The Nashville Predators need an offensive infusion and multiple reports indicate that Winnipeg Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois is on the trade block.
But is trading for the 24-year-old, who’s scored 20 or more goals in four of his first six NHL seasons, really feasible for the Predators? And is he worth the substantial price they’d have to pay to not only acquire him but extend his contract?
“Look, he’s asking for [an eight-year contract worth $9 million per year],” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman told 102.5 The Game. “Do you think that that’s something that Nashville would want to do? That’s the first question: how does Nashville feel about a contract in that area because that’s — maybe there’s a little bit of wiggle room down, but it’s generally in that area. Could Nashville even do that?”
Could the Predators do it? Sure, with roughly $15 million in cap space, they could.
However, meeting Dubois’ contract demands would take up nearly 70 percent of the team’s available funds and it would be a substantial financial risk to make a player who’s never scored 30 goals or totaled more than 63 points in a season the highest-paid forward on the team.
In adding Dubois, Nashville would have six players making $6.75 million per year or more, and the team would have half of its salary cap invested in just those six players with 17 other spots on the active roster to fill.
Realistically, the Predators would have to make a corresponding move to gain some of that cap space back. Perhaps Jake Livingstone is re-signed to a team-friendly deal in the neighborhood of $750,000 and another defenseman like Ryan McDonagh ($6.75 million) or Tyson Barrie ($4.5 million) is moved to free up cap space. Theoretically, that could work.
Nashville will also have to part with a top prospect and premium draft pick as well to make it worth Winnipeg’s while. After all, the Jets aren’t just going to serve up a top-six center on a silver platter to a division rival.
And because they’re Central Division foes, landing Dubois will cost Nashville more than most teams. The Predators would likely have to part with either the No. 15 or 24 overall pick in next week’s draft plus at least two of Cody Glass, Tommy Novak, Juuso Parssinen, Joakim Kemell, Phil Tomasino, Luke Evangelista or Zachary L’Heureux.
“Winnipeg wants to…not contend now, but be in the race now,” Friedman continued. “They don’t want to do a total rebuild. My question is, do (the Predators) have players they can trade to Winnipeg that isn’t a sideways move for (them), that can help the Jets now and doesn’t hurt the Predators to the point where you get Dubois and basically you fill one hole but create others?”
If general manager-in-waiting Barry Trotz is to be taken at his word about upgrading the Predators’ offense, I’d argue that he would prefer to hold onto his assets instead of possibly mortgaging part of the future for a temporary fix in the interim.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_
(Photo of Ryan Johansen, left, and Pierre-Luc Dubois by John Russell/Nashville Predators)