We asked David Poile if he’d trade a defenseman, and you won’t believe what he said...
“I’m supposed to tell you the answer to that?”
I was hoping he would. But I guess David Poile didn’t want to tell me all his plans for the Nashville Predators. How disappointing.
The question I’d asked him, in a phone interview Wednesday, was one he’d been asked before, and one he’ll surely be asked again -- would he trade one of his star defensemen for help up front?
“We are very happy with our defense corps,” Poile said, like a politician repeating the party line. “It gives us a chance to be competitive and have a chance to win every game, along with our goaltending.”
But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t consider it.
“You’re always trying to improve your team. That’s what a manager’s job is,” said Poile.
“When the right time is there, when the deal is there. Whether it’s today, tomorrow, the trade deadline, whether it’s in the summer, trade or free agency situation, we’ll do whatever we can to improve our team.”
Start the trade rumors! Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen? Now you come up with one.
I mean, who hasn’t looked at the Preds’ roster and not wondered? All those defensemen. No young, elite center. Teams that win the Stanley Cup always have an elite center. Right now, Nashville’s top center is 35-year-old Mike Ribeiro. Its second-line center is another 35-year-old, Mike Fisher.
And what’s worth remembering about Jones is that the Preds never expected to get him.
“In the draft three years ago, there were four outstanding players, three of which were forwards,” said Poile. “We had the fourth pick. I think everyone thought Seth Jones was going to go either one, two, or three. And we were very comfortable taking one of those three forwards, because that’s what we needed.”
But then Colorado took Nathan MacKinnon, Florida went with Aleksander Barkov, and Tampa Bay called Jonathan Drouin’s name.
“There’s no regrets with that,” said Poile. “That just made a good defense even stronger.”
The Preds did manage to get some promising forwards in the next two drafts, including 19-year-old Vladislav Kamenev, currently with Nashville’s farm team in Milwaukee. Perhaps he’s a future number-one center.
“In our system, we have three or four pretty good potential forwards coming,” said Poile. “I think before you look outside the organization, you always want to look inside the organization.”
OK, fine, fair enough.
P.S. -- Shea Weber to the Oilers?