The Nashville Predators added Brian Boyle and Cody McLeod via trade, and David Poile may just be getting started.
Bob McKenzie had a Wednesday evening TV hit on NBCSN, and the Insider was asked what he read into the Predators’ two moves.
“First off, from a league perspective people sat up and took notice when the Predators got Brian Boyle from the New Jersey Devils for a second-round pick,” began McKenzie. “And the reason they sat up and took notice is because of the price. Brian Boyle is a depth player, depth forward - but a high quality depth forward nonetheless - in a second-round pick. So there’s a lot of people, a lot of teams, that have rental players with players that are playing higher up in the lineup than Brian Boyle. So they’re getting excited because, ‘Okay, if Nashville is willing to give up a second-round pick for Brian Boyle, we’ve got a rental market set. We’re going to get first-round picks for all our guys.’
“But the reason Nashville made this trade is because they obviously do need depth, and they need some grit and some size. Austin Watson is not in their lineup indefinitely. He’s suspended without pay right now as part of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Modification Program for some alcohol-related issues. Zac Rinaldo is out for the next couple of months with an injury. So getting a guy like Brian Boyle, who can play on the power play, kill penalties, take faceoffs - he’s a valuable guy.
“But also bringing back Cody McLeod from the New York Rangers, a real prototypical tough guy that can fight and hit and create some energy on your fourth line. That sort of fits in with what the Predators need at this time because of injuries and Austin Watson’s absence.
“But I think that you heard David Poile, the general manager, say, ‘You know what, if we have to go to the playoffs with our lineup exactly the way it is now, perfectly happy. That said, if we can improve our team we will.’
“Those are the two things every general manager says at this time of year and I think the Nashville Predators, because they are a Cup-contending team who are kind of on the clock, their biological clock is not ticking too loud, but the window is right open for them right now.
“I could see David Poile trying to do some big game hunting. And whether that’s Artemi Panarin in Columbus, or if Matt Duchene or Mark Stone become available in Ottawa, at least give it a go to see what the cost would be.
“My suspicion is Nashville would have to be willing to part with a first-round pick and perhaps a real high-end prospect like Eeli Tolvanen or others if they’re going to get into the big game hunting. But I think that’s something Poile’s going to at least look at because he’d like to win that Stanley Cup sooner rather than later.”