To put it flatly, the Nashville Predators are going for it. Through complementing a Hal Gill trade by reuniting Andrei Kostitsyn with his brother and shipping out their first round pick for Paul Gaustad, the Preds are sending a clear message to their team, organization and fan base - we want to win the Stanley Cup. Behind the outstanding play of goaltender Pekka Rinne, the Predators have managed to hang tough with a low scoring offense, in an otherwise high scoing western conference. The strong play of Rinne is bolstered by a spectacular defensive corps, led by captain Shea Weber and young defenseman Ryan Suter.
The unfortunate part of this whole equation is that both of the aforementioned defenseman are unrestricted free agents at the end of this season. This means that two thirds of the core of this team could leave at the end of the season - with Nashville getting absolutely nothing as compensation. The Preds are trying to show these two exceptional players that the grass is not greener elsewhere, and that the Nashville organization is committed to winning and doing whatever it can to make the team better now. This brings an interesting angle to the trades that were made at the deadline - is that going to be enough to make the stars stay? Nashville general manager Dave Poile better freakin' hope so. Cause if not, he is going to be in some serious shit.
Nashville traded away their first round pick in this years entry draft, a promising young forward in Blake Geoffroin (yes, he's Boom-Boom's grandson), plus a plethora of other picks in this year's, as well as next year's drafts. The potential cost of future talent is very high, but it definitely pushes a "win now" attitude to the forefront of the team. If the team is able to make a deep run into the playoffs and seriously contend for a cup - it may be enough to convince Weber and Suter to stay. If this team fizzles and drops out early - we could be headed for some dark years in Nashville. Only time will tell if the media will make Poile seem like a genius, or one of the stupidest general managers in the league(See Howsen, Scott).