Should the Predators buy or sell at the deadline?
Jon Garcia: Neither. With the exception of trading David Legwand (more on that below) they are better of standing pat. There are only a few players that would bring back any kind of helpful return, and most of them would probably cause Preds fans to riot in the street. Patric Hornqvist immediately fits that bill. Unless there is an offer that is too good to pass up, and doesn't hurt them in the long run, I would say the front office is better off staying out of the frenzy and prepping for the draft.
Dirk Hoag: Sell sell sell! This is not the 2012 Los Angeles Kings, which could slip into the 8th playoff spot and go on a massive post-season run. This is a developmental year for the Preds, and trading away assets in order to pick up a rental player for the stretch drive would be foolish. Sometimes, however, you can land a guy with remaining years on his contract, and if a player who helps the team long-term is available, that could be an option.
Jason Zito: The only trades that should be made are ones that clear salary, with an eye on retooling over the summer. Preferably with less emphasis on #Grit. IF anyone of consequence is acquired, they better be under contract for a couple of years...this one is toast.
George Scoville: As of this writing (dinner time on Feb. 28), SportsClubStats.com says the boys would need to go on a tear and play their best hockey of the season -- they would need to post a 14-6-2 record (or better) going forward -- just to have better than coin flip odds of making the playoffs. As such, and since all they've been able to do in trade so far is shed salary, they should sell at the deadline, vie for a top-10 pick, and look forward to free agency with a new salary cap.
Which players should be "off limits" from trade talks?
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Jon: Shea Weber, Seth Jones, Craig Smith, Patric Hornqvist & Pekka Rinne.
Dirk: Outside of Shea Weber & Seth Jones, anyone is fair game.
Jason: This list gets smaller for me every day. They should hang up on anyone who calls about Pekka or Shea. I like quite a few of the other guys, but I could get over their loss for the right deal.
George: Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Seth Jones, Craig Smith, Patric Hornqvist, and Filip Forsberg. Everyone else is expendable, as far as I'm concerned.
Which player do you most expect to leave the Nashville Predators by the deadline?
Jon: If David Legwand is still on the roster on Thursday I'll be shocked. I also wouldn't be surprised to see them move Dubnyk for some low picks if they can.
Dirk: Bye bye, Leggy, you deserved much better.
Jason: Legwand will be the popular pick, but I wouldn't be surprised if Ellis or one of the guys in Milwaukee are packaged up for something.
George: David Legwand.
Which player would you most like to see the team trade for, considering the likely cost (i.e. no Thomas Vanek for a 6th-round pick)?
Jon: Jaromir Jagr immediately comes to mind, considering it only took a mid pick and a prospect to get him last year. However, he'll likely command a high price this year, and the Devils are right on the buyer/seller cusp. He's probably not available. Someone I would like to see them trade for and re-sign would be Phoenix's Radim Vrbata. He only has a $3 million cap hit right now, so even with the raise he's likely to get, his price isn't out of the question. Even though he's prone to scoring lulls every so often, he would work well with either Smith or Hornqvist, and automatically becomes an offensive weapon. Wilson and Ellis have been rumored to be on the block, and I'd be totally fine with that price.
Dirk: Evander Kane - sure, that kind of trade is more suited to Draft weekend than the trade deadline, but given the talk we've heard for a long time out of Winnipeg about discontent with Kane, they might be willing to move him in a hockey trade (value for value). Yes, it would probably cost quite a bit (3 or 4 pieces such as Colin Wilson, high draft picks, prospects, etc.) but Kane's a young, proven difference-maker who plays the position (wing) where Nashville is weakest.
Jason: All the guys I'd like to see brought in are either waaaaaaay unavailable, or don't play "Predator Hockey". It's ok...I'm used to disappointment.
George: A realistic option could be someone like Carolina's Jiri Tlusty. At 25 years old, the left winger has 123 points in 308 career NHL games, and his 18 points this season are a middling 8th on the Hurricanes roster. He may not blow anyone's skirt up, but he doesn't take many penalties, and he'd be an upgrade over some of the more disappointing gambles at forward David Poile has made in recent years. He could probably be had for not much in return.
What are your thoughts on these topics as the Nashville Predators approach the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline? Weigh in via the comments below...