no one's surprise https://t.co/EkepYhQTfD— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) March 21, 2022
As I mentioned on Sunday’s “On The Preds” episode, this was the only viable option for David Poile. Trading Filip Forsberg was never a legitimate option, for several reasons. Of course, it would have been better if he could get an extension done before the deadline, but there was no way he would trade his best forward.
For the whole explanation why a trade was never an option, check out the episode here, starting at the 22:30 mark.
But that wasn’t the only move (or rather “non-move) for David Poile on Monday.
Here’s a quick recap of a rather underwhelming trade deadline day in Nashville.
Preds acquire Jeremy Lauzon from Seattle
Defenseman Jeremy Lauzon is a 6’1″, 200 lb left handed defenseman that played top four minutes for the Seattle Kraken. He joined their squad in the expansion draft, selected from the Boston Bruins, where he played for three seasons.
Lauzon, based on his ability and career track, is likely going to be a depth defenseman kind of player. He will likely see his fair share of healthy scratches, particularly if younger defensemen like Jeremy Davies and Matt Tennyson continue to play the way they did last Saturday against Toronto.
The real issue with this trade is the cost.
The Preds sent a 2nd round pick to get Lauzon from the Kraken. That’s an incredible overpay.
At his post deadline press conference, Poile had a lot to say about Lauzon, a player he sees as a real asset moving forward:
“[Lauzon’s] a player that we’ve had an interest in for quite a while,” told the media on Monday. “He’s a solid player, he is an improving player. And he’s a player that fits our identity exactly the way we would like to play. I believe he’s right now fifth in the league in hits. He can play both sides, he’s left handed shot, but he can play on the right side. All of our reports and all of our knowledge on him is he’s a super young man, do whatever you want, very much a ‘warrior’ type of player.”
Poile also mentioned later in the conference that he plans on signing Lauzon to a longer deal this summer. Lauzon, who is 24, will be a restricted free agent.
From the sounds of it, Lauzon is not on a deadline day acquisition for blueline depth, but a significant piece for the Preds moving forward.
But again… the price is just too high.
Lauzon just doesn’t have the ceiling worth a 2nd round pick. At best, he becomes a replacement option on the 3rd pairing, where he would get sheltered minutes and not play on special teams.
I'd like to see Lauzon in action (I saw only glimpses against SEA this year) but it's hard to see this trade as anything but a mistake.— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) March 21, 2022
You don't spend pay trade deadline prices (in this case a 2nd round pick) for depth defensemen long term projects.
Fleury, Rakell, and Lauzon… in no universe should those three players have the same price tag.
Two AHL depth pieces round out deadline day for Preds
The Preds also added two guys that will likely head straight for Milwaukee.
First they acquired Brayden Burke, a physical forward who once played with Tanner Jeannot, from Los Angeles in exchange for defenseman Frederic Allard. Then they acquired Alex Biega, a 33-year-old (emphasis on old) AHL defenseman. Biega was essentially free from Toronto (future considerations).
These two players will not likely see time in Nashville. The good news is that they didn’t cost much. Allard has been squeezed out of the defensive pipeline for some time now, so he wasn’t going to be around much longer anyway. And Biega didn’t cost anything.
Two moves that won’t likely impact much of anything in Nashville.
“Quiet” focus is on Filip Forsberg right now
Obviously, not trading Filip Forsberg means they need to re-sign him. Just like they needed to re-sign Mikael Granlund, and just like they needed to get Mattias Ekholm, Roman Josi, and Ryan Ellis under contract, not to mention countless other important pieces over the years.
Poile talked a lot about Forsberg on Monday, though there were obviously not a lot of specifics. He mentioned that he and Filip met as recently as last week, where Poile verified Forsberg definitely wants to be in Nashville and a part of the Predators organization.
“I want to make it clear to everybody that we love having Filip as a part of our team,” Poile said. “I wouldn’t want anyone to think any less of our desire to retain him as a member of the Nashville Predators for the next several seasons.”
“We are going to continue to work quietly with Filip and his representative towards a contract that pays him equitably while giving the organization the flexibility to build and maintain a roster to compete for the Stanley Cup.”
Poile then mentioned that both parties agreed to “work quietly” but to maintain focus on the task at hand: making the playoffs and winning the Stanley Cup.
Using the word “flexibility” the way Poile did in the video above strikes me as important. Poile does not hand out movement clauses very often, though he did give one to Pekka Rinne and Roman Josi. Flexibility is a big part of not having a movement clause.
As I’ve mentioned before, Poile has the money to re-sign him. The above statement makes me wonder if the real issue is a movement clause. Perhaps that’s the sticking point?
Poile seems very confident that a deal will get done. Doesn't think it's like the Suter situation at all. Feels like he knows Forsberg's heart is in staying in Nashville, just needs to get the right final deal.— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) March 21, 2022
This is me paraphrasing his words here, btw
David Poile will always have the Ryan Suter departure in the back of his mind. It’s a ghost that will likely never stop haunting his nightmares.
The fact that he doesn’t really see this as similar to the Suter situation is telling. He must be very confident that a deal will get done.
In the meantime, the Nashville Predators have to make the playoffs, and start winning while there, in order to make the Filip Forsberg situation a bit easier to chew.
— Featured image via Harrison Barden/USA TODAY Sports —