The Predators could be ready to wheel and deal at the trade deadline

Sports

Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes watches from the bench in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Columbus Blue Jackets Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- The NHL trade deadline is right around the corner, set for April 12th and with the Nashville Predators hanging towards the bottom of the Central Division, it might be time to rebuild.

Expectations for the Preds increased greatly after they made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 and while they haven’t completely digressed; making it to the playoffs, winning a two Central Division titles, and capturing the Presidents’ Trophy- it hasn’t been enough.

Change has taken place over the last couple of years. The team parted ways with longtime head coach Peter Laviolette and said goodbye to veteran players like Craig Smith and Nick Bonino. But for the most part Poile hasn’t shaken things to the core. Fans have gotten used to names like Roman Josi, Pekka Rinne, Viktor Arviddson, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Ryan Ellis, and Mattias Ekholm. And while having familiar faces on the roster is usually a good thing, for some reason it hasn’t worked that well in Nashville.

On paper things look pretty good, but it not translating on the ice this season. The Predators have failed to string together more than two wins this season, so points are slim and time is running out. Inconsistency is the major issue, and that is why they are likely going to be ‘sellers’ at the trade deadline and some fan favorites could be on their way out of town.

Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman has said that the Preds may even be willing to listen to trade offers for anyone other than Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Pekka Rinne. So that means players like Johansen, Granlund, Duchene, Arvidsson and Ekholm are all fair game.

While not impossible, it might be more difficult to move Johansen and Duchene because of their large contracts. More likely trade pieces would be Ekholm, Arvidsson and Calle Jarnkrok.

Even the team’s leading goal-scorer Filip Forsberg has been mentioned in recent trade talk. And while a rebuild means getting rid of some big names, it might not be smart to part ways with the team’s superstar. Instead, the Predators should focus on building around Forsberg, which is why it’s doubtful he leaves Smashville.

While it will need to be done right, it just feels like a good time to rebuild. While other teams are getting better with the youth movement, the Predators have been playing it safe in the middle and another year of not doing ‘too’ much could set this team back even further.

Preds fans, it won’t be fun, but prepare for an all out sale in April.

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