With the news that Ian White is off the market (I shed a single tear), we here at OtF go back to the drawing board to take a look at which defensemen might available. The need is twofold: a puck mover to play with Kevin Klein, and someone who will contribute to keeping down the opponent's shot totals, which have lately been very high. Allow me to quote myself:
It pains me to say this, but the fact is Nashville's defense isn't all it's cut out to be. The only reason the Predators are as high as they are in GA/G is Pekka Rinne - this was clearly shown last night against the Sharks, when Nashville gave up 50 shots, but only 2 goals.
Love him or hate him, Kevin Klein is Nashville's 3rd best defenseman, and by a wide margin. After the top 3, the Predators have a collection of 5thor 6th defensemen. The loss of Dan Hamhuis to free agency has hurt more than many would like to admit, but Poile now has an opportunity to remedy the situation, at least somewhat.
After the jump, three more candidates for your consideration.
#6 / Defenseman / New Jersey Devils
Oct 30, 1982
Cap hit: $737,500 (UFA)
|2010 - Andy Greene||57||3||16||19||-17||14||1||0||0||68|
Next, his scouting report:
Now, a word from one of SBN's Devils bloggers, Kevin Sellathamby:
He's been paired with terrible or inexperienced defensemen: namely Oliver Magnan-Grenier and Matthew Corrente and he struggled with the team under former head coach John MacLean. Greene's most notable abilities include his skating and his ability to move the puck- he leads all Devils defensemen in points with 19 (3G 16 A), with 6 of those points coming on the power play.
Greene's also capable of playing lots of minutes- he's averaged over 22 minutes this season, and he's able to play in all situations. He's willing to block shots too- he leads the Devils with 106 blocked shots, more than the Hulking Colin White and shot blocking ace Anton Volchenkov (though Volchenkov's spent time on IR/suspended).
He's not a very physical player however, mainly due to his size. He ranks 5th amongst Devils defensemen in hits. He was usually paired with a physical defenseman- last season he was usually paired with Bryce Salvador and I expected him to team up with Volchenkov, but due to injuries to the defense I never got a chance to see this. If the Predators do trade for him, he will be worth whatever Poile gives up for him.
Why: Greene is putting up decent offensive numbers on what was a horrible New Jersey team, and can move the puck very well, which would be a welcome addition to the second pairing. Additionally, he's inexpensive, and would likely not cost the Preds an awful lot in the way of trade.
Why not: He blocks shots, moves the puck, and contributes on the power play and offensively. I'll let you know when I think of a downside...okay, here's one - is he the type of tough, seasoned player you want in the Western Conference arms race? Despite the pros, Greene isn't going to provide the physicality of Bouillon or O'Brien.
#24 / Defenseman / New York Islanders
Aug 31, 1976
Cap hit: $1,500,000 (UFA)
|2010 - Radek Martinek||47||1||8||9||-3||19||0||0||0||63|
Here's a word on Martinek from Lighthouse Hockey:
Basically, at even strength Martinek is used as a second pairing player, while logging the most PK minutes among Isles defensemen.
...he's a smart, steady defenseman who can move the puck well and even provide some offensive punch when he's put in that situation.
Parting ways with him really entails two factors: 1) If the injury history is too much of a concern to bring him back on what would surely be another inexpensive deal, and 2) If the club is confident his contribution can be replaced via free agency or within.
Given the Islanders' injuries to an already average blueline this year, I'm not confident in either of the above propositions, which is why I'd hold out for a 2nd round pick or else retain him. All of this, of course, turns on hypothetical contract demands that we cannot know.
Why: He's cheap, and an upgrade over Francis Bouillon, Cody Franson, and Shane O`Brien.
Why not: The Predators don't really need another injury prone player, do they?
#25 / Defenseman / Carolina Hurricanes
Sep 19, 1983
Cap hit: $4,000,000 (UFA)
|2010 - Joni Pitkanen||50||2||24||26||-2||44||0||0||0||100|
From Canes Country:
Here's a player who is a very valuable asset and a player who could help most teams who are looking to improve down the stretch. His contract expires at the end of this season and there is a question if the Canes would want to, or be able to, re-sign him again next season.
There are several rumors out there about teams who are interested in this defenseman, but he is also a player who could help the Hurricanes make it to the postseason. Do you trade him or not?
I think it depends upon the deal.
If you're Jim Rutherford, you certainly don't give him away for a second rounder or less. But if you are offered a Joe Corvo-like return from last year: a high draft pick, good prospect, and serviceable player in return, you probably give strong consideration to that type of deal.
Why: Because Pitkanen would instantly give the Predators, personnel-wise, one of the best defenses in the league and inject life into a dull and ineffective power play.
Why not: Because his price, both contractually and in what it would take to get him, is rather high. Keep in mind, though, that his contract is expiring. That said, while Pitkanen would immediately be Nashville's 3rd best defenseman, I can't see David Poile giving away as much as it would take to acquire him.
So what do you think? Should David Poile go after one of these players, a goalscorer, or perhaps stay off the market entirely? Sound off in the poll and comments below.