So, the Nashville Predators are sitting in 10th place right now, with a little under half of the season to go. It’s a tight race in the NHL this year, as the half season has made it anyone’s game, even this late in the show. But you’re David Poile and you’re like
“Wow, we’re totes on the outside looking in right now. And our top guys are playing brutal for us lol. It’s really a seller’s market out there, and after years of trading away draft picks for last minute playoff pushes, I’m going to get some of it back. Heck, it might not even hurt us this season”.
And that’s that. April 3rd, and the week leading up to it, the Nashville Predators are all of a sudden marketing players like Crocs was marketing Crocs in 2010.
Is it possible? Actually … it is. It’s very possible. It’s almost likely, if you look at how quiet our top line is.
So join me friends, let’s speculate until the night is oh so young.
First off, who would we sell?
Well, we have a certain number of players that the organization just won’t want to move. Let’s call them the untouchables. They are, by order of most to least untouchable:
Colin Wilson (They’ve had disagreements, but at 2 million /year for the next 2 years, he’s not getting traded now)
Ryan Ellis (Maybe last year, but he’s playing well in the NHL this year. )
Kevin Klein (Maybe, if the price was right)
Mike Fisher (I hesitate to put him here, but he has a good relationship with the org and we won’t be able to get much for him anyway).
Then there are players that because of age or contract or, likely, both won’t generate interest. They are (by least to most generated interest):
I know, I know, that’s like … all of our roster. And we might have to make some sacrifices: especially if we are really committed to this.
Nonetheless, we are left with Martin Erat, Sergei Kostitsyn, Nick Spaling, Hal Gill, Jonathan Blum.
Okay, that was long and dull. Let’s look at trade possibilities.
#10 Martin Erat – 31 years old, Right Winger, $4.5 Million until 2015, No Move Clause
Erat has a no move clause, which means the Predators lifer will need to waive the NMC in order for a trade to be allowed. This is definitely a possibility. The forward is not playing his best hockey, and at 31 a change of scenery and a playoff run might be just what the (scoring) doctor ordered.
Similar Deals in the past: 2010 – Washington Capitals acquire Joe Corvo for Brian Pothier, Oskar Osala, and a 2011 2nd round pick.
Sum it up for us Ray: Erat has a lot of skill, and his numbers on a low scoring team are pretty reasonable. Although he does have a big contract for two years, there may be a good fit with a team that has the cap-space
Potential Trade Partners: Pittsburgh, Toronto, Montreal
Bold Bold Prediction (written in bold) : Erat to Toronto for Bozak, Kulemin and a 3rd
#74 Sergei Kostitsyn – 25 years old, Left Winger, $3 Million until 2014
Kostitsyn is another player who looks ready for a change of scenery. It may have been his brother’s impact on the playoff run last year, but that’s doubtful. It looks like he is just at odds with Trotz’s system of hard work and defense first.
Similar Deals in the past: 2009 – The Calgary Flames acquire Olli Jokinen and a 2009 third-round draft pick from the Phoenix Coyotes for Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust, and a conditional 2009 or 2010 first-round draft pick
Sum it up for us Ray: Kostitsyn needs a system that will better match the way he wants to play. He is a younger player and might get more interest than Erat, but with his brother in the KHL team’s will be wary of him jumping ship at the end of his contract.
Potential Trade Partners: New Jersey, Winnipeg,
Bold Bold Prediction (written in bold) : Kostitsyn to New Jersey for Stephan Matteau and a 2nd
#75 Hal Gill – 37 years old, Defenseman, $2 Million until 2014
Gill is on a two year contract and at 37 won’t generate much interest. He has been good in Nashville, but with injury, age and our young defensive core willing to step up, he isn’t very valuable and could be sold low if a fire sale incurs.
Similar Deals in the past: 2011 – The Calgary Flames acquire Frederick Modin for a 7th round draft pick
Sum it up for us Ray: A handful of teams are looking for an extra defender to bolster their playoff run. Hal Gill offers experience and enough skill to be an effective third line defender.
Potential Trade Partners: Carolina, Ottawa, Winnipeg,
Bold Bold Prediction (written in bold) : Gill to Carolina for a 2013 6th round pick
#7 Jonathan Blum – 24 years old, Defenseman, $650,000 until 2013 (RFA)
Blum has played very well this season. The 2007 first round pick has developed into a top six (arguable 7) defender who makes few mistakes. But you have to wonder if he will be an enticing piece of trade bait come April 3rd. The defender has a lot of potential and as an RFA a team that inks him for the final half of the season will get first negotiating rights on a longer contract. The one problem with this scenario is that Blum isn’t the kind of player a team adds for a deep playoff run. If anything he is a player a team acquired during a fire sale of their own.
Similar Deals in the past: 2012 – The Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Carter Ashton from the Tampa Bay Lighting for Keith Aulie
Sum it up for us Ray: If Blum does go, I would expect a simple prospect swap. The D-man might be interested in playing hockey closer to his home in Long Beach California
Potential Trade Partners: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Toronto
Bold Bold Prediction (written in bold) : Blum to Los Angeles for Jordan Nolan
Of course this is all speculative … very very speculative. And if the Preds keep winning like last night then this won’t even be an issue. Nonetheless, I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Drop me a comment here or leave me a tweet to @CanadasPredsFan