The Predators should stand pat at the NHL trade deadline.
The Nashville Predators and general manager David Poile have not been extremely active on NHL Trade Deadline days in the past and it’s in their best interest to continue that trend on Monday afternoon.
The theme of every deadline day is teams overpaying for rental players who’s contracts run out on July 1 leaving their future with their new team completely up in the air. You have the sellers which are offloading their rentals for draft picks and prospect while you have the buyers shipping said draft picks and prospects to the sellers.
One of those rental players that has been linked with the Predators for weeks now is Rick Nash, but that ship sailed on Sunday morning as the Boston Bruins acquired Nash for quite the haul.
The Bruins sent a 2018 first-round pick, 2018 seventh-round pick, 2016 second-round selection Ryan Lindgren, forward Matt Beleskey and forward Ryan Spooner for Nash who has 28 points (18G, 10A) this season in 60 games played with the New York Rangers. The Rangers also retained half of Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit.
One of the go-to trade packages that comes to mind from a Predators perspective would be a first-round pick and Pontus Aberg. Those two pieces clearly would not have been enough for Nash, and if the Bruins-Rangers trade is a sign of what is to come on Monday, that first-round pick and Aberg package may not fetch as much as some may think.
But then again, that doesn’t matter.
NOTE: The Predators traded Pontus Aberg to the Edmonton Oilers Sunday afternoon after this story was posted.
Outside of simply overpaying for a player, the biggest reason the Predators should stay put during tomorrow’s deadline action is the fact that nearly every situation is going to require the Predators to offload a first-round draft pick.
The Predators cabinet of highly regarded prospects is rather empty after sending Vladislav Kamenev and Samuel Girard to Colorado as parts of the Kyle Turris acquisition earlier this season. Nashville still has Dante Fabbro, Emil Pettersson, Pavel Koltygin in the system and of course expect big things from Eeli Tolvanen very soon, but the prospect pool in the Nashville system isn’t exactly loaded especially with players ready for an NHL role.
Hanging onto both 2018 and 2019 first-round draft picks would give the Preds an opportunity of bolstering up their system. It’s also worth noting Nashville doesn’t have 2018 second-round draft pick. And yes, the Red Wings would most likely be looking for a first-round pick in a deal involving the rumored Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist.
The argument that many will have of sending a first-round pick for a player that could add to the Predators’ chances of winning a Stanley Cup would be worth it isn’t a bad argument to make, but the Predators’ depth at the moment is as good as it has ever been in its franchise’s history. Also, the Preds are expected to add Mike Fisher to the mix around March 1 and they may bring Tolvanen over from the KHL following the conclusion of his team’s season.
“Everybody we’ve talked to has asked for Eeli Tolvanen, and we’ve told everybody no.” – #Preds GM David Poile
— The Midday 180 (@Midday180) February 22, 2018
The Predators are in the best shape they have ever been in when it comes to the NHL Trade Deadline. They are three points outside of first place in the Western Conference, sit atop the Central Division with at least one game in hand of every divisional foe and could be getting a proven bottom-six center in Fisher and one of the top prospects in all of hockey joining their club ahead of the playoff push.
Nashville has also scored the 10th most goals in the NHL, allowed the second fewest in the league, the power play is the fourth most successful in the NHL while the penalty kill is clicking as the 10th best group.
Overpaying for a player, whether it be a rental or not, sending a first-round pick and other pieces in the deal and risking a change in chemistry throughout the lineup simply doesn’t make sense for the Predators.
The Predators last made a significant move on deadline day during the 2013-14 season when they shipped David Legwand to the Red Wings in exchange for Calle Jarnkrok, Patrick Eaves and a third-round pick. Last year Nashville sent a sixth-round pick to the Devils for P.A. Parenteau and they also made a minor move involving future considerations to the Coyotes in exchange for AHL defenseman Corey Potter on deadline day in 2016.
The NHL trade window will officially close on Monday at 2:00 p.m. CST.