Breaking down the Nashville Predators ahead of NHL Trade Deadline Day.
The Nashville Predators will be: Sellers or spectators
Pending free agents
Unrestricted: 5 | Restricted: 11 | See full list
The Predators, objectively speaking, are just an okay hockey team. They play sound defence and are well coached, but on most nights they simply don’t score enough and don’t get good enough goaltending. Barring a significant rejuvenation on the other side of the Olympic break, the team will finish out of the playoffs for the second straight season after back-to-back trips to the conference semifinals in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Of course, the issue with being just okay is twofold: you’re not good enough to make the playoffs and you’re not bad enough to get a high lottery pick. The Predators could influence the former by dealing youth for current commodities but this hardly seems like the right time to push all in. So, expect the team to either focus instead on the latter, shipping veterans out of town and icing an inexperienced team to increase the odds of a high pick in the summer’s draft, or to stand pat altogether.
|Click player positions to see depth chart|
Areas to address
If the Predators were looking to add, they would most likely start by seeking out goal-scorers. Past that, an improvement on the current goaltending tandem of Carter Hutton and Devan Dubnyk would likely be the second priority. It was speculated that the team was interested in Capitals netminder Michal Neuvirth earlier this season, but those rumours have since subsided. The Predators are expecting to get Pekka Rinne back at some point this season, but his health has been in constant question since the offseason and the team won’t commit to a timetable for his return.
Expect instead for the Predators to mostly hang out on the sidelines at the deadline, with the exception of possibly moving centre and pending free agent David Legwand. It’s unclear what the market for Legwand is at the moment but, generally speaking, there never seems to be a shortage of teams looking for a potential top-six centre. That said, it’s still possible the Predators resign the fan-favourite Legwand, who has played his entire career in Nashville and holds practically every record the franchise keeps.
If the Predators do the unexpected and go into full-on sell mode, one would expect Matt Cullen, Colin Wilson and Ryan Ellis to also be moving out of town.
Possible trade chips
NHL Trade Deadline needs: Full list for all 30 NHL teams