With the offseason in full swing apart from the 2 groups within the Stanley Cup Final, it’s time to look at what every squad might want to accomplish over the approaching months.  Next up is a take a look at the Predators.

This was alleged to be a season of transition for the Nashville Predators.  At least, so it appeared.  They received weaker on paper over the summer time, and it appeared to be the beginning of a minimum of a small rebuild.  However, a number of underachieving veterans had bounce-back years, and the top outcome was the Predators making the playoffs after which being swept by Colorado.  GM David Poile likes the time period “competitive transition” because it pertains to the state of his workforce so its guidelines this summer time retains that in thoughts.

Add affect items

With the Predators seeking to keep within the playoff hunt, they’ll have to put their cap area to good use this yr.  With greater than $23M at their disposal, they’ve some room so as to add a key participant or two even after re-signing their very own free brokers.

Up entrance, their high six continues to be pretty skinny with a number of query marks.  Matt Duchene had a profession yr with 43 targets and 43 assists.  At the age of 31, can he repeat that sort of efficiency, or was this only a season the place the whole lot went proper?  Ryan Johansen had his greatest season since coming to Nashville again in 2016, whereas Mikael Granlund was just a few factors shy of matching his career-best.  There is a query of sustainability for all three of these gamers, and even when there weren’t, one other top-six ahead to fill the position vacated by Viktor Arvidsson following his commerce final summer time is required.

There was a time when Nashville had the perfect protection corps within the NHL.  That isn’t the case anymore.  Instead, the common fan would have a tough time naming anybody past Norris finalist Roman Josi and regular veteran Mattias Ekholm.  It’s not a very deep group, and a top-four rearguard to push considered one of Dante Fabbro or Alexandre Carrier onto the third pairing alongside the just lately prolonged Jeremy Lauzon would go a good distance towards shoring up that unit even when it doesn’t convey them again to the times of being the perfect group within the league.

Do these strikes alone vault Nashville into contender standing?  No, but when they need to keep the place they’re or give themselves a shot at transferring up a bit within the standings, these would definitely assist their probabilities.

Re-sign Forsberg

Duchene wasn’t the one veteran to have a profession yr this season.  Filip Forsberg did as effectively, notching 42 targets and 42 assists regardless of lacking 13 video games resulting from a stint in COVID protocol and an upper-body harm.  There’s by no means a nasty time to set new benchmarks, however the yr earlier than hitting unrestricted free company for the primary time is definitely a good time and that’s what Forsberg did.  The two sides engaged in talks on and off in the course of the season however couldn’t attain an settlement, and Poile held off on buying and selling him on the deadline.

This is one of the most important contract negotiations in franchise history.  Forsberg has been a fixture in their lineup for eight years, and the possibility of him jumping ship to another team less than a month from now has to be concerning.  It would certainly go a long way toward derailing their competitive transition.  Forsberg’s camp knows this and will try to wield that in discussions.

As for what the cost of a new deal will be, it won’t be cheap.  Forsberg is coming off a six-year, $36M deal, and as a 40-goal scorer, he can command considerably more than that; a contract in the $8M to $9M range should be achievable for him.  On top of that, a max-term agreement is certainly doable as well.  For Nashville, that’s eight years as long as it’s done before the start of free agency and seven years for everyone else.  Forsberg turns 28 this summer, and a max-term deal for a winger coming off a career year that will make him the highest-paid forward on the team is not an ideal combination for the Predators, but it’s one they’ll have to bite the bullet on to keep him in the fold.

Bring in goalie depth

With Juuse Saros, the Predators have their starter in place for the subsequent three seasons on a below-market contract.  With Yaroslav Askarov, they imagine they’ve their future starter in place.  Most groups would love that mixture, however the Predators nonetheless have some work to do between the pipes.

Poile introduced in David Rittich to function Saros’ backup this season with the hopes he may rediscover his type from just a few years in the past.  That didn’t occur, as he had a save share of simply .889 in 17 appearances.  With Saros injured for the playoffs, Rittich faltered shortly, forcing head coach John Hynes to show to third-stringer Connor Ingram who had all of three profession NHL appearances as much as that time.  Rittich is unlikely to return, and whereas Ingram is on a one-way deal for subsequent season, are the Predators able to make him their backup?

If not, they’ll want to show again to the free-agent market, and as a substitute of on the lookout for a low-cost choice, they might be clever to purpose a bit of larger and get a extra confirmed second choice to take a number of the strain off Saros and provides them some additional harm insurance coverage.  On the opposite hand, in the event that they do need to go together with Ingram, then including a veteran third-string choice turns into a should.  Askarov will play his first full season in North America subsequent season, and including a veteran who might be referred to as up because the backup when accidents hit to not interrupt Askarov’s growth could be a clever transfer.  Either means, Poile shall be goalie buying subsequent month.

Utilize an unlikely commerce asset

When the Preds dealt Ryan Ellis to Philadelphia final summer time, they hoped that Philippe Myers could be a succesful substitute.  Let’s simply say that didn’t occur.  Instead, the 25-year-old struggled mightily when he was within the lineup, was a frequent wholesome scratch, and cleared waivers earlier than the commerce deadline.  From there, they didn’t even hassle sending him to their very own AHL affiliate as he was loaned to Toronto as a substitute.  And but, regardless of all of that, he’s considered one of Nashville’s extra intriguing commerce chips this summer time.

Myers has one yr left on his present contract at $2.55M, which — for somebody who can’t crack an NHL roster — looks as if the kind of deal groups needs to be doing their greatest to steer clear of, not purchase.  It’s a lock to be purchased out.  But his contract is closely back-loaded, and since he’s solely 25, the buyout value is one-third as a substitute of the standard two-thirds.  The finish result’s that whoever buys him out this summer time will obtain a cap credit score of $617K.  Yes, a workforce may improve its cap area subsequent season by shopping for Myers out whereas it must eat a cap cost of solely $633K in 2023-24.  Who may use some additional cap area this summer time for a complete money outlay of $633K?  The brief reply is lots of groups.

There isn’t a lot precedent for a commerce like this.  In 2016, Toronto picked up Jared Cowen from Ottawa, who was in that state of affairs, however it was a part of a nine-player swap — which makes it troublesome to determine his standalone worth in that deal.  But with lots of groups on the lookout for cap area, it stands to cause that Myers will even have some worth this summer time.  Even if it’s just for a mid-round decide in the long run, getting an asset for somebody who clearly on his means out the door could be a great way to start out Nashville’s summer time roster motion.

Contract info courtesy of CapFriendly.

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