It is One Thing Wednesday, where the folks at OTF sift through the wide world of Nashville Predators hockey and zoom in to dissect one very specific topic. With all the recent rumblings about potential trades, a push for a playoff spot, and the youth movement, speculation runs wild about what will happen next with the organization as they pursue Lord Stanley’s Cup. One thing remains true: Nashville wants hockey’s ultimate prize.
GM David Poile has shown he will make whatever moves he believes will lead to the title, with debatable degrees of success. The things many Predators fans love most about David Poile—that he isn’t afraid to make big moves—is also the thing many Predators fans fear the most. But should there be some options that are just off the table, no matter the return?
Wiser words may never have been spoken (or sung) than these of noted sage Marvin Lee Aday:
Oh, I would do anything for love,
I would do anything for love
But I won’t do that
No, I won’t do that.
Leaning in to the wisdom of Meatloaf, the OTF staff is revealing the one thing we wouldn’t do—what move is a step too far—for the Stanley Cup.
My amazing colleagues are going to have great insight into what decisions aren’t worth making in pursuit of a championship trophy. Their analysis will be intelligent and based in wisdom and statistics. My “I won’t do that” comes far more from the heart.
I have with me at all times an imaginary rucksack in which I carry my hockey grudges. This backpack hauls around any past or current Pittsburgh Penguin player minus Nick Bonino who is now forgiven and beloved, Robert Bortuzzo, Tim Peel (his “early retirement” doesn’t earn him a way out of the bag), and whoever was responsible for the benching of Kyle Turris for seven games.
There is one player in the NHL who takes up the most space in my hockey backpack of hostility, and if this player rode into town on a tamed unicorn lovingly cradling the Stanley Cup that had my own name engraved on it...I would still emphatically say “I won’t do that.”
There is no circumstance in which I would accept Corey Perry on this team even if it somehow guaranteed a Stanley Cup win. Period. Is Corey Perry a decent enough hockey player and perhaps person to merit a conversation in the trade room? Maybe. Do I have a reasonable and appropriate amount of feeling about this? Nope.
The minute that chicken wing dirty elbow made contact with Ryan Ellis in the Winter Classic, I opened my hockey grudge knapsack and threw him way down in the bottom under Sidney Crosby and the person who designed the Predators ball caps with the Swedish flag over the logo in only flat bill style.
I would love to see the Predators win the Cup, but I won’t do it with Corey Perry on the roster.
I’d pretty much do anything. Yup.
I would never, unless he specifically requested it, trade Pekka Rinne, even if it brings a Stanley Cup. Could you even raise a cup without his name on it that you traded him to get? No, I won’t do that.
To echo the thoughts of Rachel, I would do anything to bring a cup to Music City. Let me tell you why.
The thought trading someone like Pekka Rinne seems sacrilegious, as if hoisting Lord Stanley’s trophy without him would be the equivalent of infidelity. I completely understand and respect those who think that trading the undisputed Nashville Predators GOAT is an unacceptable move. To explain why I would make this move (in this hypothetical scenario where Rinne brings back enough assets to guarantee a cup), I will travel north of the border; let’s talk about the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.
In the summer of 2018, the Raptors were fresh off of their second consecutive second-round exit in the playoffs. Their dynamic duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry just couldn’t get over the hump; at this point in time, DeRozan was a four-time All Star and would have become the greatest Raptor of all time if he ended his career in Toronto. However, the team couldn’t get it done, so Raptors President Masai Ujiri shocked the world and made a blockbuster trade that sent DeRozan to San Antonio in exchange for Kawhi Leonard.
If you’re a fan of basketball, you know how this story unfolded. Leonard proved to be an incredible acquisition for Toronto, leading the team all the way to the NBA Finals and winning Finals MVP after beating the Golden State Warriors.
How does any of this relate to the hockey team in Nashville, Tennessee? Well, do you think that Raptors fans would take back the Kawhi trade, giving back their NBA title but keeping their beloved DeRozan? Absolutely not! At the end of the day, bringing a title home is the end goal, and that idea guides my thoughts about the Predators. If a title is guaranteed, anyone can go; even Pekka, as much as it pains me to say it.
If I had to make a deal with the Devil and make it so that the team would suffer an extensive period where they stunk (let’s say around 20 years without a playoff appearance, in Mariners fashion) in order to win the Cup, I wouldn’t do it. Nashville winning a Stanley Cup and then immediately falling apart would shatter the interest of the local fanbase and eventually result in the franchise relocating. As much as I’d love to witness the Preds winning a championship, I care more about being able to watch them and enjoy them with fellow Nashville fans in the first place. That said, if it were more like eight years of missing the playoffs, that’s whatever. I think the team could survive that, albeit with a lot of difficulty.
Not one of us doesn’t want to see the Stanley Cup arrive in Smashville, but some of us “won’t do that”.