When the Tampa Bay Lightning sent out the following tweet this morning, the NHL was set ablaze with speculation about a trade possibly coming soon:
Kubina being held off the ice to protect the team's interests. Has been asked for teams he would be willing to move to.— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) February 16, 2012
|2011 - Pavel Kubina||52||3||8||11||+1||59||0||0||1||56||5.3|
Might the Nashville Predators be in the mix for the giant Tampa blueliner? Let's consider the case...
What Pavel Kubina would bring to the Nashville Predators
Size, size, and more size. With his right-handed boomer of a shot, a Kubina pickup would likely mean that Ryan Ellis would take a back seat during this playoff run, which is pretty typical for the Predators to do with rookies their first time around. This is an especially tricky issue with this current team, which also has Roman Josi in the mix, too. The left side of the defense might be the one more urgently in need of help, making Kubina the less-than-optimal choice, but still worth considering.
Here's what the scouting report from his profile page here at SB Nation has to say:
To me, that might be a pretty good fit for 3rd pair and special teams play. Picture him as a dependable depth option who could take a bit of the PP/PK burden off of Shea Weber and Kevin Klein. In a pinch (injuries do happen, after all) he's also capable of stepping into a larger role.
Here's one vote for considering Kubina, from Jeremy at Section 303:
It appears as if the Predators already have a Stanley Cup blueprint in place. They may be one or two pieces away from completing the puzzle but that piece isn't necessarily a big name superstar like a Rick Nash or a Zach Parise or a Bobby Ryan. It very well could be an experienced defenseman like Hal Gill in Montreal or Pavel Kubina in Tampa Bay. Somebody who's been there, done that and somebody who's going to compliment what's already in place.
It is worth noting that Kubina was a big part of Tampa Bay's 2004 Stanley Cup championship team, scoring 17 goals. For those who like proven playoff experience on the roster, he'd be the only guy in the Nashville locker room with a Stanley Cup ring to show off.
The Contract Situation
He makes $3.5 million this season, and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. That's pretty ideal for a rental player, given the young talent Nashville is developing on defense. He wouldn't be looked to as a long-term solution, so wouldn't get in the way of other blueliners developing at the NHL level.
What it might cost
Raw Charge indicates that Kubina has a limited no-trade clause with the Lightning, so the number of bidders in this case is likely to be pretty limited. I imagine the ballpark for a player in this sort of situation would be similar to the Denis Grebeshkov deal in 2010, i.e. a 2nd-round draft pick. Another comparable might be Hal Gill going from Toronto to Pittsburgh for a 2nd & a 5th. In 2008, Detroit got Brad Stuart (who was more "in his prime" than Kubina is now) for a 2nd & 4th.
So what do you think, Preds fans? Might Pavel Kubina make a good acquisition for the Predators playoff run?