The Nashville Predators will return to the Bridgestone Arena ice to face the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night to close out their four game homestand, where the team has collected five of six points so far.
Regardless of whether the Preds make any moves prior to Monday's 2 p.m. trade deadline, the game will likely be impacted by the Kings recent acquisition of Predators-killer Jeff Carter from Columbus.
Nashville dominated Columbus during their season series, posting a 5-0-1 record for the year.
However, in spite of the Blue Jackets' poor record against the Preds, Carter was a player that has totally has had his way with Nashville this season. He has scored five goals, including two on the power play, added two assists, and had 15 shots in four games against the Preds.
Nashville plays the Kings two more times this season after Monday's game so Carter should have ample opportunity to continue to feast on the Predators.
The game with the Kings will be played five hours after the NHL trade deadline passes. The Predators have made a pair of deals leading up to the deadline.
On February 17, the Predators picked up defensemen Hal Gill in exchange for Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney, and a second round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Gill has paid big rewards already, solidifying the Preds third blue line pairing, and helping the team pick up points in each of the four games that he has played.
Last Friday, Nashville sent long-time veteran center, Jerred Smithson, to Florida in exchange for a sixth round pick. Smithson was the team's leading faceoff guy but was deemed expendable with the emergence of players like Nick Spaling, Matt Halischuk, and Gabriel Bourque, who play roles similar to the one Smithson filled.
It is unclear if the Predators will make any further deals as the deadline approaches. There were numerous rumors on Saturday that the Predators had made offers to Columbus for Rick Nash but he remained in the Blue Jackets' lineup against Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon.
Barry Trotz mulled the situation after Saturday's 6-2 win over San Jose. "Our team is settled. We aren't going to make a move that is going to throw off the team. We may make moves that would improve our team."
"Our leadership and our core is strong enough that if we do add a player or two it's not going to throw people off," Trotz explained. "We are about winning and putting the best hockey team that we can on the ice and we'll do it any way that we need to."
Trotz continued, "We have a good team. We want to make the right deal. We are very thorough on our thought processes on any adds. We know we have a good team and good chemistry."
"Hal Gill was a very thought out add and any adds that we have will be very thought out. There are so many teams still in it you don't know what is out there in the market. We'll see where it ends up in the next couple of days."
It is unlikely that any players added would be in Nashville and ready to suit up for the game with the Kings on Monday but the Predators travel to Carolina after the game to face the Hurricanes on Tuesday. If a new player is acquired they would probably be ready be go against the Canes.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass