An abundance of center help has been hired by David Poile for the Nashville Predators and the lineup is filled down the middle. With Mike Fisher getting injured, Poile went out and signed Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy to one year contracts to go along with the signing of Olli Jokinen a few weeks prior. The Predators already boast a few centers signed to the roster in Calle Jarnkrok, Matt Cullen, Paul Gaustad, Craig Smith and Colin Wilson on the current roster.
The addition of another will probably be the farthest thing from what Poile wants in his glut of pivots, but the possibility of getting better players to dress for Nashville might have him reconsider.
Czech Out This Center
David Krejci, aside from a poor showing in playoffs this season, is a scoring beast for the Boston Bruins. Averaging 54 points in seven full seasons in the NHL (including a lockout shortened season) Krejci has put up the kind of numbers rarely seen in the confines of Bridgestone Arena.
A decent goal scorer, Krejci excels at dishing the puck to the tune of 268 assists in seven seasons (498 games). If you need further convincing, Krejci also contributes at a .75 PPG pace while winning 51.2% of his faceoffs.
Where Boston Stands
Currently, Boston is $809,143 over the salary cap. The team will get some relief when Marc Savard's contract hits the LTIR for $4.027M of cap relief leaving Boston with $3.217M left to sign Reilly Smith and Torey Krug, both of whom raised their pay grade with tremendous regular season and playoff performances. A rough estimate would see Reilly Smith get around $1.5-1.7M per year on the next contract and Torey Krug could easily fetch $2M.
For those keeping track, that is $3.5-3.7M that Boston does not have under the cap. But if Boston is able to move Krejci and his $5.25M cap hit and expiring contract next season, Boston could easily fit Smith and Krug under the cap...que the Nashville Predators.
How Do We Spell Relief?
The Predators have some talented assets to send back in trade and probably a pick for next year's draft to sweeten the deal. The Boston Bruins rely heavily on their younger players stepping into bigger roles and a return for Krejci could net Boston some of the better young talent on the Predators.
For starters, a forward and natural center that hasn't yet lived up to his potential here but could pay huge dividends for a team like Boston: Colin Wilson. Wilson has been struggling to find a home on any line controlled by former head coach Barry Trotz. Many arguments have gone back and forth over whether or not a new system could jump start Wilson's game, but a change of scenery could be the panacea to cure the ills of Colin Wilson's game.
Next on the block could be Ryan Ellis, a stout but redundant third line defenseman who plays much bigger than his size would project. He can quarterback a power play and Predator fans were privy to amazing blocks and brilliant keep-ins at the blueline this year. He is scrappy and would easily transition into Boston's sandpaper gameplan while providing much needed offense from the backend. To sweeten the deal, the Predators would more than likely have to give up a draft pick, preferably not the first rounder but a second rounder could tip the scales for Chiarelli to make the deal.
The Predators get David Krejci: The truest of Number One Centers in the hopes that Poile can re-sign him with a quickness.
Boston gets cap relief in the amount of $9.27M ($4.02 Savard/$5.25M Krejci). Wilson adds $2M for one year and RFA status at season's end and Ellis would need to be signed for this year at a cap friendly $1.7-$1.9M. Boston then has $5.47M left to sign Reilly Smith and Torey Krug (approx: $1.6M and $2M respectively) leaving them $1.87M under the cap and one of the deepest teams in the Eastern Conference.
What are your thoughts Predator and Bruins fans? Is Krejci too important for Boston to let go? Does the one year remaining on Krejci's contract before UFA status and the pickle of Boston's cap situation make him expendable? Would the Predators be giving up too much for what could ultimately become a rental player if Poile cannot re-sign? Sound off below.