State of the Nashville Predators: NHL Trade Deadline Edition


Written by Dirk Hoag of On the Forecheck and HockeyGearHQ, and can be found on twitter at @Forechecker. Bobby Ryan section by Marc Torrence of On the Forecheck.

The Nashville Predators find themselves in an enviable position heading in towards the Trade Deadline. They’ve got a bit of room between them and the teams which are fighting for the final Western Conference playoff spots, and could conceivably go after their first Central Division title with a strong push down the stretch. That would put them solidly in the “Buyers” category, even though they do have some attractive players headed towards free agency who would make tempting assets on the trade market, most significantly Ryan Suter. Given the chance to make another push past the first round of the playoffs, however, David Poile has to try and maximize what this year’s team might do.

There are probably two main opportunities to improve the effectiveness and flexibility of the current lineup. First off, a big, physical defenseman who could work the penalty kill would provide a tremendous boost. Outside of Suter and his partner Shea Weber, there isn’t much size of physicality out of the rest of the Nashville blueliners, and you don’t want your two big stars doing so much of the dirty work. The Preds do have two rookies making excellent contributions on the power play in Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis, but they could use a basic thumper to make life difficult for opposing forwards and protect Pekka Rinne’s crease. Secondly, an additional Top Six-caliber forward would allow Barry Trotz to roll three full-stocked, relatively talented lines, while reserving the fourth for checkers and penalty killers. There will be a bit of a squeeze there as currently the lineup is healthy and Trotz has tough decisions on who to scratch each night, but there’s definitely an opportunity to inject some talent there. Budget shouldn’t be much of an issue, as the team has had among the lowest payrolls in the league all season long, and any acquisition will have already collected about 2/3rds of this season’s pay. There has been a great deal of discussion about raising the team salary level next season, so don’t rule out the acquisition of a player under a longer contract, just as they did with Mike Fisher last year.

Nashville Predators trade targets: Bobby Ryan

What Bobby Ryan would bring to the Predators

It’s no secret that the Predators have one glaring need that needs to be addressed before serious talks of a Stanley Cup can be brought up: a forward that can provide consistent scoring night-in and night-out. That’s exactly what Bobby Ryan brings to the table.

Ryan followed up his 64-point campaign in ’09-’10 with a career-high 71 points in ’10-’11. But he also plays a defensive game – a requirement in Barry Trotz’ system. Ryan Posted a +9 and +15 over his last two full seasons all while playing top minutes for the Ducks.

Everybody remembers what he did to David Legwand in the playoffs last year:

He certainly fits the mold of the top-6 forward that would bolster Nashville’s scoring up front and would conceivably be enough to convince Shea Weber and Ryan Suter that Nashville is ready to compete for a Stanley Cup now.

Continue reading about Ryan, click here to go to On the Forecheck.

Nashville Predators Trade Targets: Mikhail Grabovski

What Grabovski would bring to the Nashville Predators

Grabovski, obviously, would bring that scoring touch that the Predators need to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup. He’s not a pure scorer like a Steven Stamkos, but would add another consistent scorer to the Predators’ current crop.

Grabovski also gets matched up defensively with opposing teams’ top forward lines and, as Seth noted on twitter, could play on Nashville’s first line and play the defensive style that Barry Trotz demands.

Oh yeah, but there was also that incident with countryman and would-be-teammate Sergei Kostitsyn:

Continue reading about about Grabovski at On the Forcheck, by Marc Torrence.

, , , ,

  1. #1 by Jeff at February 4th, 2012

    Terrific update.

    One thing i think worth mentioning…this discussion really should be all about Suter. I imagine Poile has a better understanding of his contract needs more than anyone, but there is NO WAY HE CAN ALLOW SUTER TO LEAVE IN THE SUMMER FOR NOTHING.

    Greatest sin of all GM’s. Allowing your star player to go to UFA. If Suter isnt signed, he has to trade him. Results this season be damned, he just cannot let a possible Norris Trophy winner leave for nothing. The big picture is more important than their playoff seeding this season.

    Good luck to Poile, he has a very tough decision to make.

  2. #2 by Mark Easson at February 4th, 2012

    If they don’t sign him by the draft, possibly July 1st, I’m sure Poile will deal Suter rights to someone.

  3. #3 by Jimmy at February 4th, 2012

    For what…a draft pick? He should be worth SO much more. And if he leaves or is traded for a pick, then Poile should have traded him last summer when his value was high. risky business this is.

  4. #4 by Wunschkind89 at February 4th, 2012

    Nashville should have resigned Suter two years ago. Same with Weber. They shot themselves in the foot with poor management. If they want to look short-term and long term, one of them should be traded in a package for a good young player who is under contract, such as Bobby Ryan (which Mark already mentioned), make a run in the playoffs, and trade the other in the summer before July 1st for whatever you can get.

  5. #5 by JoonasJ86 at February 4th, 2012

    Wunschkind:

    I am pretty sure they would have signed them if it was possible. Suter for example has said a long time that he wants to see how badly Nashville is willing to win before signing. I mean increasing cap to get better players and so on.

    It’s not that easy to keep star players as a tight cap team. If you can’t pay them as much they would get on the market and you can’t make impact trades salary-wise what can you offer them?

  6. #6 by JoonasJ86 at February 4th, 2012

    Oh yeah i forgot to add that if Nashville wouldn’t have the financial green light this year and going forward it would be pretty obvious that both would be gone. Now they have a chance at being a competitive team.
    Would be awesome to see young expansion team like Preds win the SC.
    Go predators!

  7. #7 by AJ at February 4th, 2012

    Ryan goes if Suter or Weber comes. Period.

  8. #8 by Wunschkind89 at February 4th, 2012

    @Joonas

    If they resigned Suter and/or Weber 2-years ago, chances are they could have been had for a lower AAV. It was a good poblem to have a while ago, but now it’s just awful.

  9. #9 by Dirk Hoag at February 6th, 2012

    Wunschkind89: While it would be nice if the Preds could have re-signed Suter a long time ago, the NHL CBA says you can only do that during the final year of a guy’s contract.

    I do agree, though, that there is a huge risk here in seeing Suter potentially walk away for nothing (or just a mid-range draft pick in a pre-July 1 trade), but given where the Preds are in the standings right now, David Poile has to try and add to what he has today and see if this team can put together a playoff run.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Comments are closed.