The Predators are in need of a big-time scorer.
The Nashville Predators have long been a defensive-minded team, and this year is no exception.
Shea Weber and Ryan Suter make arguably the most formidable defensive duo in the NHL, and they help orchestrate the offense in the process.
What the Predators have lacked in their franchise's history is a consistent big-time scorer. No Predator has led the team in goals for more than one season, and they rarely have 20+ goal scorers compared to their counterparts.
Nashville seems content with their spread-out scoring, as it has been picking up on the power play during their four-game winning streak. But once the Preds drop a few, they will need that prime "go-get-em" forward that will keep them winning.
Lots of big-name forwards are coming forward as potentially on the market, and the Predators have something that every team wants: multiple elite defensemen.
How much are the Preds willing to put on the table?
That is yet to be determined. But dropping either one of these superstars (Weber obviously with slightly more value) should put them in a position to acquire a big-time player. Also, don't forget that Nashville also has among the best prospects in the league.
Here's a look at some of the best players that the Predators should consider acquiring.
Nashville Predators, Bobby Ryan. Bobby Ryan, Nashville Predators. I think you two have met before (see: Ryan's ridiculous playoff goal last year).
The Preds were one of the teams in the running for Ryan when the Ducks shopped him around earlier this season. He has since been taken off the market, but still looks to be a game-changer that Nashville is interested in.
The Ducks are the third-worst team in the NHL, and have given up the fifth-most goals in hockey this season.
Trading Ryan, a budding star and a high-flying forward, to Nashville would require the Preds to give up one of their star defenders.
Zach Parise and the New Jersey Devils had a somewhat baffling offseason. The Predators should swoop in on the American star and break the bank to lock Parise down long term.
The Devils have one of the worst defenses in the NHL, and the Preds could get Parise and possibly even more if they offer Weber. Parise is one of the top forwards in hockey, and would be a great player to build a franchise around.
Alexander Semin is arguably one of the most overpaid players in the league ($6.7 million this year) and could shine if he was relocated to a team in which he wasn't overshadowed by a star like Alex Ovechkin.
With Semin's lack of production lately, it would be a huge risk for Nashville. The Predators have never taken such a risk, but the potential upside makes this a trade that could greatly improve Nashville's offense.
Jarome Iginla has been one of the faces of the NHL for nearly a decade. At 34, the right winger is still playing at a high level with a team-leading 11 goals for the Calgary Flames.
It's doubtful that the Predators would give up Suter or Weber for Iginla, given his age. But if Nashville feels like going in this direction, they have plenty of prospects to offer a Flames team that is looking to rebuild.
The Predators could be in contention for one of the NHL's best centers if Carter's situation gets any more sticky, and nabbing a great player from a division rival always makes things a bit more interesting.
Evander Kane is making noise with the Winnipeg Jets this season, boasting a team-leading 15 goals and 24 points.
Rumors surfaced at the beginning of the season that Kane wanted out of Winnipeg due to his relationship with head coach Claude Noel, but the 20-year-old has since denied those rumors and is quickly reaching his peak.
This is the type of player that the Preds should be willing to drop Ryan Suter on.
It's okay to dream, right?
Joe Thornton has been one of the most menacing offensive players for many seasons and is having yet another productive season in San Jose.
Every Predators fan knows how much success Jason Arnott had with Nashville, and Thornton is a very similar, yet more skillful, player.
Thornton is probably the Sharks' most prized possession, but they would have to consider a deal if the Predators came knocking with Shea Weber on the table.
Eric Stall is off to a less-than-stellar start, and that could just be attributed to his supporting cast. The Carolina Hurricanes are in the cellar of the NHL.
The Predators could offer a lot to Carolina if Eric Staal were on the table, and his presence could greatly boost Nashville's scoring attack.
The Oilers have been scheming to deal Ales Hemsky for about a year, and the Predators could use some depth at left wing.
The Predators would be unlikely to deal Weber or Suter for Hemsky alone, but one of them could be involved in a larger trade or a multi-team deal involving the Czech left winger if both teams look to go down that path.
Scott Gomez is playing past his prime and in a huge contract, but the Predators could use his offense if they were able to work out a deal.
I don't see Nashville dropping one of their two defensive jewels for him (maybe Suter), but the Montreal Canadiens could be interested in the Predators' deep prospect pool.
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