The March 2 date for the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline is creeping up fast. The cogs are turning in the rumor mill for all 30 teams and every tidbit of information is somehow molded into its own trade rumor. While we'll get into the buy/stand pat part of the conversation soon enough, that hasn't stopped others from relaying info on every little thing they hear.
Throughout most of Wednesday, Twitter was abuzz with chatter about the Nashville Predators. The most concerning of which was supposed interest in Ottawa's Chris Neil. Neil is a 35-year-old fourth line player, with seven points and 56 PIMs in 33 games. The need for him didn't make any sense, but thankfully the Preds dodged a bullet as Neil has told the team he does not want to be traded.
However, the biggest splash in the pool was in reference to apparent talks between David Poile and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The unrivaled Hope Smoke offered up a lot of the conversation on Twitter. If you aren't familiar with him, he'll (among many other things) transcribe radio spots of big main stream media players for the rest of us who can't listen to Toronto radio. I'll let the tweets speak for now:
McKenzie "There are some players on the Leafs who interest the Preds"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) February 4, 2015
McKenzie "I think the Leafs have been looking at the Preds & their farm team."— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) February 4, 2015
So there is some mutual affection there. From the outside, Nashville looks like a team that should be prepping for a Cup run, and Toronto is one that should start thinking about possibly hitting the detonator. What's on the table? Well, we really don't know, but it sounded as if they have some players names circled in the program.
Interesting that last night Dreger said Nashville was interested in both Franson & Kadri. Poile’s a smart man.— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) February 4, 2015
Very interesting names. Nazem Kadri could theoretically fill a center roll should the Mikes Fisher and Ribeiro vacate their position in the summer. (Though it should be noted that the organization has apparently begun or reached out to start contract talks with them, according to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.) He's only 24, has reached the 50 point mark, and has some first line potential, though he shouldn't be a player to bet the farm on to be a 1C.
Cody Franson is a name very familiar to Preds fans, as he was drafted by Nashville in 2005 and spent his first two years in the NHL on their blue line. He's about ready to set a career high in points before becoming a UFA this summer, so he's could be due for a raise on the $3.3 million he's making right now. Could he replace Anton Volchenkov or Victor Bartley? It's possible, but you'd also imagine might be replacing either Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm or Seth Jones, who all command high trade value. Young, inexpensive and talented defenders are something that Toronto really needs.
So should you get your hockey shorts in a bunch? Of course not.
McKenzie "I would suspect the Preds & Leafs will have something to talk about, but that doesn't mean anything is imminent"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) February 4, 2015
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>McKenzie said the assets the Leafs are going to move this year will probably bring back 2nd round picks & that's exactly what Hunter needs</p>— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) <a href="https://twitter.com/Hope_Smoke/status/563100127062425602">February 4, 2015</a></blockquote>
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The second means the Leafs may not even move any of their big names this season.
GM Dave Nonis is apparently going to take in Thursday night's game against the Ducks here in Nashville, which will only add fire to the speculation. But remember, this is all part of the season. Until the faxes are sent and the physicals are sent, it's all just speculation. There are still 27 other teams out there. (To quote Dan: Screw you, Philly.)
It's both exhilarating and infuriating, isn't it?