The Nashville Predators’ early exit from the 2019 Playoffs confirmed that the workforce wasn’t constructed to be a winner like many thought it was. They lacked constant purpose scoring and suffered from an over-reliance on the highest line to win video games. The less-than-stellar outcome has created a lot hypothesis on how the workforce can get higher over the offseason.
Addressing Scoring Woes
One transfer that almost everybody believes the Predators ought to make is so as to add scoring, by means of bringing in a top-six ahead. For a lot of, this implies dealing from a place of energy, their protection, to handle an space of weak spot, their offense.
The Predators have one of many league’s greatest protection corps, and with Dante Fabbro’s emergence, they’ve 5 high quality blueliners, all of whom ought to have the ability to deal with top-four minutes subsequent season. Moreover, with the Seattle Growth Draft looming and Fabbro now needing protected, it’s turning into extra clear that a defenseman is more likely to be dealt.
Moreover, with Roman Josi eligible for an extension on July 1 and deserving an enormous increase over his present $four million cap hit, the Predators are going to wish as a lot cap area as they will get to handle different points in free company. Because of this, every of the workforce’s top-four defensemen have been concerned in commerce hypothesis. Nevertheless, the one blueliner who’s been on the heart of the commerce talks is P.Ok. Subban, who appears to by no means be out of the highlight. Let’s take a look at a number of the rumors involving him and see which of them, if any, maintain weight from a Predators’ perspective.
P.Ok. Subban has been talked about in quite a few latest commerce rumors. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports activities)
Subban Commerce Rumors
Whereas there have been many rumors through the years surrounding a doable commerce of Subban, I’m going to concentrate on 5 intriguing ones, starting with the New Jersey Devils.
New Jersey Devils
The Pucks and Pitchforks weblog is liable for this commerce concept. Author Nick Villano brings up how Devils common supervisor Ray Shero has latest expertise working with Predators GM David Poile, as the 2 got here collectively on the Brian Boyle commerce on the 2019 Commerce Deadline. He first brings up Devils’ prime prospect, and the league’s 20th-best, in accordance with The Hockey Information’ Future Watch situation, defenseman Ty Smith. Villano goes on to say that Smith could be too excessive a worth to pay for Subban. He then means that an applicable return could be Pavel Zacha and a first-round decide (not the primary choice). Let’s analyze this.
Associated: Seven Issues About P.Ok. Subban
Zacha is a 22-year-old ahead and the Devils’ 2015 sixth-overall decide. He simply accomplished his third NHL season and his level totals have been 24, 25, and 25. He has but to stay as much as the expectations he created when he scored 28 objectives and 64 factors in 51 video games his remaining season within the OHL. The Devils had been clearly dissatisfied along with his manufacturing in 2018-19 as they despatched him to the AHL, the place he had 5 assists in 4 video games. He’s had poor five-on-five metrics all through his profession, by no means reaching a 50 % shot or purpose share.
Pavel Zacha is the centerpiece going again to the Predators in Nick Villano’s commerce concept. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Zacha additionally negatively impacted his linemates in 2018-19, dropping every’s shot share relative to enjoying with somebody aside from Zacha. He simply performed the ultimate season of his entry-level contract (ELC), making him a restricted free agent (RFA) this summer season. Assuming he would comply with a bridge deal, his acquisition would handle the Predators’ wage cap issues. Nevertheless, that’s the one method this commerce helps the Predators. Zacha isn’t invaluable sufficient, even along with his age and draft pedigree, for this commerce to be value it for the Predators.
New York Rangers
The following commerce concept comes from Elite Sports activities New York, and wow, is it attention-grabbing. Author Frank Curto begins off by saying that the Rangers want a top-pair defenseman. He says that Brady Skjei, Libor Hájek, Ryan Lindgren and Marc Staal ought to all be off-limits. So the primary supply he crafts is Kevin Shattenkirk and Neal Pionk for Subban and a second-round decide. Fortunately, he involves his senses and admits that it’s not sufficient worth for the Predators. His second package deal is Shattenkirk and Chris Kreider for Subban and a second-round decide. Let’s unpack this.
Neal Pionk is a participant the Predators may ask to be included in any Subban return. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Initially, a Predators/Rangers commerce is smart on the floor. The Rangers want a top-pair blueliner they usually’ll have the cap area in 2019-20 to tackle Subban’s $9 million cap hit. Nevertheless, the commerce packages Curto outlines are ludicrous. Pionk isn’t dangerous as a 23-year-old right-shot blueliner who had six objectives and 26 factors in 73 video games in 2018-19. Nevertheless, like Zacha, his metrics had been horrible with solely a 44 % shot share and 40 % purpose share, though he truly improved the metrics of Staal, his most typical protection associate. Pionk additionally simply performed the final season of his ELC and will probably be an RFA, which might assist the Predators’ cap scenario. That’s the great.
Even Kreider may gain advantage the Predators. In 2018-19, he tied a career-high with 28 objectives and was one off his career-high with 52 factors. He additionally truly had constructive five-on-five metrics and has expertise enjoying within the top-six. As a speedy winger who’s unafraid to make use of his 6-foot-Three body to get bodily, he could be an ideal match for what the Predators ought to try to be. Kreider has yet one more season with a $four.625 million cap hit, which might assist the workforce’s cap scenario, even when they prolonged him.
Chris Kreider is a participant who may make a number of sense for the Predators. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Now onto Shattenkirk, the place the issue lies. With a $6.65 million cap hit for the following two seasons, he’s vastly overpaid contemplating he’s produced seven objectives and 51 factors the previous two seasons mixed. If the Predators want to release some cap area to increase Josi and add a ahead, Shattenkirk can’t be within the return.
Subsequent up is an concept written by Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Within the article, Carchidi writes that there are ample causes for the Flyers and Predators to be commerce companions in a deal involving Subban. Particularly, it begins with the near-four decade relationship between Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher and Poile. Carchidi mentions:
They’ve identified one another for 47 years, and Poile received his huge break in 1972, when Fletcher’s father, Cliff, employed him as a 22-year-old administrative assistant with the enlargement Atlanta Flames. 5 years later, he made Poile an assistant common supervisor.From “Buying and selling Jake Voracek for P.Ok. Subban Makes Sense for Flyers,” Philadelphia Inquirer – 05/06/2019
Moreover, the 2 groups partnered within the Wayne Simmonds commerce on the 2019 Commerce Deadline, so there’s loads of historical past right here. As you’ll be able to see from the article’s title, this commerce entails swapping Jake Voracek and Subban one-for-one. This commerce is smart for each groups. Voracek turns 30 in August and has 4 years left on his contract with an $eight.25 million cap hit. He’s truly paid lower than his cap hit every of the ultimate 4 years, which might profit a small-market workforce just like the Predators. In the meantime, Subban turns 30 on Could 13 and has three years left on his take care of a $9 million cap hit.
A one-for-one commerce involving Jake Voracek makes a number of sense. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Voracek has been an under-the-radar nice participant for his profession. He’s a six-time 20-goal scorer and a seven-time 50-point producer. He’s additionally eclipsed the 80-point mark twice, and in 2018-19 he had 20 objectives and 66 factors in 78 video games. Solely 4 of his objectives and 18 of his factors occurred on the person benefit. In the meantime, Subban is a six-time 10-goal scorer and a five-time 40-point producer. In 2018-19, he had 9 objectives and 31 factors in 63 video games. Wanting on the two gamers’ underlying stats additional exhibits this commerce working for each groups.
Throughout Voracek’s tenure with the Flyers, he’s usually hovered round a 50 % shot share. It was 49.5 % in 2018-19. He’s additionally had up-and-down purpose shares, from 59.Three % in 2017-18 to 45.Three % in 2018-19. Nevertheless, that has little to do with him because the Flyers have constantly had low PDOs with Voracek deployed, together with a .985 in 2018-19 because of a .902 on-ice save proportion. Now the detrimental side is that Voracek was a hindrance on his linemates in 2018-19.
Then again, Subban had constructive metrics in all however management of high-danger probabilities. He nonetheless had a less-than-optimal PDO at .994, however that’s as a result of workforce taking pictures 7.Three % with him deployed. Subban and Mattias Ekholm, his most typical protection associate, established one of many league’s higher pairs in latest seasons. Collectively, they had been glorious in 2018-19 with a 54.9 % shot share and 55.1 % purpose share. They had been separated down the stretch with Subban partnering with Josi and Ekholm pairing with Ryan Ellis, and neither pair succeeded.
This commerce merely works. Voracek is the top-six left-shot winger the Predators want and he’d work effectively on the second line with Mikael Granlund. Subban would enhance the Flyers’ prime protection pair, partnering with Ivan Provorov. Subban’s type and the way he performs over the sting at occasions would make him a fan favourite in Philadelphia. Plus, he’s already succeeded in Montreal, one of many league’s hardest markets, so Philadelphia’s notoriously robust followers shouldn’t be a priority. Lastly, the 2 gamers’ cap hits practically even out, making the commerce a win for each groups.
Subban would slot in effectively on the Flyers’ prime protection pair alongside Ivan Provorov. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Toronto Maple Leafs
One other workforce that could possibly be a stable commerce associate for the Predators is the Toronto Maple Leafs. This suggestion comes from The Hockey Information’ Matt Larkin in a weblog put up he wrote by which he raised 5 questions for the Maple Leafs’ offseason. One query was “Does (GM Kyle) Dubas lastly discover a right-shot defenseman for the highest 4?” In answering the query, Larkin brings up that Nikita Zaitsev is the workforce’s solely top-four right-shot defenseman and that Ron Hainsey performed out of place on the highest pair in 2018-19. Lastly, Larkin mentions how Dubas tried to handle the blue line by bringing in Jake Muzzin however that head coach Mike Babcock didn’t see it as the perfect state of affairs.
Larkin means that except the Maple Leafs need to signal Tyler Myers, the one method they will get a top-four right-shot defenseman is by buying and selling for one. He lists a number of targets: Jacob Trouba, Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce and Subban. To ensure that the Maple Leafs to land such a participant, Larkin thinks they’ll must half with one in all their younger, affect forwards. It’d be a method for them to handle cap issues whereas additionally offering truthful worth in return. Larkin considers Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner as untouchable. That sounds about proper. He lists Nazem Kadri, Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson and William Nylander as doubtless commerce candidates and that a one-for-one swap of Nylander for a defenseman makes a number of sense. Let’s unpack that.
The Maple Leafs could have to half with William Nylander so as to add a top-four right-shot defenseman. (AP Picture/Jay LaPrete, File)
Nylander is a right-shot ahead able to enjoying heart or wing, and at solely 23 years of age, he nonetheless hasn’t hit his prime. He has 5 years left on the much-publicized contract he signed in Dec. 2018 after a prolonged holdout. It resulted in him enjoying in 54 video games and scoring seven objectives and 27 factors, not a fantastic complete, however a big portion of his factors (13) occurred in his final 20 video games.
He additionally received 55.2 % of the 368 faceoffs he took, managed a minimum of 53.eight % of five-on-five pictures, objectives, scoring probabilities and high-danger probabilities and the Maple Leafs had been anticipated to manage 57 % of five-on-five objectives when Nylander was deployed. So whereas he could not have had the counting stats that old-school hockey followers prefer to see, he was actually good in 2018-19, and that doesn’t even embody how he improved the shot shares of Kadri and Matthews, his two most-common linemates.
Now there may be at all times the prospect that with Nylander proving he can heart his personal line the Maple Leafs look to deal Kadri as a substitute. It wouldn’t give them as a lot cap freedom they usually wouldn’t get as a lot in return, however it might imply retaining the extra proficient participant. If that’s the case, the Predators shouldn’t have an interest. But when Nylander is on the desk, Poile ought to name Dubas instantly.
Nylander’s emergence as a middle may make him the proper return for Subban. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
A one-for-one commerce of Nylander for Subban would handle each groups’ wants. The Maple Leafs would get a first-pair right-shot blueliner (who’s from Toronto, by the best way), whereas the Predators would get a top-six ahead who may heart the second line or play on the wing. He’d instantly be the workforce’s most proficient ahead and could be a near-perfect match for what the Predators need to do.
Lastly, we arrive on the final commerce concept. This one was produced by The Canuck Approach’s Alex Hoegler. This concept was nice to come back throughout as a result of Hoegler pays consideration to each groups’ wants and doesn’t counsel that the Canucks pull a quick one on the Predators. His reasoning for the Canucks having curiosity in Subban is obvious: they’ve a plethora of younger expertise with extra on the best way and 9 picks on this yr’s draft whereas their blue line is void of depth. He appropriately factors out that the Predators want to increase Josi they usually don’t want 4 (and probably 5 with Fabbro) prime defensemen.
He goes on to debate the Canucks’ untouchables: Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. That appears truthful, and I might even add Adam Gaudette to that checklist. As an alternative, Hoegler thinks the Canucks would wish to half with a 2020 first-round decide and a 2019 or 2020 second-rounder, plus prospect Olli Juolevi and one in all Kole Lind, Jake Virtanen, Nikolay Goldobin or Tyler Madden. Apparently sufficient, I feel this may be an overpay for a soon-to-be 30-year-old Subban who has three seasons left on his deal. 4 property, together with a first-round decide is a big package deal to half with, and I’m certain the Predators would like to obtain that a lot worth in return.
Olli Juolevi could be the centerpiece of any commerce between the Canucks and Predators. (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports activities)
The gamers to concentrate to listed here are the prospects: Juolevi, Lind and Madden. Juolevi was the Canucks’ 2016 fifth-overall decide. He was anticipated to be the anchor of the workforce’s blue line, however his improvement has been sluggish and followers have grown pissed off with him. He made progress in Finland’s Liiga in 2017-18 and had 13 factors in 18 AHL video games in 2018-19 earlier than a knee damage ended his season in December.
Lind is a winger whom the Canucks took within the second spherical in 2017. He was higher than a point-per-game participant his remaining two seasons within the WHL and had 17 factors in 51 video games in his first full AHL season. He’s progressed at each degree and is pushed to study and enhance. He has good imaginative and prescient, a powerful shot, and is the kind of participant who can thrive on the ability play.
Lastly, Madden, a middle, simply accomplished his freshman season at Northeastern College the place he had 28 factors in 36 video games. He additionally contributed 4 factors in seven video games for Workforce USA on the World Junior Championships. Not dangerous for the 2018 third-round decide.
From each groups’ views, there’s a lot to love right here. The Canucks would get Subban to associate with Hughes, giving them a dynamic prime protection pair. In the meantime, the Predators could be getting a proficient protection prospect they may groom right into a second or third-pair man, one other intriguing prospect (I like Lind) and two draft picks. Sadly, I don’t assume Canucks GM Jim Benning would ever half with that a lot worth for Subban. I wouldn’t.
Subban could be a fantastic associate for Quinn Hughes (proven right here with the College of Michigan) on the Canucks’ prime pair. (College of Michigan Pictures)
However what if the first-round decide is off the desk? That’d nonetheless be a pleasant return for the Predators. Nevertheless, the one drawback with this proposal is that it doesn’t handle the Predators’ want for a top-six ahead within the current. Though it might give them loads of cap area to signal one in free company with all of the prospects on ELCs.
Would Any of These Trades Be Ultimate Strikes?
Other than the Flyers and Maple Leafs, none of those commerce concepts actually handle what the Predators want: a top-six ahead, ideally a middle, or the releasing up of cap area to allow them to be patrons in free company. Buying Nylander or Voracek addresses the necessity completely whereas the Canucks may give the Predators loads of worth even when nobody participant is the proper return. The opposite two commerce proposals are method off base. In a future article, I’ll make the case for buying and selling Subban, and which groups could be supreme companions for the Predators.
*All stats got here from Hockey-Reference, Pure Stat Trick and Elite Prospects