DAB Trade Series: Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators representing the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final in 2017.
The Nashville Predators representing the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final in 2017. (Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett of Getty Images)

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Writer’s Twitter: @ChrisMottHockey

Trading with Nashville

The next team to be covered in our Trade Series is the Nashville Predators, who seem to have some rumors swirling recently. Now, how accurate these rumors are is up for debate, but I have the mindset of where there is smoke there is fire. Devils fans have already seen a move recently between the Devils and Predators when the Devils sent forward Brian Boyle in exchange for Nashville’s 2019 second-round pick (which will be pick #55 overall).

I will say off the bat regarding P.K. Subban rumors that I do not see the Devils wanting to make an offer for him. Right now, Subban is on the books for $9 million for 3 more years, and even if Nashville retains a portion of the salary, I do not see it being a good fit. Part of the reason for this is that P.K. is a big personality. and as much as I like him as a player and person. as well as all the charity work he does for different communities, for every person who likes him there are those who do not which is what tends to happen with bigger personalities in general and I’m not sure that would be a good fit with the New York/New Jersey media.

Yes, Subban played in Montreal, a city crazy big for its hockey, but I’m talking about the biggest media circus in the world. With that said, let’s take a look at some potential names Devils general manager Ray Shero may inquire about with Predators general manager David Poile.

Ryan Ellis

Defenseman Ryan Ellis making a play with the puck.
Defenseman Ryan Ellis making a play with the puck. (Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Another defenseman whose name has been popping up recently as possibly being the odd man out in order to improve Nashville is Ryan Ellis. Ellis is a top-four defenseman, and if the rumors are true, Shero should absolutely call and inquire about him as one of the Devils biggest needs is a solid defenseman. Ellis does not have a small contract, but it is less than what Subban is making per year, coming in at $6.25 million per year and runs until the end of the 2026-27 season.

This seems like a really good option for the Devils, especially since Ellis, is locked up long term, and he is not even 30 years old yet. And he does not have a no-movement clause in his deal. If Ellis is on the market, I absolutely think that Shero should pursue him and see what it would take to get him. The Devils are still building towards the future, but I would say that they are closer to the end of that process. And if they can add Ellis via trade for the right price, there may not be a need to go after a defenseman in free agency.

Eeli Tolvanen

Eeli Tolvanen is a prospect for the Nashville Predators, who has played a handful of games in the NHL with the Preds but has mostly played in the AHL. Nashville is a team looking to contend for the cup and is looking to bolster their lineup, moving Ryan Ellis helps with their cap situation and they can afford to because they do have some good depth on the back end. But outside of him, Nashville is not looking to strip away major assets from their team, the majority of which are from the same team that lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins a couple years ago.

Tolvanen is a winger who was drafted with the 30th-overall pick by Nashville in 2017 and only played in four NHL games season, posting a goal and an assist in that span, before playing the remainder of the season with Nashville’s AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. With Milwaukee, Tolvanen totaled 15 goals and 20 assists with a +/- of minus-8 in 54 games played. With the Devils, the key is to not only acquire assets to help now but also in the future, and with Nashville keeping most of their forward group intact, the Devils could at least inquire about Tolvanen. Though, there is a decent chance he could crack Nashville’s lineup next season if he has improved enough.

Tanner Jeannot

Tanner Jeannot playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL. (Photo credit: nhl.com)

Sticking with the theme of trading for prospects from a current contending playoff team such as the Predators, the Devils could inquire about Tanner Jeannot. Jeannot was originally signed as an undrafted free agent. He posted 7 goals and 4 assists with a +/- of 0 with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL. However, he has finished with 40 goals and 40 assists with a +/- of 49 in 72 games in 2017-2018 and 19 goals and 33 assists with a +/- of 13 in 71 games in 2016-2017 with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL.

The talent is clearly there in juniors but whether it will translate to the NHL remains to be seen. It’s possible, but Devils fans will also remember Reid Boucher who broke Steven Stamkos’s single-season goal record with the Sarnia Sting, and he did not pan out the way the Devils had hoped. Jeannot plays on the wing and could help the Devils forward depth in the system.

The big piece from Nashville that I think everyone could get on board with is Ryan Ellis and surely there will also be other teams lining up to trade for his services. If the rumors are true and he is available, Ray Shero should offer what he can without obviously overpaying. That being said, though, top defensemen are hard to come by in this league and their price tag will always be high. Shero will have to decide if that price is one that the Devils should pay in their best interest.

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