As we consider potential trade targets for the Nashville Predators, one aspect of the team that could use a boost would be on defense, where on some nights, half the group is 5'10" tall or less. This is the kind of vulnerability that can be focused on and exploited over the course of a seven-game playoff series, and the addition of a veteran, physically rugged blueliner could not only relieve a bit of the burden carried by Shea Weber & Ryan Suter, but also provide a bit of a safety net for rookies like Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis to do their thing.
One such guy to fit that bill is Montreal's Hal Gill...
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What Hal Gill Would Bring To The Predators
For one thing, there would finally be someone in the locker room who could look down at the goalies.
Mostly, however, Gill brings a massive physical presence, which would be well suited to playing stay-at-home hockey supporting one of the young guns like Josi or Ellis, while taking some of the penalty killing burden off of Weber & Suter. Gill currently leads Montreal in shorthanded ice time per game, and they've got one of the better units in the league, so he can be relied upon in that sort of specialist role.
He's not an offensive force, but that's something the young guys are doing rather well already (especially Josi on the power play).
Gill makes a very affordable $2.25 million this season, and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
What It Might Cost
In recent seasons, a mid-range player like Gill (as opposed to a top-pair defenseman or 1st-line forward) who is a pending UFA has typically cost something like a 2nd- to 4th-round draft pick (think of examples like Denis Grebeshkov, Derek Morris, Andrew Alberts, and Martin Skoula in recent years). Alternatively, a mid-range prospect could be in the mix, too.
Given all the uncertainty around the whole situation in Montreal, I wouldn't be surprised to see them look for draft picks primarily, so that if a new GM does take over, he has maximum flexibility over the summer.
With Gill's experience (including a Stanley Cup in 2009 with Pittsburgh), I'd go with a 2nd-round pick. If a bidding war gets going, it may be worth throwing in a minor prospect as well.