After the last few games for the Nashville Predators an issue has been glaring for fans and commentators alike….the need for some bulk on defense. With Shea Weber and Ryan Suter constituting the lion’s share of defensive responsibility and Kevin Klein, Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi contributing in their own ways to the overall success of the Predators season it has become apparent that either Bouillon or Hillen just aren’t cutting it.
Their size and ability to stand firm in the corners and the crease is concerning for Trotz and Co. and it may be time to trade for a bigger, grittier defenseman, something the Predators could have had since the beginning of the season but decided to let go to Colorado for a song: an amount that the Predators could have easily offered for one Shane O’Brien.
Shane O’Brien was a great addition to the Predators roster last year. Throughout the season he wasn’t flashy like Weber and Suter but he stood up for his teammates and had the lowest PIM in a season for his entire NHL career. Now it is also common knowledge that when the playoffs started, Shane O’Brien took some really stupid penalties that almost cost us against the Ducks. But take away the woulda/shoulda and O’Brien was a class act, a great locker room guy and a player that seemed to have fun and infect others to do the same playing the game he loves.
The question then becomes: Should Nashville go after Shane O’Brien?
Colorado is looking like a seller in the upcoming weeks and Shane O’Brien is not a huge blip on the trade rumor radar. Nashville could easily give up a very late round pick to acquire O’Brien and his chemistry would be almost automatic given his play with Nashville last season.
But there are others that Nashville could easily go after before the trade deadline. Here are some options with expiring contracts after this season:
Pavel Kubina – 6’4″ 258, 3G 8A +1 – $3.85M
Bryan Allen – 6’5″ 226, 0G 8A +0 – $2.9M
Hal Gill – 6’7″ 241, 1G 7A -6 – $2.25M
Adrian Aucoin – 6’2″ 215, 2G 4A +11 – $2M
Milan Jurcina – 6’5 226, 2G 5A -22(yikes) – $1.6M
Out of this list, Poile could set his sights on Bryan Allen, a serviceable defenseman with size and skill at a reasonable sum or Adrian Aucoin who is moderately big at 6’2″ 215 but has offensive upside and puck-moving ability at only $2M. Plus, anyone who watched Phoenix last year knows Aucoin is money in the shootout, something the Predators could use in the upcoming months of tight games and tighter playoff positioning.
Are there any other defensemen that you would like to see Nashville make a reasonable move for? Feel free to comment or question below.
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