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Are The Predators Shopping Multiple Defensemen?

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Photo of Dante Fabbro by John Russell/Nashville Predators

The rift that has developed between the Nashville Predators and defenseman Tyson Barrie has been well-documented.

Both parties have taken subtle shots at one another through the media over the last few weeks, and a trade seems imminent with general manager Barry Trotz confirming to 102.5 The Game on Tuesday that he’s been actively shopping the 32-year-old blue-liner ever since granting him permission to seek a trade more than two weeks ago.

“We’ve been calling around, and obviously, it’s out there,” Trotz said. “…We’re in a league that’s obviously salary-cap driven. It is sometimes hard to move (players). There’s only three or four teams that have the ability to take on (Barrie’s) contract, and I’m more than willing to take something back and work out a deal that works for both sides.”

While Barrie certainly appears to be on his way out the door, is it possible that the Predators are also shopping more members of their blue line?

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculated during a radio appearance on 102.5 The Game on Thursday that one of Dante Fabbro, who’s been healthy scratched six times this year, or Alex Carrier, who’s been a healthy scratch four times, could also potentially be dealt in addition to Barrie.

“Dante Fabbro is a guy who has not been in the lineup all the time,” Friedman said. “I don’t know that he’s asked for a trade, but I know what young people are like, and in those kinds of situations, it’s probably a lot of ‘If I’m not going to play, please send me somewhere that I can.’ So, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case with him.

“Carrier, for me, is an interesting one. I really liked him. The fact that he’s not permanently in the lineup says to me they’re not sure (about their lineup right now). But one, if not two of these guys, I think, are eventually going to end up going. Not (Luke) Schenn, I don’t believe.”

A source close to the situation indicated to Nashville Hockey Now that of the two, the Predators prefer to keep Carrier over Fabbro because they feel he’s better suited to succeed in the system that head coach Andrew Brunette wants to run.

Carrier leads Predators defensemen in blocked shots (58), shots blocked per 60 (7.35) and percentage of shifts started in the defensive zone (18.4%), per Money Puck.

He’s also tied for the second-fewest giveaways (8), the third-fewest defensive-zone giveaways (6), and the third-most hits (25) on the team.

However, head-to-head, the numbers suggest that Fabbro has been the better player this year — at least defensively.

When he’s on the ice compared to Carrier, the Predators surrender fewer goals against (19 to 29), fewer scoring chances against (193 to 250), fewer high-danger chances against (76 to 106) and fewer high-danger goals (7 to 15) with a better on-ice save percentage (90.9 to 89.1).

Fabbro has also shown marked improvement this season from years past, leading Predators defensemen in goals above expected (1), and ranking second in shooting percentage (8%) and on-ice expected goal differential (3.3), and third in shots blocked per 60 (5.68).

The knock on Fabbro, though, is that he’s been more of a liability than Carrier.

The former first-round pick leads Predators defensemen in giveaways (24) and defensive-zone giveaways (20), and he has the third-lowest percentage of shifts starting in the defensive zone (9.9%) — suggesting Fabbro’s game doesn’t exactly jibe with the way Brunette wants his defense to play.

Follow Michael Gallagher on X/Twitter @MGsports_