The Edmonton Oilers Should Help The Nashville Predators Start Their Rebuild

Predators GM David Poile listens to a question during the team's press conference concerning the 27-game suspension for Austin Watson.Watson Suspension Presserpoile 091218
Predators GM David Poile listens to a question during the team's press conference concerning the 27-game suspension for Austin Watson.Watson Suspension Presserpoile 091218 /
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It looks more and more like the Predators are starting a rebuild very soon, if not immediately after this season. Fans are tired of them bowing out in the first round, and the Preds right now look very much like the Edmonton Oilers of 1995-2005 – run like the wind to try to make the playoffs, then more often than not be out of gas and be out of the playoffs in the first round, save for a single Cup finals appearance in 2017 and a President’s Trophy, with a smattering of appearances in the second and third rounds. Not a great track record for being at the helm of the franchise since 1997.

If the Predators start a rebuild since it’s the silly season I thought there would be a great way to help them kick off their rebuild with a huge blockbuster trade that would help the Edmonton Oilers in the present and lay the foundation for the Predators to kick off the future. With all the rumblings around the Edmonton Oilers being interested in Erik Karlsson, it gave me an idea for a better name to trade for without all the injury history – and we wouldn’t be trading warm bodies to a division rival to boot.

So, here’s the blockbuster trade from my armchair GM position:

See what I mean by blockbuster trade? Yeah, that’s huge and changes the makeup of both teams significantly.

The Edmonton Oilers get a huge piece on D that would be a much better fit than Erik Karlsson, because Josi is both better defensively and much less injury prone. Imagine in the playoffs if Darnell Nurse comes off the ice and then Roman Josi comes over the boards…..that would be a scary proposition for our opponents, and playing with the McDrai duo means Josi would probably clean up offensively in a way he never will be able to in Nashville.

Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers also get a goalie who is an upgrade on Jack Campbell and would be a bonafide starter with playoff experience. Campbell would probably enjoy a change of scenery to Nashville where the media is much quieter than either here in Edmonton or Toronto where he came from. Retaining cap hit on Josi is simply to make the cap space work.

For the Preds, the draft haul they get from this trade would be huge – this is literally every single draft pick the Edmonton Oilers have to spare in the first four rounds until 2025, which they can use in a trade or simply use to rebuild their team by using the picks. Meanwhile, Campbell is a downgrade on Saros but would at least be a comparable starter and it allows them to get a better draft position for their rebuild going forward. They get to give Jesse Puljujarvi the fresh start he’s been crying out for for the rest of this season as well as a piece to replace Josi on – if they want a better draft position they could even play Barrie on their top pairing if they wanted to. We know Poile is like Holland in that he likes his blueliners, and at this point, Kesselring looks like a nice blueline prospect for the future, perhaps even as soon as next season.

The draft haul is to both compensate them for the names involved as well as a nod to retaining cap space on Josi.

The cap space moved is actually quite minor – only $441,000 ($7.059 vs. $7.5 million on the skaters). The Predators would be taking that on, but considering they’re actually $1.2 million below the cap ceiling right now they can easily take that on. As Edmonton Oilers fans well know rebuilding teams have an abundance of cap space so the Preds will easily be able to afford to take on Josi’s $2 million cap hit retention going forward. Saros and Campbell have identical $5 million cap hits so no change in that regard – although Saros’s contract expires two seasons earlier than Campbell’s – another win for Nashville in this trade. The Edmonton Oilers meanwhile get to load up for bear for the playoffs and gain a small amount of cap space that is essential seeing as how they’re in LTIR right now.

If Poile would rather have more warm bodies then you can always claw back the draft capital and negotiate names from there, but this would at least be a good starting point.

Yes I’m well aware the article linked says that Josi is going nowhere, but where do you think he’d rather be playing? Languishing wasting his talents on a rebuilding team in Nashville or shooting for a cup win in Edmonton? Losing has a way of wearing on NHL players. He’ll do a lot less of it in Edmonton than in Nashville.

An X factor

Jack Campbell has a modified NTC where he submits a 10-team no-trade list so the Oilers would have to make sure either Nashville isn’t on his no-trade list or get him to waive that part of his contract. Josi also has an NMC in his contract which he would have to waive for the trade to happen.

But I have to think that Josi is at least partially open to a move to a contender – after all, would he rather languish in more first-round losses in Nashville or play for a contender in the Edmonton Oilers? He would probably be more receptive to waiving his NMC for a trade to a contender if it meant he could win a cup here in Edmonton.

Now for the trolls in the comments section to tell me how wrong I am.  🙂