Despite a record breaking NHL trade deadline day, with 32 trades (and counting) across the league, the Nashville Predators decided to sit this one out.
Though they did make one move, sending Matt Irwin and a 6th round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Korbinian Holzer, the Predators were largely inactive. They were hardly mentioned in any trade rumors and, from the sound of it, David Poile made very few outgoing calls on players who were available.
“Being very open with everybody, I certainly entertained offers on,” David Poile said to the media on Monday. “I was open to talking about a lot of our players, including our free agents [like] Granlund and Smith. But the fact that I’m standing here and didn’t do anything just tells you at the end of the day, I felt that our team was playing well enough.”
The biggest questions going into the trade deadline for the Predators were answered on Monday. The first being, would they keep Craig Smith and Mikael Granlund on the roster and risk losing them to free agency in the summer?
David Poile said on Monday that he likes the team with Smith and Granlund and that he would do what he could to keep them around next year.
“That was the final decision.”
The other big question was about the defense. Would David Poile look to add blueline help for a unit that has struggled with consistency all season?
“We made one small trade,” Poile said, alluding to the Holzer acquisition. “We really felt our bottom-end defense needed to have a little bit of a change. Holzer just brings a different kind of an element. He’s a bigger-body player that plays pretty gritty, pretty physical, and he can play on our penalty kill, which certainly can use some help. So, a small deal, but hopefully an important deal as we go along through the remainder of this season.”
But in the end, adding Holzer was more of a token move. It’s unlikely he will play any major role on the team moving forward, save for some spot starts down the stretch. He had four points for Anaheim this year in 46 games, which strangely is an upgrade from Matt Irwin, who had two points in 27 games.
Preds lack of moves hopefully a good sign
While many fans were hopeful for a shakeup, in the end David Poile decided to do basically nothing. The team these fans have watched for 61 games, the one that finds itself out of the playoffs currently, is going to be the team they are stuck with for the remaining 21 games. If somehow they make the playoffs, fans will have much of the same to look forward to: inconsistent offense, leaky defense, and unpredictable goaltending.
However, they can also look forward to some spectacular play from Roman Josi, the emergence of an exciting third line featuring Nick Bonino and Craig Smith, and a break out season from Rocco Grimaldi. That’s Rocco Grimaldi, who earned himself a two-year, $4 million contract on Monday.
2018: #Preds sign little known forward Rocco Grimaldi to team friendly deal at $650K.
2019: Rocco earns his first $1 million contract via arbitration, says “he just wants to make a team out of camp”
2020: Rocco signs $4 million contract, earning every penny of it.
What a ride. https://t.co/N1B0nreaqm
— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) February 24, 2020
In the end, this Nashville Predators team will be judged by how it performs on the ice. So to will David Poile be judged, as he’s the one who constructed the team as it is. He’s also the one who fired the coach in the middle of the season to show further commitment to the players he signed.
Will this Nashville Predators team be the one that puts David Poile squarely on the hot seat, by underperforming so much that they miss the playoffs? Or will this Nashville Predators team finally “put it all together” in the final 21 games, march to the playoffs like the St. Louis Blues did last year, get hot at the right time, and shock everyone?
— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —