David Poile will be tallying up the wireless minutes in the next couple of days. He'll work the phones, check in with fellow general managers around the League, chat with his pro scouts and be ready for whatever may happen.
The GM of the Nashville Predators - a veteran of more than 30 seasons at the position - is doing his due diligence as the NHL's Trade Deadline approaches. Is there a chance he makes a deal before the 2 p.m. CT deadline on Wednesday? Of course. Could he also stand pat, content with the pieces he already has in place? Definitely.
Poile has already made deals this season to acquire veteran forwards Cody McLeod from the Colorado Avalanche and Vernon Fiddler from the New Jersey Devils, addressing the need for grit, toughness and veteran leadership he felt his club needed. While more deals may present themselves over the next 48 hours, Poile may elect not to pull the trigger, and that'd be fine in his eyes.
"If we don't do anything, we open after the trading deadline with eight defenseman and 15 forwards, and that's pretty good depth to have," Poile said Friday from his office at Bridgestone Arena. "We know that nothing is going to be perfect down the stretch and in the playoffs in terms of your health and guys playing well, but that's pretty good depth to start with."
There are a few factors that Poile has considered leading up to Wednesday's deadline. At the forefront is the health of his team, and how they've been playing as of late. A weekend sweep of Washington and Edmonton will certainly ease the mind, and with only two players currently on Injured Reserve in McLeod and Miikka Salomaki - and both skating regularly with the team - Poile is less stressed than perhaps some of his counterparts around the League.
But that doesn't mean he won't be paying attention and making his own calls, especially as the hours tick away and the chatter picks up.
"What will happen, regardless of anything I've said to this point, is that something will start going on Tuesday or Wednesday morning, and it's always like dominos," Poile said. "Somebody will make a change, and what that does, it'll make something available that, to this point, you didn't think would be available. That's where you have to be prepared, whether that creates something of interest for you or an opportunity to do something that you didn't think was going to be available."
It wouldn't be of surprise to many, however, if the trend of less activity leading up to the deadline continues as it has over the past few seasons. The reason for that comes from the parity around the League. With so many teams still in the playoff hunt at this point of the season, many are hesitant as to whether or not they will buy or sell. Compare that to only a few teams who have decided to put players on the market, and the prices shoot up, high enough that some clubs won't want to get involved.
"As I've said, and it's been repeated by almost every manager, there's so much parity in the League standings," Poile said. "They're so close that there's very few sellers, so when you get into a situation like that, it's hard to predict if there's going to be a ton of trades on the Tuesday or the Wednesday of the trading deadline as we sit now."
Poile says he and his staff will have a call with the Predators pro scouts in each of the coming days leading up to the deadline to ensure they're ready for anything, no matter how big or small. Poile also estimates that he's talked to approximately 20 of the League's other general managers to this point, and by Wednesday, he will have likely talked to everyone at least once, for one reason or another.
Whether or not anything manifests itself from those calls remains to be seen. If Poile feels there is an opportunity to improve his team, he'll do so. And if the deadline passes without any changes to the Nashville roster, Poile is confident with the group he already has in place.
"The most important part is our team, when we have all of our pieces going in the right direction, can be a very competitive, dangerous team," Poile said. "I'm hoping and feeling that we're heading in that direction in the last 20-plus games."