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Grading Predators Trade Proposals Submitted By Our Readers



Photo of Dante Fabbro by John Russell/Nashville Predators

With three weeks until the March 8 NHL trade deadline, several Nashville Predators players could be on the move between now and then.

General manager Barry Trotz has maintained that the Predators’ place in the standings will dictate whether he buys or sells, and after Thursday’s 9-2 loss to the Dallas Stars, it feels like the team should be leaning towards shipping some players off.

With that in mind, Nashville Hockey Now readers were asked to submit their best trade deadline proposals for us to analyze.

Evaluation and grading takes into account whether or not the deal makes sense for the Predators and how realistic the deal is based on NHL standings as of Feb. 15.

Proposal No. 1

To Anaheim: 2024 first-round pick, 2024 third-round pick, Dante Fabbro

To Nashville: Trevor Zegras

MG: I like the framework of this deal; however, I’m not a fan of giving up a 2024 first-round pick given it could be in the top 10 based on the way the Predators have played over the last month and the level of talent in the top 10. If you make it the higher of Nashville’s two 2025 first-rounders, then I’m in. Zegras is the kind of high-end center the Predators desperately need, so the deal makes sense for them, but if I’m Anaheim, I’m probably asking for a player better than Fabbro. GRADE: B-

CB: I’m a Fabbro fan and maybe not as high on Zegras as others. He’s young with offensive upside, so I’d definitely be interested, especially if the Predators aren’t sold on Fabbro. Nashville has a ton of picks, so if it could swing this for a game-changing forward, I’m good with that. GRADE: B+

Proposal No. 2

To Anaheim: 2024 second-rounder, Marc Del Gaizo, Juuso Parssinen

To Nashville: Trevor Zegras

MG: Honestly, if Anaheim says yes to this deal, it should be a no-brainer. Zegras is a 22-year-old center with two 20-goal, 60-point seasons already under his belt under contract through 2025-26 for $5.75M. Trotz has said before he can find third- and fourth-liners all day and his main goal is to find that top-of-the-lineup center, and this deal gives him just that. Losing Del Gaizo is a bit of a blow, but Spencer Stastney is still in Milwaukee and Molendyk isn’t too far behind in the pipeline. Nashville has three second-rounders, so parting with one won’t affect much and Anaheim might offer Parssinen the kind of stability he hasn’t had in the Predators lineup. GRADE: A

CB: This is one of the tougher ones. Zegras brings youth and offensive upside, but Del Gaizo and Parssinen are two players I really like and have confidence in. I may honestly do it, but I’d have to think long and hard about how this fits into the bigger picture. It goes back to my argument of having depth pieces being in excess. Do you see Parssinen being in the top six or Del Gaizo brining offensive upside? If the answer is no, then this deal makes perfect sense. There’s no reason to stockpile assets if you don’t view them as filling a need. GRADE: B-

Proposal No. 3

To NY Rangers: Philip Tomasino

To Nashville: Kaapo Kakko

MG: I feel like at this point this would be a lateral move. As a former No. 2 overall pick, Kakko had even higher expectations that Tomasino, and he hasn’t lived up to them yet. He’s played 271 NHL games and has just 49 goals and 106 points to show for it. His best season came last year when he put up 18 goals and 40 points over 82 games. In 32 games this season, he actually has fewer goals (5) and points (13) than Tomasino did (7 goals, 20 points in 41 games) before he was sent to Milwaukee. GRADE: C

CB: I like Kaako. He’s big and strong with offensive upside. Perhaps they both can use a change of scenery. I’d make this deal but doubt the Rangers would consider it. They’re both RFAs at the end of the season, so that always causes some consternation for front offices. GRADE: A+

Proposal No. 4

To Anaheim: 2024 third-rounder (NJ), Alexander Holtz

To New Jersey: Juuse Saros, Tyson Barrie

To Nashville: 2024 first-rounder (NJ), Trevor Zegras, Simon Nemec

MG: When a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is. This deal is a home run for the Predators — they’d get a young, top-line center, a blue-chip defensive prospect to pair with Tanner Molendyk and an extra first-round pick in June. But Anaheim isn’t getting enough back for parting with Zegras and I believe Nemec is untouchable as far as Devils’ prospects go. GRADE: A+

CB: I would take this trade in a heartbeat. Nemec is the real deal, the first-rounder would be middle-of-the-road for this year that Nashville can parlay with other assets to even move up, and Zegras brings offensive talent and youth. It’s not enough to get Anaheim to move Zegras though, in my opinion. GRADE: A+

Proposal No. 5

To New Jersey: Kevin Lankinen

To Nashville: 2024 fourth-rounder, Alexander Holtz, Vitek Vanececk

MG: Another home-run deal for Nashville, but yet another unrealistic one. Lankinen’s trade value is nowhere near high enough to command a prospect of Holtz’s caliber in return, but if New Jersey would make this deal, I’d jump all over it if I were Trotz. I think a more realistic proposal would be Lankinen plus one of Nashville’s 2024 second-rounders for Holtz and Vanececk. GRADE: A

CB: I’d prefer this deal if it was Dawson Mercer over Holtz, and I wouldn’t want Vanecek for another season after this. But if there’s a world where Lankinen can get this return, I’d be all over it and handle the Vanecek issue another day. GRADE: A+

Proposal No. 6

To New Jersey: Juuse Saros

To Nashville: 2024 first-rounder, 2025 second-rounder, Seamus Casey, Arseni Gritsyuk, Vitek Vanececk

MG: I think we’re on the right track here as far as what a realistic trade would look like between Nashville and New Jersey, but the Predators want young, offensive players and as good as Casey has been this season, he doesn’t check that box as a defenseman. Gritsyk is a solid scorer, but still not exactly the high-end offensive player Trotz is looking for. I’d swap Casey with Holtz and replace Gritsyuk with Mercer and the trade would make more sense for the Predators. GRADE: B-

CB: I still prefer not to retain Vanacek for another season, but that’s a minor concern considering the other assets available. Replace him with Mercer, and I’d be on board immediately. Gritsyuk is also impressive; his addition would complement the other Russians in Nashville well once his contract expires in 2025. He’s maintaining nearly a point-per-game scoring pace in the KHL this season. I’m on board with this. Regarding Casey, he performed well at the IIHF World Junior Championship for Team USA and is having an outstanding season at Michigan, though he also remains unsigned. But I believe in his talent and see potential for Nashville signing him, so that doesn’t worry me as much as a one-for-one deal would. GRADE: A-

Proposal No. 7

To Toronto: 2024 second-round pick, Juuse Saros, Tyson Barrie

To Nashville: Mitch Marner

MG: While I appreciate taking a swing on an elite offensive player, there’s no way Barry Trotz is OK adding a player who’s making $10.9 million per year and would likely command more on an extension next summer. GRADE: C

CB: This is intriguing. I appreciate the emphasis on bolstering Nashville’s offense. Toronto might indeed be in the market for a goalie, and it’s certainly seeking defensemen with offensive capabilities. However, I’m hesitant about committing nearly $11M+ to one player. GRADE: B

Proposal No. 8

To Los Angeles: Yakov Trenin

To Nashville: Jack Hughes (not that Jack Hughes)

MG: This deal is intriguing. I don’t think Trenin is a fit for the way Brunette likes to coach, and with just eight goals an 11 points in 50 games, he’s a depth piece the Predators can afford to part with. Hughes isn’t a bad return here. He’s a 20-year-old center who could be a solid future bottom-six player like a Colton Sissons or Calle Jarnkrok. GRADE: A

CB: I actually really like this move. Hughes is in his third year of college hockey after transferring to Boston University from Northeastern. L.A. has not yet signed Hughes, so Nashville would only be trading for his rights through next season. I would need a pick or another prospect to make this work for that reason. If Nashville talks to Hughes and can guarantee a signing, then I’d go for it. I love Trenin, but this comes down to the fact that Nashville has too many depth pieces. Some of them have to be let go. GRADE: A-

Proposal No. 9

To Colorado: Kevin Lankinen, Tommy Novak, Yakov Trenin

To Nashville: 2024 first-rounder, Oskar Olausson, Sean Behrens

MG: While I like the idea of adding an extra first-rounder, and getting something for Lankinen instead of losing him for nothing during the offseason, Olausson isn’t the kind of offensive player that moves the needle much. He had 11 goals an 20 points in 63 AHL games last year, and he’s got just the same number of goals and points through 39 games this year. The Predators don’t need to keep adding more bottom-six talent; they’ve already got that in spades. Behrens is a solid prospect and I’m fine with him. GRADE: C

CB: I’ll be completely honest, I had to look up who Oskar Olausson was. But Nashville needs offense, not defense. I like the assets here and Olausson from what I was able to find, but the Predators have been a defensive factory for years. There’s no need for them to currently load up even more. If Colorado wants Lankinen and Trenin, then I’d be willing to talk, but Novak is too much in this package for my liking. I still think he has a big role to play in Nashville. GRADE: B

Proposal No. 10

To New Jersey: 2024 fourth-rounder, Juuse Saros

To Nashville: 2024 first-rounder, 2024 second-rounder, Tyler Toffoli, Simon Nemec

MG: There’s no way New Jersey agrees to this, but if it did, then you take it no questions asked. Though he’s 31, Toffoli is just one year removed from a 34-goal, 73-point season, and he’s already got 23 goals this year. Nemec is a premier defensive prospect who’s made the loss of Dougie Hamilton seem like not such a huge blow. GRADE: A

CB: If you can get the Devils to agree with this, I’d make the trade immediately. Without question. GRADE: A+

Proposal No. 11

To New Jersey: Simon Nemec

To Nashville: Juuse Saros

MG: As I’ve said previously, Nemec is an all-world prospect and landing him would be a huge get. But trading an elite, Vezina-caliber goaltender one-for-one for a 20-year-old defenseman with 32 games of NHL experience seems a little foolish. If I’m Trotz, I’m at least asking for a second-rounder to complete the deal or a lower-end prospect like Gritsyuk. GRADE: B+

CB: I’m really high on Nemec and maybe another asset here would lead me to pull the trigger. If Trotz and Saros can’t find common ground on a contract extension, which I’ve discussed before, then I’d seriously consider it. Nemec has all the makings of a franchise defenseman, and he just turned 20 yesterday. GRADE: B+

Proposal No. 12

To NY Rangers: Tommy Novak, Yakov Trenin, Dante Fabbro

To Nashville: 2024 first-rounder, 2024 fifth-rounder, Matthew Robertson

MG: Everything about this proposal is the opposite of what Nashville wants. Trotz has made it known he wants offensive players and Robertson is a defenseman. Trotz favors roster players and prospects over draft picks (he has enough of those) and this deal gives him two more. Additionally, parting with Novak plus Fabbro for this return would be drastically underwhelming. GRADE: F

CB: I’m not big on multiple players exiting an NHL roster at once with little-to-no NHL players coming back. I’d rather piece by piece sell these three if that’s the route you’re wanting to take. For that reason, I grade this trade so low. But I do understand the sentiment behind the proposal. If you’re wanting to blow it up, this is a way to do it. In my opinion though, Nashville has accumulated enough picks and needs some young NHLers and/or stud prospects to incentivize any big sell offs. GRADE: C+

Proposal No. 13

To Pittsburgh: Juuse Saros

To Nashville: 2025 first-rounder, Jake Guentzel, Samuel Poulin

MG: I was anti-Guentzel for the Predators long before he was put on long-term injured reserve on Thursday. He’ll be 30 when the 2024 season starts and he doesn’t help the Predators get younger and would only take away a roster spot from a younger, hunrgier prospect. Any deal involving Saros would have to involve one or more offensive players 24 or younger. I do like Poulin as a sweetener. He was someone I thought Nashville could consider in the first round of the 2023 draft. GRADE: D

CB: Pittsburgh isn’t searching for a goalie, but assuming it is, I’m not entirely sold on Guentzel. He certainly brings offensive prowess, averaging roughly a point per game even without Sidney Crosby. However, as a pending UFA this summer, any deal would require more in return, like a sign-and-trade, or a prearranged contract with Nashville. At 29, he could still theoretically be a fit, but Nashville and Trotz likely prefer a younger return for Saros. I would at least. I wrote the above prior to his LTIR designation, so that only furthers my resolve to not go after the Penguin. GRADE: B-

Proposal No. 14

To Pittsburgh: 2024 first-rounder, 2024 third-rounder, Philip Tomasino

To Nashville: Jake Guentzel

MG: Again, Guentzel is about to be 30 and the Predators don’t need to add any more players over the age of 24 or 25. Guentzel adds little value to the Predators lineup, and first- and third-rounders plus Tomasino is way too steep of a price to pay for him. GRADE: F

CB: This is too much for a rental with Guentzel being a UFA this summer. See my analysis above. And I don’t find him to be what Nashville is needing. He’s a good player in his own right, but as I have written before, Nashville needs the right players for what system they’re seeking to implement. In my opinion, Guentzel isn’t the guy. GRADE: C-

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