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Predators might want to trade a forward or two

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From a quality standpoint, the Nashville Predators have some serious questions on offense. GM David Poile made sure that the “quantity” category has been covered, though.

In fact, Poile would probably be wise to ship a redundant player or two out of town.

Cap Geek lists their NHL-ready forwards at 14 right now.

Central casting

One might best see the glut of similarly skilled players by looking at their candidates at center. The Predators added Matt Cullen and Matt Hendricks to a group that already included Mike Fisher, David Legwand, Colin Wilson, Paul Gaustad and Craig Smith.

Even if you believe that young forwards such as Wilson and Smith might be better off with fewer defensive responsibilities on the wing, that’s still quite an array of players who can line up in the middle.

Losing the Goose

The team could very well opt to stash players like Taylor Beck in the minors, yet it still seems like their forward group might be a little crowded. Can they really justify paying Gaustad $3.25 million per year if Hendricks bumps him to the fourth-line or if he even slides down to healthy scratch status, for example?

Maybe it’s a matter of assessing who fits best (and where) during training camp or finding the right trade partner at the right time, but the Predators would likely be served well to thin the herd a bit.

More from Predators day at PHT

Can Jones make the jump?

Nashville preys for goals

Is Barry Trotz an elite coach?

Pekka Rinne faces pressure to improve

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)

Video: Dion Phaneuf’s assist is his first point with Senators

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Dion Phaneuf‘s first home game as a member of the Ottawa Senators is going more smoothly than his debut did on Wednesday.

Ottawa fell 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings last night, and they need another goal to tie up the Colorado Avalanche. Still, Phaneuf’s making a bigger impact on Thursday, collecting two assists … his first two points in a Sens’ sweater.

You can see his crowd-pleasing first helper above.

Here’s his second assist for good measure:

Update: The Avalanche held on, taking a 4-3 edge. Even so, Phaneuf’s getting a warm welcome in his new hockey city.