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Nashville Predators

Jason Zucker The Perfect Low-Cost, Low-Risk Addition For Predators



Jason Zucker
Photo of Jason Zucker by John Russell/Nashville Predators

Just two days ago, Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz had 12 picks in the 2024 NHL Draft.

So, he was OK trading a couple of his mid-round selections away to shore up the team’s roster depth with the Predators likely to make the postseason (they currently hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference and hold an eight-point lead over the Calgary Flames, Seattle Kraken and St. Louis Blues in the playoff race with 18 regular-season games left).

After dealing a fifth-rounder to Chicago for forward Anthony Beauvillier on Thursday, Trotz pushed through another deal on Friday, sending a 2024 sixth-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes for forward Jason Zucker.

While some may consider replacing Yakov Trenin, who was traded to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, with Zucker as a lateral move, there’s actually quite a bit of logic to it.

Though he’s notched just nine goals and 25 points in 51 games this season, Zucker logged a 27-goal season just last year with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He also has five 20-goal seasons under his belt since becoming a full-timer NHLer in 2014, and he adds a much-needed scoring punch that’s been missing from Nashville’s bottom six.

Sure, Trenin has scored one more goal than Zucker this season, but his career average of 0.16 goals per game is far below Zucker’s 0.28, as is his points per game average (0.28 to 0.53).

Not to mention Zucker has a significant edge in playoff experiences, logging eight goals and 15 points across 46 postseason games. Conversely, Trenin played in just 10 playoff games.

The 32-year-old Zucker signed a one-year, $5.3 million deal with the Coyotes last offseason. The Predators are on the hook for $1.15M of that through the rest of the season as Arizona didn’t retain any of his salary.

Follow Michael Gallagher on X/Twitter @MGsports_

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