Road trip? No worries. More injuries? No problem. Down going into the third period, OK, bring it.
Let’s face it… this Nashville Predators team is on a serious roll. Last night’s 3-2 shootout win over Detroit keeps the team solidly in playoff position and gives them their 10th win in their last 12 games. After the shaky start to this season, no one saw this coming.
As the team hurtles towards Monday’s trade deadline, they have had their “definite seller” label revoked, but the question is, are they now considered buyers? Let’s take a look at that.
Preds GM David Poile was quoted about the status of Ryan Ellis and Matt Duchene, saying that both are skating and are expected to return after the deadline. The status of Dante Fabbro, after leaving last night’s game early, may have an impact here depending on how serious the injury is. Offensively, the team could use the talents of Duchene, but which Duchene shows back up? The one that kicked his play up a notch in the playoffs last season, or the early 2021 version?
Team chemistry has been high over this run, the kids pushing the vets, the vets leading like they are expected to, and, oh… by the way… light’s out goaltending.
So… what should this team do? The calls to “blow it up,” “fire the coach,” “fire the GM,” “fire everyone!” seem just a tad bit silly now, but memories of January and February keep this observer from forgetting those memories.
So, a little tweaking maybe?
Considering that the team has almost drained the Chicawaukee Admiwolves of almost every prime defensive prospect, maybe a depth blueliner of two? Or do you throw recently signed prospect David Farrence into the mix? Depending on how healthy the blueline gets, this are bears watching.
Offensively, this team is producing well, a suddenly lethal power play (three words I thought I would never string together regarding this team) and playing on their toes has drawn outstanding results. Not sure if there is any player out there that could improve on this performance.
So who would be on the block?
Mattias Ekholm? The darling of the early trade deadline speculation has almost dropped from view on the trade market. I can’t see him being traded at the deadline unless someone offers a “Herschel Walker” type deal that simply couldn’t be refused.
One of the “one-year” signings? Mikael Granlund or Nick Cousins? Maybe… but Granlund has been unleashed under John Hynes and Cousins has provided much-needed sandpaper to the lineup.
All I can say is that I don’t envy Poile’s next few days. What was a no-brainer at the end of February has become a Rubik’s cube for the GM.
Preds are back in action tomorrow night in Detroit.
Random Notes – Presented by
- Where We Stand
- A daily playoff update. As play opens today the Predators are in the 4th spot in the Central, 2points ahead of Chicago. Nashville leads Columbus by 5 points and Dallas by 7 points, but Dallas still has 3 games in hand. The Preds trail Tampa Bay by 11 points, Carolina by 12 and Florida by 13 for higher playoff positioning and their playoff chances are up to 35% after last night’s win.
- Ryan Johansen really likes to piss off goalies with his shootout, slow motion, make the tendy commit, then dink it over his outstretched body move. Last night’s was a thing of beauty that Thomas Greiss will be seeing in his nightmares.
- Walking Wounded
- The injury list grew last night as Dante Fabbro left the game in the first period and Luke Kuhnin left in the third. Updates on both are scheduled today.
- Since returning from his upper body injury on March 18, Juuse Saros is 7-2-0 with a .964 save percentage.
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