A well written FanPost here, so I've promoted it to the main stage. - Dirk H.
Are you a fan that loves this roster? Do you love the whole thing? Most of it? Any of it? It is clear that a large subset of the OtF community link a majority of the Predators current woes to coaching. That very well could be it. I personally think that particular speculation gets a fair shake on air-time around here. So today, let us assume that the roster is not perfect and we, the all-knowing OtF community, have been tasked to tweak it.
So, let's get to it. I have broken down the current roster into 6 groups. First up...
This is the group that makes sense to build around. We own them and they are solid pieces to the long term puzzle. Any good GM will listen to any offer but, here in fantasy-land, I am not picking up the phone to try to unload a single one of these guys.
Weber and Rinne are the franchise guys right now. NHL stars. They are the kind of guys you wait years for. Jones and Forsberg are the Preds shot at upcoming elite talent. No other prospect in the organization is even close to these two on potential. Fisher, and Horny are the kind of veterans you want in your lineup. Hard-nosed, effective and guys that come to play every night. Both have high impact roles and are reliably productive. Fish may not last much longer but as long as he is willing to play I think he should be part of the plan here. He simply brings too much not to be. Klein is durable, reliable, affordable, and proven. You could get rid of him but you would really just be looking for someone else with the same skill-set to replace him and he is locked up long-term. Smith is that one young guy who truly looks to be progressing, brings at least some scoring punch, and is definitely headed toward being a solid NHL-er.
The Boys in the Band
In my estimation, there is no reason to gut the team. We're really just looking to shake things up enough to track upward. These are the guys that don't quite make it into the core group but are definitely worth keeping around.
With Ellis and Ekholm, you've got an inexpensive young 3rd pair with a ton of upside. Both can move the puck but Ekholm‘s size and Ellis's offensive ability have impressed. Both are tracking in the right direction. We've taken them this far, no need to cut bait now. Hendy and Ny? While probably in the minority here, I agree with the fundamental logic on these guys. These guys can play against most competition, they play a physical style, they are very effective on the PK, and they know their way around the ins and outs of the NHL. Every team needs guys like these. Nystrom admittedly, is borderline here. His salary is a bit much for his point production. Goose would be in this group if he didn't bring home a mint ever two weeks.
We have one guy, in my estimation, outside the core group who has some very real trade potential. If you are serious about making a change, this is the best chip to play. Sorry, Caroline. It's him.
Josi is skilled. Josi is young. Josi can move the puck up. Josi shoots left. Josi is charming and handsome. Josi is under a long term contract through the end of the decade. On the other hand, Josi is one headache away from LTIR. The bottom line is, if you want to get, you have to give. This is the guy I would work my GM magic with
"Ladies and gentlemen, starting on defense for your Edmonton Oilers, number 59, Romannnnnn Joooooooosssssiiiiiii!"
That sounds pretty good to me. Jordan Eberle anyone? I think it's doable.
Sorry, Jose. Love ya, mean it...but we ain't winning and also Seth Jones.
The Deadline Guys
There comes a time in each season when some GM will overpay a smidgen at a shot to drink from that silver chalice. What say we be on the other end of that deal for a change?
These guys may not be your favorites, especially Goose and that meatball of a contract he landed. In the case of Wilson, maybe you think Trotz doesn't spend enough time coaching offense. Actually, there are probably a few of you out there who, like me, would absolutely hate to see Leggy go. I think giving him up does the most damage to the current team but, if I'm being objective, this is where he fits.
These three guys are all a bit different in value but each could easily be part of a deadline deal. Leggy is a total rental but is exactly the kind of complete veteran player that a young team like the Leafs might cough up a high pick and a prospect for. Goose is a role player but he is also the kind of player that could get the Preds a pick with his abilities to win face-offs, play tough minutes, and excel on the PK. Wilson doesn't have as much value but could maybe add some depth to a good team with injury issues.
These jokers all have some value, in a "maybe" sort of way. They can play in the NHL. Long pause. Moving on.
I wanted DP to sign Stalberg. Many here did too, even the great sage that runs the joint if I recall. I'll take the fall. This one is on me. While devilishly handsome, he is not a solid top 6. Bartley is cheap. Bourque is often invisible, has regessed regarding physical play, and suddenly falls down all the time. Spals and Cullen? Well, frankly the Preds need players in the lineup that are better than either. Maz...we'll you may actually be ruined at this point. Let's hope not. What do we do with these guys? I see them as a mix of possible trades, waives, buyouts, or cuts. Maybe keep two or four to round out the lineup but that depends largely on other moves that are made.
No soup for you!
Dammit, Clune! You almost had me. You were cheap, feisty, and fun. Your effectiveness, however, has left me wanting.. Here's hoping for Leipsic to pay off sooner rather than later. Hutton, I hear you're classy and a swell guy. Cheers. Piskula? Pisklula? Seriously, who the hell are you? Probably a guy that will get picked up off waivers at some point an win a cup with the Bruins. Taylor Beck is still young and may be worth debate to some but I've seen him skate too many times. His feet are not even close to NHL caliber and his hands are not elite enough rest his laurels on.
So, that's the way I see it from 10,000 feet. What's wrong? What's right?