February 8, 2019 | 10:30am ET
PREDATORS LOOKING TO MAKE A SPLASH?
David Poile, GM
The Nashville Predators strengthened their lineup, literally, this week, acquiring Brian Boyle and Cody McLeod. With their bottom-six deepened by primarily the addition of Boyle, Predators GM David Poile seems to be shifting his focus to adding a top-six forward by the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
Poile is big fish hunting; he’s believed to be in the market for a top-line addition and has shown interest in Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin and both Mark Stone and Matt Duchene of the Ottawa Senators.
As the Senators continue their attempts at getting both Stone and Duchene signed, it’s starting to sound more and more likely that they’ll be moved this month.
While both players appear to be on Nashville’s radar, among others, Panarin may be the forward Poile zeroes in on.
“I’m happy with our numbers, and I’m happy with our depth at each position,” Poile told the Predators’ website. “Having said that, we’ll continue to make phone calls, listen, pay attention and see if we can improve our team. But right now, I’m pretty happy with where we are, and if this is what we end up with, I’m good with entering in the playoffs with this roster.
“If we can improve our club, we’re going to do that. I’m comfortable with what we have in our depth and filling the holes I thought we had, but if we can improve our team in the next three weeks, we will certainly do that.”
It’s unclear if the level of trade discussions between the Predators and Blue Jackets have hit a critical point, but the two sides are expected to have ongoing dialogue from now through the deadline. However, it’s believed the ask from the Blue Jackets is somewhere in the vicinity of Nashville’s 2019 first-round draft pick, top prospect Eeli Tolvanen and another top-tier asset.
Poile is willing to move his first-round pick, and Tolvanen’s name has been circling around trade chatter this past week, but it’s uncertain if the Preds would specifically package them together, along with another piece, for a potential rental player.
“I know in my conversations that I’ve had around the League with various teams in the last couple of weeks, that seems to be a common thing, a first pick and a prospect,” Poile told NHL.com. “If we get into a bigger deal, I guess we might have to do that and we’re willing to do that.”
Poile will continue to do his due diligence around the NHL, and as trade talks pick up league-wide, he’ll undoubtedly be searching for the right deal.