The time is now for the Nashville Predators. They tasted the Stanley Cups finals last season, but are looking for a different outcome. The Pittsburgh Penguins celebrated their triumph, hoisting the Cup in six games in front of the Preds’ home crowd and now coach Peter Laviolette’s team has one thing in mind: revenge.
Ahead of the Feb. 26 trade deadline, another thing seems certain: Nashville is expected to be buying and general manager David Poile is not one to be scared off by risky blockbuster moves. According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, Poile has more planned ahead as he has already made one of the most notable trades earlier this season by landing former Ottawa Senators forward Kyle Turris.
Yes, the move has already paid off, and we can bet Turris has more in the tank for the postseason.
Now with former captain Mike Fisher has come out of retirement to rejoin the roster, the Preds were able to shock fans once again. Fisher’s experience and leadership will be key assets for their playoff run, and Poile could place the cherry on top with another important move at the deadline.
To some fans, this is starting to get a little scary, however, Poile is not expected to make a reckless move. But the GM will be aggressive in the trade market in search of a scoring forward.
“I personally love pending UFA winger Rick Nash as a fit, but there are lots of winger options on the market for the Preds to look at,” writes LeBrun in a recent article for The Athletic.
“And they are doing just that. The Preds are “all-in,” as they say, more so than any team in the West, in my mind, as it comes to the what they’re willing to do ahead of the deadline.”
Rumors have also linked Montreal Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty, Buffalo Sabres’ Evander Kane and Senators’ Mike Hoffman to the Predators, but Poile might, as LeBrun suggests, focus more on Nash. The New York Rangers have made it clear that are entering a sell all mode, and Nash’s playoff experience could be a huge asset for Nashville.
The Rangers might be seeking NHL-ready quality, over late first-rounders and mid-level prospects for Nash. However, any contending team interested in Nash will likely have to be willing to part ways with a first-round pick. And looking back at Poile’s history: the last time he traded a first-rounder was when he acquired Paul Gaustad in 2012. Speculation hinted that a return for Kane in Buffalo might be an NHL-ready player, a prospect, a high draft pick and a conditional one - quite pricey for a young player looking for a hefty deal this summer.
Nash could be more than just a rental, however, for Nashville, as the Predators has plenty of cap space to accommodate the 33-year-old veteran.
But you better believe Poile is going to consider every option on the market before making a significant move at the deadline. And no, it will not be a reckless one: Nashville is a bona fide Cup contender and won’t do anything to hinder their championship run.
But come on : Rick Nashville!