General Manager, David Poile has been hard at work smoothing out the edges of the Nashville Predators. After a trip to the Stanley Cup Final, where the Predators fell short of winning the Cup, Poile has been hard at work improving the depth of the team as well as trying to keep them intact as much as possible.
The offseason started with the draft, where many believe Poile did the Preds proud in drafting some very highly touted players much later than they were projected to go. Then came free agency. Adding some very important depth to the roster was going to be key. Poile would sign Nick Bonino, fresh off of beating his own team in the Cup final. Bonino could be a very important piece if Mike Fisher doesn’t resign.
Then Poile signed an old friend in Scott Hartnell. Hartnell will bring some scoring punch to the bottom six and his net front presence could be a big add for the power play. Should be an interesting year to see exactly what Bonino and Hartnell bring to the table.
Poile then turned his attention to the trade market. While everyone was waiting patiently for the hammer to fall and Matt Duchene to become a Predator, Poile was making other plans. First, Colin Wilson was moved to Colorado in a move that could prove to be addition by subtraction. While Wilson was a solid player and a great guy in the community, his moving will open up a spot for a younger player to step up and show what they have to give.
Then came the trade that had everyone wondering what was going on. Was this the move to set up the big move? Could a defensemen be traded? Well, it turns out, the acquisition of Alexei Emelin, was another depth move. One that may be needed at the beginning of the year due to Ryan Ellis’ injury. If Ellis is not ready at the start of the season, Emelin will be a nice piece to have.
Now, we sit at the time of the year everyone tries to lock up their RFA’s. Inking Frederick Gaudreau and Pontus Aberg to show me deals was a no brainer. The resigning of Marek Mazanec is a bit of a surprise given the adds Poile made in goaltending depth during free agency. Austin Watson was signed to a manageable deal for 3 years as well. Watson and Aberg in particular are guys that should see an increased role with next year’s team.
Now, down to the big two players Poile needed to resign. Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen. Both guys played an important role on the Preds 1st line in the 2nd half of the season last year. Once again, Poile worked his magic in locking up Arvidsson long term to a deal that could be very beneficial to the Preds as Arvy gets better.
The Arvy deal really solidified just how good a GM David Poile is. The main core of this team is locked up for multiple years and most are on great contracts. P.K. Subban is the only player right now on a very expensive deal, making 9 million for the next 5 years. Just looking at the contracts and the years left on them, means this team is set to compete for a Cup for quite a few years.
Let’s just take a quick peek at these deals:
Filip Forsberg – 6 million per year for 5 years
Craig Smith – 4.25 million per year for 3 years
Viktor Arvidsson – 4.25 million per year for 7 years
Nick Bonino – 4.1 million per year for 4 years
Calle Jarnkrok – 2 million per year for 5 years
Roman Josi – 4 million per year for 3 years
Mattias Ekholm – 3.75 million per year for 5 years
When you factor in the Ellis’ deal is for 2 more years at 2.5 million and Kevin Fiala is signed for 2 more years at 863 K, this team will not have to worry about breaking anything up for at least the next 2 seasons.
The last piece to this puzzle was Ryan Johansen. Everyone was sweating it out waiting for news of a signing to come down. Finally, it happened. The Johansen deal adds to those other long term deals that puts this team in a position to be competitive for the near future. Poile locked up Joey for 8 million a year for the next 8 years. Might have been a slight over payment, but again your banking on him just getting better as he continues to grow.
Poile continues to work his magic with this team. If Fisher decides to retire the Preds will have about 5 million in cap space to use where they see fit. If Fisher comes back, they have more than enough money to add his contract in.
Like most of you, I cannot wait until next season to get this going again and see to what heights this team can reach.
Follow me on Twitter at danieljones@dj_puckplanet