The Nashville Predators were tested this weekend with back to back games against the fast rising St. Louis Blues. After losing 3-2 in the first game in St. Louis, they lost 5-4 in overtime in front of their home fans in Nashville.

Much was made of Ryan Johansen’s post game comments regarding the “early puck drop” in overtime, but the Preds barely escaped that game with a point. Twice they had to tie the game in the 3rd period, with Filip Forsberg’s late tally giving the Preds the point they needed.

For a Preds team that had a bit of momentum heading into the weekend after the overtime win against the Stars, they looked completely out of sorts against the Blues.

This two game losing streak coincides with the inexplicable addition of Cody McLeod to the lineup. In the two games against the Blues, McLeod combined for 5:20 ice time, registered 3 hits, and had 7 penalty minutes. He also registered no points and had a -1 rating.

McLeod wasn’t acquired for his hockey ability, that much is clear, but think about what that statement means. The Preds are in the middle of a fairly wide open Cup window and they are using roster spots on guys who are objectively bad at hockey.

He replaced Rocco Grimaldi, who had been one of the better stories for the Preds this year. Grimaldi had only four goals on the season, but his speed, aggression, and, most importantly, his ability to play the puck, were a godsend for the 4th line.

I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Preds go back to Grimaldi this week. Especially with faster teams like Detroit and Vegas. But that doesn’t address the acquisition of McLeod and what he “brings to the ice” as a very questionable move for Poile to this point.

Five Quick Thoughts

  1. Brian Boyle hasn’t tallied on the power play yet, but he has made his presence known. He’s been in front of the net screening the opposing on two goals so far and looks like the right man for the job.
  2. Speaking of, Brian Boyle looks like a hockey pirate.
  3. There’s no excuse for the Preds playing like they did against the Blues this weekend. Maybe two good periods of hockey out of six total. The Blues were hungrier and deserved the two wins.
  4. Ryan Johansen is still on his way to having a career year: his 0.87 points per game is tied for the highest mark in his career, going back to 2014-15 with Columbus.
  5. Viktor Arvidsson may end up having the best season ever by a Preds goal scorer. Just imagine what he could have done if he hadn’t missed 24 games.

GIF Me That Good Stuff

It’s been a minute since the last Weekly Edge, so I am going back a bit here, but this play by Filip Forsberg has stuck with me. The guy is just so good.

Let’s Do That Hockey

Tuesday 2/12 – 7:00 PM: Predators vs. Red Wings [FS-TN]

Thursday 2/14 – 7:00 PM: Predators vs. Canadiens [FS-TN]

Saturday 2/16 – 9:00 PM: Predators @ Golden Knights [FS-TN]

Final Thought

Are the Predators done trading?

My instinct says “yes.”

This is less because the Predators are a complete team and fully stocked with the weapons they need to win a Stanley Cup (the jury is still out on that) and more because I just don’t see the right trade partner and the right cost.

Let’s take a look at the options that are readily available, according to most reports.

Wayne Simmonds

With the Predators acquiring Brian Boyle, who helps solve two problems at once, the Predators are not likely to spend what little trade capital they have on getting Simmonds. There’s too much overlap in what Boyle and Simmonds bring to the ice. Especially if the price for Simmonds is a top prospect and a 1st round pick, the Predators don’t seem likely to pursue Simmonds any longer.

Artemi Panarin

There is just no way David Poile pays the price for Panarin (likely a top prospect, a ready made NHL player, and at least one top draft pick) if he is only a rental. And it certainly doesn’t sound like Panarin is likely to talk contract extension until this summer.

Without a doubt, Panarin would be rocket fuel for the Preds’ offense and instantly make them a top Stanley Cup contender (if they aren’t already). But I just don’t see it happening.

Matt Duchene

This is more about the fit in Nashville, less about the trade cost. Would David Poile really go out and acquire yet another highly paid center? He’s already got Ryan Johansen at $8 million, Kyle Turris at $6 million, and Nick Bonino at $4 million. And Duchene might cost more than all of them.

As with Panarin, Poile is unlikely to make a move unless he can sign Duchene long term. There’s just not enough money to go around to keep four centers for north of $25 million. There are trade options back the other way, but I can’t see the Preds parting with Johansen or Turris and the Senators won’t want Bonino.

Mark Stone

Unless Senators management makes him a package deal with Matt Duchene, Mark Stone is the one player I could see the Preds actually landing. The price seems to be right and he fits a role that newly acquired Boyle doesn’t.

Stone is an annual 20+ goal scorer who can also pass well. He’s got speed and playmaking ability. He would fit perfectly on a line with Kyle Turris, who he played with a lot in Ottawa. If the Predators do trade for Mark Stone, you can almost guarantee that either Kevin Fiala or Craig Smith would be in the deal, as they would be replaced upon Stone’s arrival in Nashville.

Having said that, I think the Predators could easily get outbid for Stone. Other teams in the hunt for forward help, like Winnipeg, can offer more than Eeli Tolvanen or Dante Fabbro.

— Featured image via Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports —



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