Your Nashville Predators are 2nd in the Central Division, 3rd in the Western Conference, and 5th in the entire NHL. To make matters even better, the Preds have either played the same amount or have several games-in-hand against the teams they are trailing. To boot, they also carry an 8 game point streak into the All Star break. So naturally, lets talk about what needs to be changed.
The NHL deadline is quickly approaching, and several teams have begun dangling players as trade bait. So who would be a good fit? Should the Preds make a change?
It’s been reported that the Preds are in the market for a top 6 forward, more specifically a winger. The Predators, having a Stanley Cup window that is wide open until the end of the 2018-2019 season, would undoubtedly be a luxurious landing spot for any player in the NHL. Several names have been reported as trade bait and several make sense for a team looking to make another deep cup run. Here are 5 big names that may or may not be a great fit for the Preds:
- Evander Kane– I’m so tired of seeing his name in the same breath as the Nashville Predators. When it comes to everything that Nashville and it’s hockey franchise stands for, I couldn’t think of a worse combination than Kane. No, no, no. End of discussion.
- Max Pacioretty– This rumor has gained a lot of traction ever since Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted that there were some interest from the Preds. He has struggled this year on a bad Canadians team, but his upside is still tremendous. He’s scored 30 goals or more in four straight years, so he would immediately bolster an already deadly offense. There were reports that Max and PK might have had some beef in the past, but i’m pretty sure both would put their differences aside for a shot a Lord Stanley.
- Thomas Vanek– The Canucks are, well, the Canuks, and are not threatening a post season run. The Canucks undoubtedly would want to keep the winger. However, given the right price, Vanek might be a great fit for Nashville. He has a ton of upside and would be a great rental.
- James Neal– I know, I know, put down your pitch forks. It’s a crazy thought but not an outlandish one. The Golden Knights are red hot and destined to be a force to be reckoned with this post season, but George McPhee is not idiot. The Knights are a brand new franchise with a ton of upside, but being buyers at the deadline could doom them for years to come. As the Predators have shown in past years, a good farm system is the key to long term success in the NHL, and the Knights don’t have one. Why not get rid of a UFA that may or may not be in Vegas next year? If Neal is dealt I severly doubt it will be to the Predators, but I wouldn’t be mad if the did..
- Numerous New York Rangers– The reports came out recently that the Rangers are going to be major sellers at the deadline with a struggling and aging roster. Everyone is going to jump to the top and want Rick Nash, but that’s not the forward we are looking for. My guy, is Michael Grabner. He notched 27 goals last year, 21 so far this year, and is the shining spot on a dull roster. He also wouldn’t be a major cap hit and wouldn’t demand a huge return.
Admittedly, I would be shocked if any of the aforementioned players were traded to the Preds. This is especially true concerning what we would have to give up to get them. But Lord Stanley’s door is wide open for the Predators, so over spending might be worth it if the price is right.
To be honest, I don’t really want to make any moves. The lineup is getting healthier and with the possibility of Eeli Tolvanen making the jump, I’m sure Poile isn’t going to rush to process. If I had my pick, I think Grabner would be a fantastic fit, but no matter which way you look at it, these are fantastic problems for the Predators to be presented with.