As reported by Inside AHL’s Tony Androckitis, the Predators sent a member of their scouting staff to Lehigh Valley’s game against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins on Saturday night. While this is likely just Nashville doing their due diligence while weighing trade options as the team looks to rebuild, it’s worth noting that this is a rare occurrence; the Predators have only sent scouts to Allentown on a few occasions in recent years.
Androckitis speculates that the two teams are in preliminary trade talks. Where there’s smoke, there’s probably a fire, or at the very least something smoldering. Don’t be surprised if we see concrete news on this soon. The obvious candidate for a trade is defender Mattias Ekholm, who I wrote about here.
According to Elliotte Friedman, Nashville only has three players considered “untouchable” within the organization. David Poile will likely ask for the moon and come down from there, as I detailed in my article on the big Swede, but as Charlie O’Connor said in a collaboration with Predators writer Adam Vingan, league sources feel that Philadelphia would have to send Nashville compensation similar to the January 2019 trade of Jake Muzzin — a first-round pick and two solid prospects — to make a trade happen.
Other names that have swirled around include Filip Forsberg, Dante Fabbro and Mikael Granlund. While the Flyers lack the need for a winger that would make a trade for either forward necessary, they have the pipeline depth and assets to make a blockbuster for Forsberg happen. Still, Philly trading for any Nashville asset besides Ekholm has no smoke around it at the moment, so anything in the realm of a Forsberg trade remains message-board speculation at best.
Nashville has been the most common trading partner for the Flyers since entering the league in 1998, so a blockbuster between the two wouldn’t be completely unprecedented. David Poile and Chuck Fletcher are two GMs who have been in league a long time, and neither are afraid to make big, game-changing moves. This is a story to keep a close eye on as the Orange & Black continue their march through the East division.