Fisher’s Injury Leaves Nashville Scrambling for Centers
Nashville has been singing the offensive blues in the past decade, and mostly, it’s because of Barry Trotz. But after Trotz was fired after last season, and the second coach in franchise history was hired, and the Laviolette era began, Nashville began searching for some offense.
General manager David Poile went out on draft day and traded for James Neal, which added that dynamic scoring touch to the first line. But Nashville still lacks that star center that most other teams have. The Predators are currently rocking Fisher-Smith-Cullen-Gaustad down the center, which is doable, but not what it should be, but that all took a huge blow with the injury to Mike Fisher this week. Fisher suffered an Achilles injury during training and is expected to miss 4-6 months, leading to January the latest.
The Fisher injury leaves Nashville scrambling for answers at center. They had a few trade targets, including Josh Bailey of the Islanders, who is a natural center, and Vincent Lecavalier of the Flyers who got stuck on the 4th line last year. The hindering factor in the Lecavalier deal is the salary, but Nashville now may be forced to pull the trigger regardless, as Ron Hextall will know how to play his cards on the trade market. The Predators were already looking for a center without the Fisher injury, but now the priority turns to a preferred two centers. With not enough trading assets to go out and trade for two centers, they may look too free agency for answers. With limited options open, it’ll be hard to sway the free agents for what they want.
I’m suspecting that Nashville will go out an sign one of these three guys to a one year deal if possible: Andrei Loktionov, Steve Ott, or Michael Handzus. Loktionov has KHL offers which may be hard to swing especially on a one year deal, and Handzus’ age is a factor. Ott will definitely be garnering interest from other teams. Fisher will be back eventually, but it’s a huge gap for the beginning of the season that can easily knock them out of the playoff race.
Nashville should be very busy on the phones these next few days, and for good reason. It’s been a long run of lacking offense in the Music City, and it needs to change soon. They need their youngsters to step up that never have shown their full potential (looking at you, Colin Wilson) if they want to contend in the West next season, especially with such talented goalies and defense. If all searching fails, it should be a fun year of line shuffling for Peter Laviolette.