I don’t know. I don’t know. I have my degree in hockey fandom from the Barry Trotz School of Finishing and a bachelor’s from Poile University. This off-season hit me like freebasing a Yaegerbomb. I looked at the list of UFAs with the usual sense of pessimistic doubt no UFA will sign with Nashville…till I realized there will be a new coach that will push a stat friendly system. My mind is going from players like Ryan O’Reilly to Paul Stastny. I have a lovely record of guessing David Poile’s move. Predicted that Poile would trade for a distant cousin, Eric Belanger, only to have my chromosomal heritage crushed by said distant cousin traded to Atlanta. I predicted the trade for Hal Gill and the other Kostitsyn brother. (And cringed when Poile brought back Radulov which I felt was too much spice for the team but….) I also predicted the OBVIOUS move of David Legwand to Detroit. BUT let’s face it, that was manifest destiny with the two club’s histories. Now, I’m going to try my best to build a team with Lavy in mind. So in the words of the Joker, Here. We. Go.
Sign Paul Stastny
He’s the ONLY statistical 1st line center in the market. Only one. He would be a foundational player I would throw the entire checkbook at. He was at 6.6m last year but people are saying he should get 7m. If I was ownership, let’s face it, if I was ownership I would have been drummed out of the league like my name was Donald Sterling. If I was ownership, I would go up to 7.5 to even 8 million for Stastny. If he wants years, give it. I don’t care. There is a holy trinity in the NHL; #1 defenseman, #1 goalie, #1 centerman. Nashville has 2 of the 3 and they will have the cap room and roster space and opportunity to get the final piece. Added quiet benefit, you will hurt division rival Colorado. Win/Win/Win.
Sniff around for Vinny LeCavlier
Nashville and Philly have been long time trade partners. There is an open line of communication. A lot of Philly fans have soured on LeCavlier ever since Lavy left the team. Cav would be a perfect 2nd line center. Statistically, he’s not that bad. 20 goal scorer on a ‘down’ year. Of course that could be the 12 years of being a Preds fan talking. His cap hit is only 4.5 million and that’s before offering the players to get Cav. Or, it could be as simple as a 1st round pick swap. A move from 11 to 17 for LeCavlier. With the two above moves you would solidify the center position. Some will scream for wings to go with the centers but after statistical analysis the wings for the Preds are not that bad. Last year to be a first line forward you have to score 20-51 goals. (Very harsh half-life curve for goals there) Hornqvist, Smith, and even Fisher would qualify. If Lavy can increase scoring for just one wing you could have 4 wings of 1st line scoring.
Defensively, shop the left handed defensemen
If you follow my twitter feed @betaset you will hear me screaming about the defenseman imbalance on the Preds. Here are the left handed defensemen in the system; Josi, MDZ, Ekholm, Bartley, Bitetto, Olivier-Roussell, Jarvinen, Valentine, Dialby, Noonan, Vainonen, Rissling, Alm, Fernholm, Kivihalme. That’s 15 LHD in the system compared to 4 RHD; Weber, Jones, Ellis, Aronson. Right now, the Preds could have a yard sale in front of Bridgestone Arena of all these LHD. I would love to see a few of these players traded for needs or 2015 picks. Speaking of the draft.
Don’t draft the 2014 class
I listen to a lot of hockey podcasts, specifically shows like Marek vs. Wyshynski, and the Pipeline Media Show. Marek is a junior hockey expert. The Pipeline Media Show is filled with a lot of knowledge of the Junior scene and they are using frightening terms to describe the class. "Not as good as past years." "This guy is going to be the 12th pick in the draft?!?!?" "You can see the flaws on these guys." "It’s like the talent well dried up this year." "Was there something in the water?"
Scouts have been saying this draft is going to be a polished turd for 2 years now. Junior hockey resources have been touting players who were passed over in drafts 2 years ago.
Please, I beg you Poile, trade this year’s picks for 2015 picks or current roster assets. At most, I would like to see a total of 3 picks. Only positive is that there will be a few RHD in the first 2 rounds but are they worth signing?
I don’t know what to think of Colin Wilson. He’s one of those players who could thrive in the Laviolette system but I’m not sold. I’ll let Lavy judge him.
Get a vet Backup
Carter Hutton wasn’t totally sucktastic but the Preds next year could be a playoff contender like Montreal and need a vet backup. Mazanec and Hellberg need another year in the AHL. Saros should stay in Milwaukee. A Ray Emery or even Bryzgalov would be a nice fit.
There will be cash
There’s a LOT of entry level contracts on the roster and with that room to make moves. By Capgeek’s math the Preds could have 20-22 million in cap space. If the Preds were to do the above they would still be 8 million under the cap. If the Preds were to go over last year’s budget by a million they would have all of the above and still be 5-7 million under the cap which is expected to be 69-70 million.