We all know that the Nashville Predators have a number of problems to address right now, but the single most obvious one is the situation in goal, where backups have so far failed to instill confidence that the team can win consistently enough to hang in the playoff chase until Pekka Rinne recovers from his hip infection. In 8 games since Rinne went on Injured Reserve, the Predators have given up 32 goals.
Is it time for David Poile to take immediate action and shore up that part of the team? Here's Pierre LeBrun, on TSN's Insider Trading:
The Predators have given up a ton of goals since Pekka Rinne went down; not really a big surprise. Carter Hutton, kind of an unknown commodity, has not answered the bell so the Predators and the Anaheim Ducks, I'm told, have had discussions regarding Jonas Hiller. But what the Predators have told the Ducks is that we need to know about Rinne's health before we decide whether or not we have to make a goalie trade. If they get good news, maybe they could hold off and survive but if it looks like it's going to be longer than they thought, than maybe they'll have to make a trade, and Hiller - as we've been saying for a month - is very much available from Anaheim.
|2013 - Jonas Hiller||11||631||7||2||1||26||2.47||284||258||.908||1|
During the early stages of his NHL career, Hiller looked positively dominant at times (including an appearance in the 2011 All Star Game), with a .920 save percentage over his first four seasons, exactly the same as Rinne over his first four full campaigns. While Hiller's play has tailed off marginally more recently he can certainly be considered a capable NHL goalie.
Hiller is in the final year of his contract, which pays him $4.5 million this season and will take him to unrestricted free agency this summer. In terms of hockey assets he may not require too dear a price in trade, as the Ducks, who are deep in goaltending right now, could use the salary cap relief for further moves down the road as the Trade Deadline approaches. With a 15-4-1 record, the Ducks can set their sights high, and think about what pieces they'll need for a run at the Pacific Division title or even the Stanley Cup.
The Predators, according to Cap Geek, have $3.5 million in cap space, so they'd have to send salary in the opposite direction in any such deal, unless the Ducks were willing to retain some of Hiller's cap hit (this is why you don't overpay for 4th-line players).
So what do you think? Given the uncertainty over Rinne's health, should the Preds make a move for Hiller?
More from On the Forecheck:
- New York Islanders 3, Nashville Predators 1: Hey, At Least They Weren't Shut Out
- Which Team is Screwed Most? The Titans Without Jake Locker, or the Predators Without Pekka Rinne?
- Milwaukee Admirals Notebook: Filip Forsberg solid in 3-game weekend despite losing streak
- Pekka Rinne Injury: Team Provides Update on Infection Recovery
- Hockey Hall of Fame: Which Nashville Predators Player Will Make It Someday?