Predators looking for scoring and the Rangers Kreider could be the answer
Nashville is considered a Stanley Cup contender. They currently sit second in the Western Conference and 7th overall in the NHL. When you look up the definition of a “Win Now” team you will see a picture of the Predators.
Matt Larkin of The Hockey News noted that the acquisition of Brian Boyle solidifies Nashville’s bottom six but they are lacking in top 6 talent on the 2nd line. Paul Skrbina who covers the Predators for The Tennessean believes that the cost for Artemi Panarin may be too high but thinks Chris Kreider or Jakob Silfverberg would be a fit.
Prized Prospect Eeli Tolvanen
Last year, the Rangers were shopping Rick Nash and one team that was said to be hot after him were the Nashville Predators. The speculation was that the Rangers wanted Eeli Tolvanen in the deal and David Poile refused to part with him in any trade. Nash eventually landed in Boston for a handsome return and Nashville still doesn’t have a Championship.
Now there’s talk that the Predators have changed their tune on Tolvanen as he is struggling in the AHL right now. Of course, no one should be giving up on prized prospects. Especially those that set records in the KHL for scoring for players under 20 and then light up the Olympics.
However, even Pierre Lebrun wrote in The Athletic that Nashville isn’t good enough. If the Predators want to make a run at the Cup they should move whatever they can to land Columbus’ rental, Artemi Panarin.
Still, is it wise to move a player like Tolvanen for a rental? They didn’t for Rick Nash so why would they for Panarin.
Kreider Makes Sense
Chris Kreider is a big strong skater and your prototypical playoff performer. His size and speed are wanted in those tight games where even a big screen could mean the difference between a win or a loss.
When it comes to stats, Kreider has 24 goals and 42 points in 55 games this season. Panarin of course is a better offensive player with 21 goals and 63 points but lacks the one thing Kreider has; term on his contract.
If Poile wanted to sleep better in a trade that moves a highly touted prospect, and that is all Tolvanen is, then he could do a lot worse than Kreider. Of course the consensus is that the Rangers are not interested in trading Kreider but that doesn’t mean they won’t listen.
Bob McKenzie stated on a February 6th NBC broadcast that if the Rangers were to get “a foundational young building block player that is very close to playing in the NHL” they may do it. Eeli Tolvanen is just that kind of return that could coax GM, Jeff Gorton into parting ways with hands down one of the Rangers top 3 forwards.