Welcome back to another chapter of Pittsburgh Penguins 2022-23 Trade Targets. After stops showcasing targets on the Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks, let’s head to Smashville and examine a few Nashville Predators players who could be of trade interest to Penguins general manager (GM) Ron Hextall.
The Penguins will be looking to add before the March 3 trade deadline, meanwhile the Predators are currently on the bubble, as they sit two points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. If the Preds can’t get things on track these next few weeks, look for GM David Poile to re-tool on the fly and be aggressive on the trade market. These three Preds could be in play for the Penguins this season:
If the Penguins are looking for a perfect fit for the team’s second line, it could be versatile winger Nino Niederreiter.
The 6-foot-2 30-year-old is enjoying a fine season in his first in Nashville, collecting 12 goals and 21 points through his first 38 games. Niederreiter makes $4 million against the salary cap and is signed through next season. The Penguins have the necessary cap space next season to make this trade work and could trade Kasperi Kapanen as part of this trade package to ensure the money balances out for the remainder of this season.
Niederreiter would allow Pittsburgh a chance to move Jason Zucker down in the lineup and balance out the team’s top-nine forwards. There’s been some concerns this season over the Pens depth up front and their third line in particular has been under the spotlight of late. Jeff Carter isn’t the player he once was and the team needs to add some more fire power to the third line to help balance out Carter’s struggles.
Speaking of Pittsburgh’s third line, Predators winger Tanner Jeannot would be a nice addition for the Penguins. His bang-and-crash style along with his offensive touch could be a nice compliment to the group.
Jeannot is a prime trade candidate for a number of teams because he’s making only $800,000 against the cap this season and he’s a pending restricted free agent who provides some control moving forward. Jeannot is 25 years old and entering the prime of his career.
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This season, the production hasn’t quite been there for Jeannot as he’s only recorded eight points in 38 games. However, if you look back to last season, one where he scored 24 goals and recorded a whopping 318 hits, the Preds winger brings a lot to the table the Penguins would benefit from. Pittsburgh has been pushed around at times and has been inconsistent offensively, ranking 14th in the NHL in goals per game. Adding Jeannot could help both areas as he checks a lot of boxes for Hextall and company.
The acquisition cost here would be significant as Jeannot’s salary is attractive and he still provides some untapped potential. Pittsburgh would likely need to include one of Pierre-Olivier Joseph or Ty Smith in the trade.
As mentioned above, the Penguins currently have Carter as their third-line center and needless to say, the production has not been there from the veteran this season. Carter has only six goals in 35 games and has been a defensive liability at times.
Sissons would give the Penguins a chance to move Carter back to the wing, a position which better suits the aging veteran, who isn’t as quick as he once was. Carter could still provide some support to win a key faceoff if needed and would be more impactful for Pittsburgh in a lesser, more specific role. Right now, asking him to be a shut-down center is likely not a great recipe for Stanley Cup Playoff success. Sissons on the other hand could handle this assignment for the Penguins.
There’s no denying the fact the Predators have a number of players who could benefit the Penguins. Sissons may be the one Predator who could have the most impact in Pittsburgh, meanwhile Jeannot and Niederreiter both likely appeal to Hextall and the Penguins executive team. Now we wait to see if Nashville can stay relevant in the Western Conference. If they struggle, look for Pittsburgh to come calling ahead of the trade deadline.
Shane’s been a part of The Hockey Writers team since 2020, covering the Toronto Maple Leafs & Pittsburgh Penguins. A constant contributor, his versatile perspective on game results and everything off the ice produces diverse content. You can also find him on the Maple Leafs Lounge podcast with Peter Baracchini and Alex Hobson. Follow along on Twitter @ShugMcSween