It seems like every year I come out and do a couple of additions of trade targets for the deadline and for the draft. I love doing these because it allows you to expand and think about what could possibly happen to send the Predators over the top. We don't attract free agents, although as of late we've done a great job of keeping our own free agents. That being said, the key thing I would think would be not letting the guys we want hit the open market. We'll go through what pieces we have that are tradeable, what exactly we need, and who is perfect trading partners for us. We'll also go through different trade scenarios, and have ourselves a good ole fashioned fanpost.
Assets we can part with:
LW/C- Colin Wilson- I would personally hate this, because I feel like Wilson will take a new step under Peter Laviolette that wasn't originally reached under Barry Trotz. If we can get early 2013 Colin Wilson back, it is well worth the calculated risk of keeping him. However, if he doesn't produce this year we could dump him with no remorse. The downside to it all is, he'll have to go if we get the right deal. Bummer.
LD- Roman Josi- Don't get it twisted, I would hate to get rid of Roman Josi, but I do take two things into consideration here. First thing, he had a long documented history of concussions that came spilling out shortly after Downie rocked his world in Denver, with a long term contract that scares me slightly. The other thing is, if we keep the first round pick Haydn Fleury will be there at that 11 spot. He's a left defenseman who moves the puck well and has a cannon of a shot. He's already 6 ft 3 and 204 lbs, so he could fill in the gap for the future (obviously not this year). It goes along with the idea that you have to give up something to get something.
LW-Gabriel Bourque- This should have been done last year under the "sale high" idea. Bourque is never going to be anything more than a 3rd line forward, so there is no need for us to keep pretending he is such. Think of this as a sweetening chip to add to any bargain.
RD- Ryan Ellis- Who doesn't love Little Ellis? Everybody loves Ellis, but he is the third man looking in on the right defense rotation. He's far too talented to be that far down, and outside of a Power Play specialist he holds no real value to us anymore. Normally you would reserve that 3rd pair spot for guys who can play the penalty kill, nothing more, nothing less. Sorry Ellis, you're part of the trading chips.
The Milwaukee Admirals: Woah, that seems a bit harsh eh? No, not really. Outside of Calle Jarnkrok, I'd let it known the entire Admirals roster could be available. Let's face it, if Taylor Beck hasn't earned a full time spot by now, he's likely not going to do so. Salomakki would be the big loss here, but even then he's only a 3rd line forward at best. Austin Watson is a Trotz type of guy, so I'd assume we could negotiate a deal with a defensive first team to get him. Then we have the dark horse in the room, Filip Forsberg. Would I like to keep him? Yes. Does it seem likely to acquire a top 6 forward without giving him up? No.
What exactly do we need?
Scoring would be the obvious answer, but we need a small retooling. We're handcuffed by bad contracts left and right, so if we could unload any of them that would be fantastic. But we need a lot more than that. If we get rid of Roman Josi, it would be safe to say we would need to make a play for a left defenseman who can play heavy minutes behind Michael Del Zotto. On top of all that, if we unload Ellis we need to grab a Right Defenseman who can play the third pair. I have a suggestion for that too, but let us not get ahead of ourselves. Back to the list.
First Line Center
Top 6 Winger
Trading partners that make a lot of sense?
Depends on where you'd like to go with this. First, if we're trading for UFA's, we have two teams that make a ton of sense. The first one is Florida, where we could get Tom Gilbert for probably a 5th or 6th round pick. That would allow us to get our 3rd pair right defenseman. Another team that makes sense, would be Ottawa. They've came out and said the only man they're trying to resign is Milan Michalek, which leaves Ales Hemsky out in the cold. However, if Michalek decided he didn't want to be in a place with no Spezza, it's very likely he could have his rights traded. I'd bite for either of those, giving up a late round pick for their rights, or possibly even the rights to RFA Nick Spaling.
Now if we're talking about tenure, two teams that make a lot of sense are San Jose and Los Angeles. We'll get to those targets shortly.
Players who could be on the Predators' radar (UFAs)
RD- Tom Gilbert- Florida- I made mention of him a little while ago, he seems like the perfect type of player to be on the Predators 3rd pair. He's not an offensive stud, but he can make enough passes out of his own zone to matter. He can block shots, get pucks off of sticks, and make a hit when he needs to do so.
LD- Andrei Markov- Montreal- The man can play, make no bones about it. The question is, does he want to play in Nashville? Will a change in scheme change his thoughts? Montreal isn't willing to give him 6 million a year over 3 years. But if Nashville is thinking about trading Josi for a sure first top line forward, you better believe they will be ready to pony up for him. Think of this as an insurance policy in case Del Zotto can't hold up to playing the first pair defense, should Josi leave.
LW- Milan Michalek- Ottawa- They recently made mention that this would be the one player they would attempt to resign. My question for him is, do you really want to be in a place without Jason Spezza around? Sure, Kyle Turris is pretty nice...but he's no Jason Spezza. If Nashville has thoughts of negotiating with this Top 6 winger, sooner rather than later would be the timeframe to move.
RW- Ales Hemsky- Ottawa- We've been linked to him for how long now? Okay, he has a well documented injury history. And he rejected a 3 year, 3.3 million dollar per year deal. That's okay, because honestly I could see him being well worth 4, but not quite the 5 he was making. Maybe a contract full of bonuses if he gets over 65 points? Quite possible, still a good fit.
C- Paul Stastny- Colorado- This is a long shot, I highly doubt Nashville would have Stastny traded to them by a division rival. But, if they're serious with an offer of at least 7.5 million, I'd do my damnest to make a trade happen. Does that mean you give up anything higher than a 3rd? No. But it does mean perhaps you make a conditional pick, where if he resigns with Nashville we give up one of our seconds. I would actually be okay with this.
LW/C- MIke Cammalleri- Calgary- This is one of my favorite UFA moves, period. This man is a true goal scorer, and he could focus only on scoring in Nashville. That is a good look for MC13, and I'd go as far as saying Nashville should be one of his top locations. This is one move I'd think long and hard about.
Players who could be on the Predators radar (under contract)
C- Joe Pavelski- San Jose- Let us not ignore the dark horse in the room, we've talked about Pavelski on end for the last couple of weeks. Nobody thinks San Jose will let him go, but I believe they would for the right deal. Face it, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton aren't going anywhere anytime soon. That's too much money for too long of a term of most teams to jump onto the bandwagon. Now, I will say I would give up my first in the draft this year for those two. They're under contract four more years, and would be awesome to have for at least half that tenure here. Either way, back on subject. Pavelski might be the odd man out. He's slotted to be the 3rd line Center, and the Sharks have Tomas Hertl right behind him. If they can't dump Thornton, they'll likely move Pavelski for the piece they need. Remember the sell high rule? Well Pavelski's stock has never been higher, and if they want to a Top Pair Defenseman you might as well strike while the Iron is hot. This will for sure cost Josi, and maybe another forward prospect...but it's worth it.
C- Mike Richards- Los Angeles- This is my favorite Under Contract Move, for a couple of reasons. First one being, he was a consistent 60 point player in Philadelphia under Laviolette, and he was the captain for a reason. It's a good look to have a 60-70 point player on one of your top two lines, allowing Fisher to slide back and play more of a 3rd line role. The second reason I am in love with this move is very simple, Richards has three rings already, so he knows how to win. The last reason I love this move? The hard part of his contract is over. While he is a 5.75 cap hit, the highest portion of his contract has been paid off. He'll have 7 million due this year, 6 million due next year, and 5.5 million due after that. Then he'll drop to 4.5 million, and eventually 3 million in his mid 30s. Still, getting a legitimate first or second Center for 6 years would have me giddy. And I believe Los Angeles would make this move for only a first round pick, just so they could resign Gaborik.
LW- Evander Kane- Winnipeg- Oh yeah, now here comes the big guns. Former 30 goal scorer, young forward, let's take a look at the previous years trade for Seguin to get an idea of what we'd be asked to give up. Last year Dallas gave up Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Frasier, and Joe Morrow just to get Seguin. An equal deal for Nashville would be, Patric Hornqvist or Viktor Stalberg, Gabriel Bourque or Austin Watson, Taylor Beck, and Victor Barley or Mattias Ekholm. Those are no small peanuts, but if it means getting a 1st line scoring winger, who could really argue? I'm sure we'd have to throw in some picks to get Winnipeg to budge, but again...it would be worth it.
It's fun to speculate, but I'd take most of these moves with a grain of salt. I'd love to have Mike Richards and Mike Cammalleri on the same team, and that seems more likely than anything to happen. But it's important to note that it's a do or die season for Poile, meaning he could make moves that seem very unlikely. I mean who thought we'd get Calle Jarnkrok for David Legwand or Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat? Not I. Now's the time Poile, make something happen, otherwise I'll see you on retirement day. Feel free to share your thoughts with me, I love feedback, and hopefully you guys like the ideas spinning around in the old noggin now. I might do a free agent one of these eventually, we'll see. Until then...enjoy your hockey dead period!