Hamhuis decision looms for Preds

Will they or won’t they?

Pre­da­tors gene­ral mana­ger David Poile says the big­gest deci­sion the team will make lea­ding up to the NHL’s March 3 tra­ding dead­line will be whether or not to move defen­se­man Dan Hamhuis.

Hamhuis’ con­tract expi­res at the end of June and the Preds’ chan­ces of re-signing him don’t look too good. So the team has to decide whether to try to get something for him at the dead­line, or whether to hold onto a key defen­se­man as the Preds make a run for the playoffs.

“We’ve had some dis­cus­sions in trying to sign Dan Hamhuis and also some over­tu­res into whether we’d trade Dan Hamhuis. So I think that kee­ping him or tra­ding him would be the most sig­ni­fi­cant thing we do at the dead­line,’’ Poile said from Van­cou­ver, where he’s ser­ving as Team USA’s asso­ciate gene­ral manager.

If the Preds do choose to move Hamhuis before the dead­line, Poile belie­ves the team would need to add a defen­se­man to the roster.

“Yeah, for sure,’’ Poile said. “I still feel that way.’’

That would see­mingly require a second trade, since it’s unli­kely a team acqui­ring Hamhuis would be dea­ling an expe­rien­ced defen­se­man at the same time.

As for the goa­lies, it doesn’t sound as if the Preds will be dea­ling either prior to the dead­line. Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne could both become unres­tric­ted free agents at the end of June, and it’s likely the Preds would only re-sign one of the netminders.