by Thomas Sarver
UPDATE: As of the original time of publishing of this article, all of these players were available. Shortly after posting, both Ryan Dzingle (CBJ) and Mats Zuccarello (DAL) were traded. I guess that goes to show you how fast the NHL moves at the trade deadline.
As hockey fans, we are in one of the most exciting periods of the year. The trade deadline. This is where teams not only acquire the final pieces they need to make noise in the playoffs, it is also where teams fail and lose any chance of having a dynasty by overpaying for pieces. A true make or break moment. So, what are some pieces that would either A. be the final piece the Preds need to make a return to cup or B. impactful players that would not require Nashville to mortgage their future in order to acquire.
5 Wayne Simmonds
Kicking off this list with a name that everyone has seen before. Wayne Simmonds brings more grit which is something the Preds are not lacking now that they have Brian Boyle and Cody McLeod.
But what Simmonds also does is he brings an eye for scoring which is something Nashville could desperately use. Simmonds has been a twenty plus goal scorer since he moved to Philadelphia from L.A. (excluding the lockout season).
This is the type of production that Nashville could use to boost scoring on the midlines or the second powerplay unit and would not cost as much as other players for this role, due to his age and expiring contract. He also has a number of games played in the playoffs which adds to what he can bring to the table. You can never have too much experience.
4 Ryan Dzingel
Is it me, or do former late-round draft picks just play harder in general?
Dzingel, a former 7th round pick is really showing the Senators why they should’ve signed him to a deal longer than just two years. So far, Dzingel has followed up his impressive 2017-2018 campaign with a lights out campaign this season. In 57 games this season, he has put up 22 goals and 22 assists and already plays the role that Nashville would use him for.
At 26 years old, this is also the type of player that would be ideal to do a sign and trade with, especially since he would probably be looking for a mid-level contract instead of the high-level contracts that Panarin, Stone, or even Wayne Simmonds would be looking for.
3 Mats Zuccarello
Even though his career has not been the most consistent regarding point totals, this is a player who would not only boost the offensive side of the game but would also boost the Preds transition game.
A problem I’ve noticed with the Preds lately is there seems to be issues when Nashville goes to move the puck from defensive zone to offensive zone, and a player like Zuccarello would help raise the pace of play in a way that is similar to Arvidsson.
Also worth noting is also his ability to light up the scoreboard in the playoffs, most notably putting up 13 points in 25 games in the Rangers cup run. That may not seem like much but say he was on the Preds cup run team, that total would’ve made him tied for third on the team in scoring. So as far as bang for your buck goes, Zuccarello may provide the best bargain, especially when you put him on a semi-competent team.
2 Mark Stone
The name that most people were probably expecting to be first on this list. Stone is also probably the only remaining big piece that is going to be making a move this deadline as I doubt
Panarin will be moving now that Columbus has acquired Duchene. Since earning a full-time spot on the Ottawa Senators, Stone has put up at least 54 points in each season. He could probably have more, but he also hasn’t been able to play a full 82 game season yet in his career.
I feel like that’s something that doesn’t get enough attention, I mean we are talking about a player who would come in to help Nashville win the Stanley Cup. It really makes things difficult to do that when you have players who can’t stay healthy. Remember when Sissons was Nashville’s number one center in the Stanley Cup final?
1 Toronto Wingers
Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen are unlikely to even get traded. This would only be a possibility if Nashville was willing to move one of their right-handed defensemen, which is also super unlikely.
In a crazy world where that was a possibility though, either one of these players would be able to step in and immediately help out in multiple aspects of the game. Both of whom are also in their first-year full year as a starter and on expiring deals.
They can only get better from here. When you factor in that Toronto is going to be preoccupied with signing Matthews and Marner while against the cap. Nashville may be able to take advantage of a young GM whose back is against the cap ceiling. On the downside, in order to get one of these players, Toronto would probably want one of Ellis, Ekholm, or Subban. You can make the argument for Fabbro, but Toronto is in win-now mode. I doubt Nashville would pull the trigger unless Toronto did, in fact, prefer acquiring Fabbro.
While I imagine a lot of people wanted Nashville to go out and get Matt Duchene or attempt to go out and get the remaining big fish like Panarin or Stone, I’m not sure that’s the best move. Nashville has seen first-hand with Chicago what happens when a team forgets to restock their minor team. Nashville has already traded away plenty of pieces like Girad, Kamenev, their first, second, and third-round pick in last year’s draft, so the number of tradeable pieces that Nashville has gotten significantly smaller than a lot of fans a willing to realize.