There has been a lot of speculating here in the Predators Blogosphere lately. Time to keep it going.
While everyone speculates on what could happen in Ottawa with Jason Spezza or in Vancouver with Ryan Kesler, another Canadian city is preparing for a big offseason. And they could be more active than any team in history. Of course, I am referring to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Reports out of Toronto are indicating that the Maple Leafs could be active in the trade market this offseason. And by “active,” I mean VERY active. Everything short of holding a public auction in Maple Leaf Square.
The reports state that Toronto is actively shopping all the players on their roster except for four “untouchable” players: Phil Kessel, Jonathan Bernier, Tyler Bozak, and Morgan Rielly. That means every other player is available to the highest bidder, including players like James van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri.
Supposedly, there was a deal in place for Kadri to come to Nashville last year, but it fell through at the last moment. A trade for a player like Kadri now would be a great move for Nashville. He can play at any Forward position, and could be a top line Winger for Nashville. They have a major traffic jam at Center, and another trade (Jason Spezza?) could only further that. A flexible player like Kadri could help that.
Kadri would come with a somewhat expensive asking price. The supposed deal last year included Ryan Ellis and Colin Wilson. Both of them are still moveable at the moment. The only other factor is the Jason Spezza saga. It has been confirmed that he requested a trade out of Ottawa. Both Wilson and Ellis are both pieces that could easily be featured in a Spezza deal. Can the Predators pull off a deal for both Spezza and Kadri?
James van Riemsdyk would come at a higher asking price. He is more skilled than Kadri and a more high-value player. It doesn’t hurt that he has played under Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette in the 2014 Olympics, although he was just an assistant. It is shocking that the Leafs are willing to deal him in the first place, but he may come at a higher cost. Acquiring van Riemsdyk may require sending over high-value prospects, namely Filip Forsberg, or top defensmen, like Roman Josi. That seems like too much loss for too little gain. Plus, he is a Center. The Predators have so many other options at that position. It would be better to pursue a Winger from Toronto.
Overall, a trade for Nazem Kadri is probably the only thing that Nashville could do with Toronto. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, while the Predators mull over a potential deal with Ottawa, as well as Free Agent options. The potential is there for the Predators to grab a top-level forward. Anything less than that is probably a failure.