Filip Forsberg negotiations may impact NHL trade market
Everyone is talking about potential rental players such as Marc-Andre Fleury, Ben Chiarot, Mark Giordano and Joe Pavelski. But few people are talking about the Nashville Predators being an important player at the trade deadline.
But plenty of general managers are keeping an eye on the Filip Forsberg negotiations in Nashville because his status could impact what happens in the NHL trade market in two months.
Forsberg has given every indication he wants to stay in Nashville. He likes playing there. He's also popular with his teammates. He's essentially a consistent 25-plus goal scorer. At 27, Forsberg is in the prime of his career. With 18 goals in 26 games, he might be having a career season.
He deserves a long-term contract with a big number attached. The problem is the Predators have three players on the team with long-term deals, and only one of those has paid off for the Predators.
Until Matt Duchene rediscovered his scoring touch this season, the Predators were disappointed in his production. Ryan Johansen has been equally disappointing since signing his length contract.
Only Roman Josi's contract has been a good deal for the team and player.
Forsberg probably feels like he deserves at least the $8 million per season that Johansen and Duchene are earning. He might believe he deserves more.
But do the Predators believe they can have four players making $8 million per season and more?
If they can't get a deal done before the deadline, GM David Poile has a decision to make. Does he trade Forsberg? He might get a package of a first-round pick, prospect and another asset. The argument for trading Forsberg is that Poile went through this with defenseman Ryan Suter. The players ended up signing in Minnesota and the Predators received nothing in return. It hurt the team significantly. Poile doesn't want that to happen again.
The argument not trade him is the team is performing surprisingly well this season, embracing an edgy defensive style that could be effective in the postseason. Giving up Forsberg, their best forward, would severely undermine their postseason chances.
The third possibility, and the best scenario for the Predators, is they figure out how to keep Forsberg. If they accomplish that, the Preds have $11 million in cap space. That's more cap space than any other contender has. They could try to make a lengthy run by acquiring a rental player or two.
The Predators are definitely a team to watch as the trade deadline approaches. Here are the rest of my Thursday notes:
2. Believe right-shot defenseman John Klingberg would be a great fit for the Tampa Bay Lightning.The problem is the Lightning have no cap space. They’d have to move players off their roster. But injuries happen in this league. Let’s see where the Lightning's cap situation is at the trade deadline.
3. This quote sums up what goalie Tuukka Rask means to the Bruins. “The guys believe Tuukka Rask is an elite goaltender,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “They truly believe that. They're excited to have him back. He wants to go out and win with these teammates. There's a certain electricity, a certain buzz.”
4. The Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues are the two teams with power play and penalty killing numbers both ranked in the NHL’s top five. The Ducks rank fifth (26.7%) in the power play and third (85.3%) in penalty killing. The Blues are second (30.1%) on the power play and fifth (88.8%) in penalty killing.
5. How productive is Colorado’s offense? The Avalanche rank 28th (.898) in save percentage and 22nd in goals-against average (3.30) and yet the Avs lead the Western Conference in winning percentage (.712) and goal-differential (+34).
6. Before you dismiss the idea that the feisty Predators could make a long playoff run, remind yourself that the Montreal Canadiens advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in 2021 and the Dallas Stars were there in 2020. The Habs and Stars were both fourth-place teams in their division with winning percentages under .600. Today, the Preds have the NHL’s sixth-best points total with a .676 winning percentage.
7. As we approach the halfway point of the season, my five Jack Adams Coach of the Year nominees are Mike Sullivan, John Hynes, Jon Cooper, Dallas Eakins, Rod Brind’Amour,
8. The KHL is shutting down Saturday to Jan. 22 because of COVID outbreak. The league had 124 players on its COVID list and when you count staff the total is above 170. Fourteen Americans are playing in the KHL, including Brian O’Neill, Kenny Agostino and Andy Miele who will play for the U.S. Olympic team next month. Chris Chelios’ son Jake is also plays for the China team in the KHL.
9. Postponements actually worked to the Minnesota Wild’s advantage. Kirill Kaprizov will be back in the lineup Friday when the Wild play Anaheim. He only ended up missing one game with his upper body injury because the Wild had two games in Canada postponed.
10. The Hurricanes have recalled goalie Jack LaFontaine to their active roster. Last weekend, he was playing college hockey for Minnesota. That’s what happens when you are overrun in goal with injuries and COVID positive tests.
11. NHL referee Conor O’Donnell had a quality OHL playing career, winning the Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires in 2009. His coach on that team was Bob Boughner, now coaching the San Jose Sharks
12. Philadelphia defenseman Keith Yandle is -21 after 34 games. But there is no guarantee he will end up having the worst-plus of his career. He was -32 in 63 games for the Arizona Coyotes in 2014-15.
13. A number of quality players will be available this season in the trade market, but if you look at capfriendly.com, you realize most contenders have no cap space. The Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers are projected to have cap space of zero to $300,000. Those teams are going to have to move players off the roster to make anything happen.
14. Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has about $11 million in cap space and has previously shown a willingness to take salary as a third party.
15. New Red Wings Vice President of Hockey Operations Nick Lidstrom is already well-versed on Detroit’s top prospect Simon Edvinsson. He watched him last season and this season in Sweden’s professional league. “This season I’ve seen (improved) play, taking strides, big strides to become more of a comfortable player playing against men,” Lidstrom said. “His ice time has increased, he can skate the puck up the ice all by himself. He plays a lot harder in his own zone. I’ve seen improvements from him in one year. A lot of things happen when you’re 17,18 years old.”
16. Eric Staal, 37, will play a couple of games for Iowa in the American Hockey League to prepare himself for the possibility of playing for Canada at the Olympics.He hasn’t played in the AHL in 16 ½ years.
17. Colorado’s Nazem Kadri has 48 points in 30 games. He’s on pace for 126 points. This is a player who never had more than 61 points. Last season, he posted 32 points in 56 games. These are strange times.
18. Chicago’s Patrick Kane is as offensively involved as ever: he has 10 assists in his past nine games. But his goal scoring is off. Significantly off. He only has seven goals on the season. He has gone 13 games without a goal and he only has one goal in his past 20 games. There are strange times.
19. Only because the Vegas Golden Knights hit it out of the park in their expansion season, I actually am disappointed by the Seattle Kraken sitting in the standings with a .343 winning percentage. But I still like saying the “Seattle Kraken.”
20. Fifty-one years ago today, the Red Wings traded future Hall of Famer Frank Mahovlich to the Montreal Canadiens for Mickey Redmond, Bill Collins and Guy Charron. Redmond ended up being a two-time 50-plus goal scorer for Detroit. Maybe as important, Redmond became the Red Wings’ beloved television analyst. He’s still going strong today.
21. With 12 goals and 37 points in 35 games, Roman Josi is on a pace for the best scoring season of his NHL career. But amazingly, Victor Hedman has one more point than Josi and Adam Fox has one fewer. And Cale Makar is right there with 16 goals and 34 points in only 29 games. The Norris Trophy race will be interesting.
22. As NHL players start to contract COVID for a second time, I start t imagine what the playoffs will be like if we are still dealing with the COVID protocol lists. Oh my.
23. The Hurricanes scored a combined 13 goals in back-to-back wins against the Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets. Their leading scorer Sebastian Aho had one point in those two wins. The Hurricanes have a lot more depth than people realize.
24. Could the New York Rangers be the team lying in the weeds when it comes to making a pitch to acquire Ben Chiarot? Unlike most teams, the Rangers have $4 million in cap space. Still think Florida’s Bill Zito will figure out how to be in him, even though he is tight against the salary
25. Next month, on Feb. 12, it will mark the 50th anniversary of the Winnipeg Jets drafting Bobby Hull to play in the World Hockey Association. Much to everyone’s surprise, a few months later, signed a 10-year deal for $1.75 million with the WHA. He was making $90,000 per season with the Blackhawks. In his first four seasons in Chicago, Hull scored 51, 53, 77 and 51 goals in his first four WHA seasons. Hull turned 83 ten days ago.