Yesterday, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription required) wrote about the Central Division and how each team is handling the pre-trade deadline stretch. First, he spoke with David Poile who admitted that he’d be most interested in adding up front. The Predators have long been known for their strength on defense, and with Alexei Emelin now added to a group that still includes P.K. Subban, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm, their blue line is stronger than ever.
It’s not like Poile isn’t used to adding up front. Earlier this season he landed Kyle Turris in a three-way deal, and last season the Predators added Cody McLeod, Vernon Fiddler and P.A. Parenteau as depth options as they headed towards a postseason run. While none of those players are game-changing entities, they could be similar to any move the team makes this year, avoiding the big splash and hoping their core group can take them all the way.
- In Colorado, things are much different than a year ago. After dealing away Matt Duchene earlier this season, suddenly the Avalanche find themselves in a competitive position in the Central Division, just six points out of third place. LeBrun has been told by a source that if they’re in a playoff spot come the deadline, Colorado might just go out and acquire a top-nine forward to help this young group reach its potential. That’s a far cry from being a historically-bad team in 2016-17 and trying to sell just about any piece that wasn’t bolted down.
- Winnipeg may be the most interesting team to watch, now that they’ve lost Jacob Trouba for six to eight weeks and are still without Mark Scheifele. The Jets are a legitimate contender this season, and LeBrun reports that there is “no question [GM Kevin Cheveldayoff] is ready to deal some futures in the right deal.” That could be a whopping deal, seeing as the Jets are still loaded with prospects and picks ready to be flipped for impact talent. Sitting in first place is a new feeling for head coach Paul Maurice and his team, and it’s surely not one they’re going to want to give up anytime soon.