The NHL Trade Deadline is exactly two weeks away. Rumors of players switching jerseys have been rampant and unrealistic as usual. “We’re gonna get Stamkos for (insert fringe NHL players and a draft pick)!” screams the message boards. “The price for our rental player has to be the other team’s best prospect and a 1st!”
When reality strikes on the 29th, the overhyped deadline will once again see far less movement than previously anticipated. However, that never stops the chatter before the big day.
In Nashville’s case, a quiet trade deadline should be the goal. As anticlimactic as it sounds, the deadline has never been friendly to the Predators when they were “buyers” in previous years. Look no further than last season’s disappointment of reacquiring former Predators Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli. A first round pick and a prospect, Brendan Leipsic, who just scored in his first NHL game for two guys who made no sizable contribution to Nashville down the stretch.
A few years ago before that saw the team bring in a haul of pickups in Hal Gill, Paul Gaustad, and Andrei Kostitsyn to only get ousted in the first round. While it was cool to witness a legend put on a Predator jersey, the 2008 deadline deal for Peter Forsberg didn’t help the team extend their playoff lives.
“Going for it” hasn’t worked out very well in the team’s history, and this season will be no different. The team’s current construction only reinforces that argument. What are they missing? The sixth defenseman spot seems to be filled by a combination of Tony Bitetto and Petter Ganberg with the waiver pickup Stefan Elliot yet to even get an opportunity. Backup goaltending doesn’t look to be a need with way Carter Hutton is playing.
Yes, adding offense is never a bad option, but Nashville isn’t going to shoot up the scoring ranks by overpaying for a veteran forward such as Andrew Ladd or Jiri Hudler. They’re good players, but pinning them contributors that will extend Nashville’s season is dream chasing.
This all without even mentioning the opportunity for Jimmy Vesey to join the team if he so chooses after his college season. There’s your chance at an impact winger without giving up an asset.
The Predators are what they are. A team with an excellent blueline and an inconsistent forward core. If the team produces better goaltending, winning a round or two in the playoffs is realistic. A deadline deal isn’t changing that statement.
Saying Nashville’s window is closing because Rinne and Weber are past 30 is a lazy standpoint. Looking at who is producing on the team currently, the future past those two players is still very bright.
Draft picks and prospects are valuable. The organization needs to rebuild the defensive prospect cupboard and developing drafted forwards into offensive weapons will never go out of style. Bargaining the pipeline’s health going forward to acquire a rental player with limited upside isn’t a recipe for long term success.
The Predators do not have a glaring need. If you’re Nashville, hope for Vesey and play with what you have assembled. Stunting the franchise’s growth isn’t worth the mediocre return.