While driving home last night after watching this young and feisty Preds team outplay the Wings for 60 minutes, generate far more chances, play excellent hockey in general and get shutout for the FIFTH time this season, it became clear to me that a trade may be finally a necessity. This game provided a clear flashback to the 1 - 0 Loss in game 5 of last year's Western Semi Final against Phoenix, Nashville thoroughly outplayed their opponents but came up short due to a lack of elite finishing. This team has unquestionably the best goaltender on the planet, a stellar defensive core led by Norris regular Shea Weber and a terrific group of checking/developmental forwards all of whom would be integral depth players on any team. Clearly, the only missing piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle for this squad is a premier forward, regardless of position, someone who can create space in the offensive zone, draw defenders and is capable of finishing at an elite level. Rick Nash would have been the ideal fit, same with Jordan Staal, both of whom were available at points during the last year and could have easily been acquired in exchange for Ryan Suter. While it may not be worth mortgaging the bright future of this squad, the right player would allow the lineup to congeal while taking the pressure off players like Erat, Fisher and Hornqvist while complementing their unique offensive skillsets.
The outgoing package: (In order of most to least likely to be packaged in a trade)
Magnus Pajaarvi Edmonton Oilers, 1.479, (6'3 with first line potential, toiling in the AHL at the moment.
Ryan O'Reilly Colorado Avalanche, (Offer Sheet): With an asking price near 5 million, Cal's younger brother has shown to be a tremendous all around player capable of scoring 50 points, at only 21 years of age.
Alexander Radulov KHL, would likely ask for 4-5M Hm... Only if he rooms with Trotz during the playoffs?