Can Predators still squeeze into NHL playoffs? Trade-deadline decision looming large once again

By John Glennon

When the Predators meet the Chicago Blackhawks for the third time in five nights on Friday, it will serve as more than just another crucial clash for the Central Division’s final playoff spot.

It will also mark the last meeting of the season between teams that took decidedly different paths at the NHL trade deadline.

The Blackhawks, despite the fact they sat just two points behind the Predators at the April 12 deadline, had been sputtering for weeks. So they opted to look down the road in six separate deals, adding young prospects to the organization along with second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round draft picks.

Predators general manager David Poile, meanwhile, took the less conventional route for a team that was on the playoff bubble – and one that was sure to face a highly favored opponent in the postseason. He chose not to sell, despite plenty of potential assets. There was presumably a good market for vets like Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula and Nick Cousins, and presumably a very good market for the likes of Mattias Ekholm, Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg among others.

Poile listed a number of reasons for keeping the roster intact: He noted how well the Predators were playing at the time, how strong an influence the veterans were having on the team’s younger players, and the benefits gained through a competitive stretch run/potential playoff berth.

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