The number one topic on every Predator fan's mind now is likely the potential for a trade deadline move. At the top of the list sits Columbus captain Rick Nash, this season's Holy Grail of deadline moves.
Since the story broke that Nashville has put an offer down to acquire Captain Columbus, (Colin Wilson, Ryan Ellis, Teemu Laakso and the 2012 1st-round selection is rumored) let's examine the merits of making (or not making) a move that could put the Preds at the top of the heap as a Cup contender.
Pro: It's Rick Nash, and he is the top-six forward the Preds have coveted for so long. Not only does provide immediate scoring help, but he will ease the pressure on the rest of the lineup, one that has already caused problems for teams because of the balance of goals across the board.
Con: The price. This deal, in all likelihood, won't get done without giving up current roster players, potentially upsetting the locker room chemistry. Columbus' biggest need is between the pipes, as Steve Mason is no longer the answer. He simply hasn't come close to repeating the Calder Trophy-winning season he had a few years ago (the same one that kept Pekka Rinne from claiming that hardware). Considering this, does David Poile consider including Anders Lindback? If he does, then an injury to Rinne could be catastrophic.
Pro: Nash will go to a team where he doesn't have to worry about wearing a letter. He can simply focus on playing the game and making his teammates better. It would be a refreshing change and a heavy burden off his chest (pun may or may not have been intended).
Con: The cap hit. Not talking about "real money" here, because if Poile is putting an offer in for him, it's not an issue. Instead, look to next season, where nobody knows what the cap ceiling will be and what the Collective Bargaining Agreement will do to that cap. The new CBA is the wild card. Also, can the Preds fit Nash in under the cap if both Shea Weber and Ryan Suter do re-sign, without shaking up the roster too much? It might not be a problem at the moment, but it would become one in the offseason.
Pro: More physicality up front for a seven-game series. Think back to both San Jose series. That's what the Preds will have this time around. The Preds already have the League's No. 1 power play unit. Nash will help them improve in 5-on-5 play as well as puck possession, a key attribute the Preds need to get better at to go deep.
Con: Will it appease Suter? If acquiring the biggest name available doesn't convince Suter to sign an extension, then he needs to walk.
Nashville's already in the mix even without Rick Nash. He would arguably make this team one of the biggest threats to win the Cup. Nash is in a bad situation in Columbus and wants out. Forget the fact that it's a deal inside the division. Columbus needs help and the current deal on the table gives both sides what they need. If Scott Howson doesn't take the best offer because he's trying to avoid a division deal, then he's not dealing in the best interest of the team and should be pink-slipped immediately.
Verdict: In my opinion, Columbus needs this deal worse than Nashville does. The Preds can compete for the Stanley Cup without Rick Nash. Sure, Nash could go to Toronto or the New York Rangers or San Jose, but until another team ups the ante, Columbus is looking at the best offer on the table. The Blue Jackets need to start over, now. This deal helps them do it. Will we miss Wilson and Ellis if they get dealt? Absolutely. But if this deal is indeed made and this team is playing hockey in June, then it will be worth it.
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