You didn’t think we could have another Nashville Predators season without trade rumors, did you?

It’s that time of year again, when GMs from around the league look to buy and sell to build their teams. Some are building for the postseason. Some are building for the future. Either way, it makes for a compelling few weeks in an otherwise dull mid-season of hockey.

The Predators are no doubt buyers, but who (or what) are they looking to buy? Here’s a rundown of the latest rumors.

  • The biggest rumor comes from Pierre Lebrun, Craig Custance and Bob Mckenzie, who all mentioned that the Predators are taking a hard look at Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers. This is probably the biggest and most likely name on the trade market for the Preds. He would instantly improve the power play and bring a more balanced scoring approach to the top six.
  • Max Bultman of The Athletic mentions that Gustav Nyquist of the Red Wings would be a good target for the Predators. It’s hard to say if the Preds would target Nyquist. He’s not exactly a typical rental player. But if David Poile can pull off a “trade and sign” transaction, I could see this happening.
  • There are online rumors of interest in Mark Stone and Artemi Panarin, but nothing official. The former would be a great acquisition, provided the cost isn’t too high. The latter is simply a pipe dream. The Preds do not have anything close to the $9 million plus that Panarin is wanting.

Almost all of these players would require at least a top prospect and a top draft pick. Probably more.

Here’s the thing. The Preds do not have a lot of capital for trading. The future of their roster is already here: 16 of their current 23 roster players are 28 years old or younger. And most of those are under contract for a number of years beyond this one.

Wayne Simmonds Philadelphia Flyers Nashville Predators
Wayne Simmonds would be a great addition to the Preds for his power play expertise and net front presence. Photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports.

Add to that a bare prospect cupboard. Eeli Tolvanen and Dante Fabbro are the top two prospects, but they are hardly guaranteed NHLers and they are still a couple years away. After that you have guys like Frederic Allard, Alex Carrier, Emil Pettersson, and Anthony Richard, who are all good players, but not likely to tip the scales for someone like Simmonds or even Nyquist.

If the Predators do make a move, I think it’s probably a major one. Something like what they did to bring Kyle Turris in, maybe even a three team deal. And it probably involves trading away an NHL proven player. Someone like, but not necessarily, Kevin Fiala. Exchanging several future pieces for one future pieces is the only way I can see them getting anything done for the names that are out there.

With all this said, remember that Poile is unlikely to trade for someone he doesn’t feel like he can sign long term. That might put the Preds out of the race for Simmonds or Stone or Panarin, who will want term.

So there’s a lot to consider. Let the games begin!

Five Quick Thoughts (To Help You Forget The Carolina Game)

  1. Last week, I wrote about how Filip Forsberg was the most irreplaceable skater for the Preds. Then on Sunday, he went and scored another ridiculous goal against Hurricanes (see below).
  2. The last time the Preds beat the Hurricanes in the regular season (January 2nd, 2016), Mike Ribeiro, Eric Nystrom, Cody Hodgson, and Paul Gaustad were still on the team. And Ryan Johansen was still in Columbus.
  3. After a somewhat anemic offense in December, the Preds have scored at least 3 goals in 9 straight games. And they’ve gone 5-2-2 in those 9 games.
  4. The Preds went 3-1-2 on this recent six game road trip. Getting 8 of 12 points is just fine.
  5. The Preds have allowed only 122 goals this year. That leads the Western Conference and is 3rd in the league behind the Bruins and Islanders.

GIF Me That Good Stuff

Please watch this over and over again.

Let’s Do That Hockey

Tuesday 1/15 – 7:00 PM: Predators vs. Capitals [FS-TN]

Thursday 1/17 – 7:00 PM: Predators vs. Jets [FS-TN]

Saturday 1/19 – 7:00 PM: Predators vs. Panthers [FS-TN]

Final Thought

When the Preds acquired Ryan Johansen three years ago, he was immediately hailed as the first line center the team has always needed. So how does Johansen rank among the Preds’s previous top line centers?

Here’s one measure:

Yes, points per game is only one measurement. But ultimately fulfilling that top line role in the NHL is about production. That line absolutely has to put up points on a nightly basis. So points per game does tell you something.

When the Preds acquired Ryan Johansen three years ago, he was immediately hailed as the top line center the Preds have always needed. Or at least the one they needed ever since Jason Arnott retired.

As of Sunday’s game in Carolina, Johansen has played in 250 games for Nashville. He has his critics, that’s for sure, but I don’t think there’s anyone that can say Johansen hasn’t fulfilled his role as top line center in 250 games so far.

Ryan Johansen still hasn’t reached his ceiling, but he may be about to do just that. This year he has 40 points in 47 games for the Preds, by far his highest point per game rate so far in Nashville.

— Featured image via David Banks/USA TODAY Sports —

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