NHL Trade Rumors: Predators Still Looking As Deadline Approaches
With the acquisition of Mike Fisher already paying off dividends, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile will be looking to see who exactly is available over the next six days.
As the annual NHL trade deadline sets up for next Monday, rumors are starting to turn into deals in advance of the deadline. Will the Predators be involved?
While the NHL's western conference is a tight as a drum, the Predators have done well at keeping pace with others while going both hot and cold at opportune times this season.
Still missing the services of dependable blueliner Francis Bouillon and Ryan Suter, as well as center Marcel Goc, two of the Preds most consistent players this season are on the sidelines. It's believed that Suter will only miss a short amount of time, although that has not been confirmed or denied at this point.
The Preds have welcomed back right winger Jordin Tootoo.
Tootoo, missed the last 23 games for personal reasons played just a shade over 10 minutes on Saturday night vs. Phoenix.
The Predators might be able to make a deal or two that might help bring in even more depth. GM David Poile will likely be scouting the league to find another Sergei Kostitsyn, while looking to maybe move a J.P. Dumont.
Dumont has fallen down the depth chart and has played inconsistently for most of the season.
Could he become a Pred at the deadline?
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images
The Predators could still use another winger and defenseman as the deadline looms.
Nashville might be willing to move J.P. Dumont and his $4 million per season salary. Dumont has another season on his current deal, scheduled for $4 million, but has veto power as he has a no movement clause in his contract.
At this time, GM Poile has not asked Dumont to waive that condition. The chances would be slim to move Dumont unless the Preds are willing to take on some salary as part of any potential trade.
Veristale forward Joel Ward, Marek Svatos, Marcel Goc, Wade Belak and Steve Sullivan are UFAs at season's end along with defenseman Shane O'Brien and reliable Alex Sulzer.
Chances are that all players are staying and could be offered contracts this summer with the exemption of Wade Belak.
Players the Preds Have an Eye On
Forwards Pascal Dupuis of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Andrew Murray of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Clarke MacArthur of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Defenseman Radek Martinek of the New York Islanders and Alexandre Picard of the Montreal Canadiens might provide some marginal depth.
Expect the Preds to offer late-round draft picks as compensation for scheduled UFAs with contracts expiring after this season.
Is Another Major Trade To Occur?
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
If the Predators were to add another component for this season's run to the Stanley Cup playoffs, it seems natural that they would look to add another young emerging player.
After trading high picks to obtain Mike Fisher from Ottawa, Preds GM David Poile is not likely going to gamble all of the Predators future picks for new acquisitions, but the question is there.
Is there another major trade going to occur?
Blake Geoffrion and Ryan Ellis are two great young prospects that are ear marked for potential NHL duty in the not to distant future.
With teams like Florida, Toronto, Edmonton and Ottawa, maybe add Colorado to that list looking to re-vamp their lineups and stock up on draft picks and prospects, the idea isn't so crazy.
The Predators operate on a responsible budget and there is reason to believe that they want to make a long-term commitment to players like Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and potentially breakthrough players like Sergei Kostitsyn and Cal O'Reilly.
GM Poile has Martin Erat, David Legwand, Fisher, Hornqvist and injured center Matthew Lombardi on longer term deals.
Weber, Kostitsyn and O'Reilly are eligible for RFA status after this season, while Suter, Jordin Tootoo and goaltender Pekka Rinne will be UFA after next season.
Colin Wilson, Anders Lindback and Cody Franson are due for new deals also in a year's time.
Was the acquisition of Fisher opening the door for another key player to supplement this group moving forward?
Could David Booth become a Predator? Booth's cap hit is comparable to what J.P. Dumont is currently earning. Booth has another four years on his six-year, $25.5 million deal.
Is this a gamble that GM Poile is willing to take?
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Predators find themselves right in the middle of the pack heading towards this season's Stanley Cup playoffs.
If this team starts on a hot streak, given their history this season, they could very well be a handful for any opponent.
The big question will be whether or not they decide to "go for it!"
Chances are they will consider every opportunity between now and 3 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28.
Mike MacDonald is a Featured Columnist covering the Nashville Predators and the NHL.
Mike has been featured on NHL.com and CBSSports.com.