by Zachary Harmuth
It is time to wave the white flag on the Predators 2013-2014 season.
The Preds are in last place in the Central, at 28-28-10, and 8 points out of the wild-card race.
Clearly, if you have not gotten the message already you have more faith than the people running the team. With the decision to trade the first Predator ever last week to Detroit for a bounty in prospects and draft picks, the team’s management made it clear that it was time to regroup.
In a weird, nice kind of way, trading away David Legwand- who was the first ever player on the Preds roster when they drafted him No. 2 overall in 1998 as an expansion team- brings everything sort of full circle for Nashville.
As a guy who gave Nashville an identity and veteran leadership as much as Legwand has over the years, the Preds made sure to get their money’s worth for him. They, after all, need to create an identity without him now. In giving Legwand up the team got forwards Patrick Eaves, 29, and Calle Jarnkrok, 22, along with a third-round draft pick that becomes a second-round pick if the Red Wings make the playoffs, and the Red Wing have made the playoffs 22 straight times now, so count on that second-rounder.
The Pred’s management realized that Legwand, who is tied with Shea Weber for leader in points at the time of the trade, would probably leave after this year anyway as a free agent. And at his age, 33, it wouldn’t make sense on the business side to pay him the kind of money he will get in the open market. Especially not for a team like Nashville that is in a definite rebuilding phase, coming to the end of a difficult year that had stalled almost before it started with Pekka Rinne’s injury in October eventually hanging over the entire season until a few days ago.
So, this is the new plan, the 2014 plan: build around what the team got for Legwand, work on developing prospects and nailing draft picks.
Find out who you are in the off season. Maybe even use the end of the current season to clear the benches and find out exactly what it has on its roster. Rest its veterans like Weber and maybe even Rinne- its all about next year and preventing any risk of injury, from here on out.