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Poile on prowl for Predators

Nashville GM seeking help to push last season's Stanley Cup finalist over the top

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger

The 2017-18 NHL season has passed its midway point, and the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 26 is less than three weeks away. With that in mind, is sitting down with some of the biggest names in the game. Today, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile talks about how he'd still like to add help at forward, despite bringing in Kyle Turris in November and welcoming back Mike Fisher from retirement.


TORONTO -- Having endured a six-hour delay from Nashville to snowy Toronto, Nashville general manager David Poile has enough spunk left to offer up a hockey-related trivia question.

The query: What do Shea Weber, Dan Hamhuis, Seth Jones, Tomas Vokoun, Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell have in common?

Before any guesses can be offered, Poile answers it himself.

"How would you like to have that team? And I traded away all those guys," he says.

Standing in the Air Canada press box, Poile chuckles. He admits he's always been a determined sort, whether it be overcoming Mother Nature to be on hand to see his Predators play the Toronto Maple Leafs, or trading away assets in hopes of a Stanley Cup.

This time around is no different.

Coming off a six-game loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final last spring, Poile and his players are hungry to complete unfinished business. To that end, Poile hopes to be active in the coming weeks, looking to find any commodity that will help push the Predators over the top.

He's already proven that he's not trigger-shy.

"Look, I like a lot about our team," Poile said. "If we don't do anything, I'd say we're still in pretty good shape. 

"But would I like to do something? Ya, possibly."

Specifically, he'd like to add up front.

"We're carrying eight defensemen and I'm pretty happy with our defense, the top four especially," Poile said. "Maybe another forward if you had to pin me down and say one thing."

Poile admits that won't be easy. He agrees with Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford that asking prices have ballooned due to the number of teams who believe they have a shot at the playoffs.

"When you talk to everybody, everybody has got different things available at different prices," he said. "Certainly we're willing to listen if something makes sense for us.

"There's not that many sellers in this league because of the parity. As a result, you find that, well, I'm pretty confident that if you name four or five players that are available, I could name four or five clubs that are pursuing the same player. And that gets back to your price."

In November, Poile acquired Turris from the Ottawa Senators in a three-way deal that also involved the Colorado Avalanche. Last month, Fisher, the Predators' former captain, was persuaded to come out of retirement to rejoin Nashville.

But even those additions haven't kept Poile from aggressively attempting to improve the Predators. After seeing Poile trade Jones, Weber, Timonen and Vokoun over the years, Predators fans know anything is possible.

As Poile weighs his options ahead of the trade deadline, he took time to address a number of topics with

On Fisher's attempted comeback

"It certainly is a positive. I'm very confident that Mike will come back and perform very well. How high will he be in our lineup? I'm not sure. But how high does he really need to be in our lineup? It's a huge add for us without having to give up something."


On not standing pat, despite the additions of Turris and Fisher

"Listen, it's all about depth. Last year was the deepest run we've ever had as a franchise. We used 17 forwards in the first two rounds because of injuries. In reality, I don't think you are going to get to a Stanley Cup Final relatively unscathed. It's important to have depth. So, yes, if we get the right opportunity at the right price, I can see us doing something before the trade deadline."


On his mission to keep stockpiling talent

"Some people look at us getting Turris in November and consider it a deadline deal. But now we're coming up to the actual Trade Deadline. You're always making sure that your team is playing well and is healthy. There's another thing we haven't touched on - health. If something happens in the next two weeks to someone on anybody's roster, it could greatly affect what you do and don't do."

Video: CHI@NSH: Turris pots Hartnell's feed to tie game


On the Predators' quest to finish the job after reaching the 2017 Stanley Cup Final

"We haven't won anything. But I think we're in a good position in that we've gotten a taste of it. Our players have been very good and very consistent all year long which shows that we believe in ourselves, shows that we are one of the better teams in the League, and shows that we want to win something. We've put ourselves in a position that we can make the playoffs and make a run for the Cup. And that's what you strive for."


On the slim margin between winning and losing. For example: How the Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers are struggling this season after making impressive playoff runs last spring

"You can't take anything for granted. This League -- and we keep coming back to the same thing -- with the parity, it's so tight. On most nights, you win by a goal, you lose by a goal. That's the reality of the League today. Look, we beat the Islanders this week in overtime, then lost our next game to the Maple Leafs in a shootout. Those games can easily go the other way. It must be exciting for the fans because it's certainly stressful for the general manager."


On his reputation of being a bold dealer on the trade front

"I don't think I'm more aggressive than anyone else. Look, credit goes to our entire hockey operations since I first got here 20 years ago. Our drafting has allowed us to accrue assets that gives us so many options. If not for that, we don't have the likes of Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell, Tomas Vokoun, Dan Hamhuis, Shea Weber, Seth Jones to trade away in the first place."

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