Until today's 3-2 win over Columbus, the Preds had lost 4 in a row since the 3-1 statement win over the Vancouver Canucks on 2/17. With the tight standings in the western conference, the Preds have dropped from #4 to #9 in the standings in the span of 10 days. They now head out for the last big road trip of the season, 4 games across 7 days into western Canada and San Jose. After playing the last place Oilers, the Preds play the #1(Canucks), #3(Sharks) and #6 (Flames) teams in the west. Preds must beat the Oilers and hope to scratch out another win at a minimum. With the injuries currently as they are, the Preds would settle for 2 wins without leaving Nashville. The Preds really need 3 wins on the trip and then finish strong with 12 of the last 15 games at home.
* You hate to use injuries for an excuse but the Preds have been hit extremely hard this year. Lombardi, Sullivan, O'Reilly, Suter, Bullion, Erat, Legwand, Tootoo all have missed at least 12 games. The Preds have really done well to stay in the race when you consider the injuries to the center position.
* I predict Steve Sullivan has played his last game with the Preds. His body is not recovering due to his age. His game has always been about speed because of his lack of size, but his groin issues are not getting better and slowing him down. He was not playing great before the groin injury and his contract ends this year. The Preds have younger, better two-way players on the way.
* Trade deadline- rumor is Preds may make another move for a veteran defenseman or offensive help because of injuries. I think David Poile will stand pat on defense since Jonathan Blum is playing solid defense and pitched in a goal today. He has impressed the coaches so far. I also predict J.P. Dumont will be traded. He can still produce offensively with solid linemates and would have some value to playoff teams. He has a large salary for next year ($3-$4 million) and the Preds need that cash to sign Shea Weber. Assuming everyone returns healthy next year, he is expendable. David Poile can get another center or some draft picks in the later rounds plus free up the money.
* Blake Geoffrion's call up was significant for several reasons. He is the first Nashville native and Tennessean to play in NHL. He is also the first 4th generation player in NHL history. If he is half the player his grandad and great-grandfather were, then we will have a solid player for years to come.
All for now with another post after tomorrow's trade deadline. One rumor with legs is J.P. Dumont and top defense prospect Ryan Ellis to Toronto for their top scorer Clarke MacArthur.