The Nashville Predators are officially in Offseason Mode.
Although the players will be taking off, well at least most of them, the season is still busy for the Predators in general.
Ryan Ellis and Matias Ekholm are joining their respective teams in the IIHF World Championships but players like Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi are nursing injuries and others are ready to get away from the ice for awhile.
The Predators had a great run as we mentioned in this article. But they didn’t reach their ultimate goal which was to finish the season holding that big silver chalice in the air so there is work to be done over the next months.
"“I had high expectations for us this year, and I thought it was a club that could go all the way. For next year, that standard is going to be even higher… It’s going to be important to have a good summer and stay healthy, be ready to go and just get off to a good start. It’s [tough] having to think about that stuff right now, knowing that it’s still going on, but it is what it is. We’re going to be back.”"
David Poile and his team have a packed offseason ahead. He has positioned this team well but it remains to be seen just how many changes will happen in this offseason as there are still plenty of questions to be answered.
Going into the next month and a half, the Preds have some big areas of focus that they will need to immerse themselves in. There are some changes that will be made and some could be tough but as long as they contribute to the success of the team overall that is a good thing.
The Nashville Predators will have plenty of options and opportunities to make significant changes to their lineup. How far they want to go with that is an important thing to watch. Here are some of the parts of the offseason that we will be keeping an eye on that could definitely affect the Preds in coming seasons.
2016 NHL Entry Draft
The Nashville Predators will have a pick in all seven rounds of the NHL Draft. The Draft will be held over two days, Friday, June 24, and Saturday, June 25 in Buffalo this year.
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The Predators will be drafting 17th in the first round and it promises to be a fairly deep draft this season. They have done very well in recent drafts with players like
, Vladislav Kamenev and Juuse Saros rising to possible stars in the making at Milwaukee.
They will probably take players to fill most areas although they look fairly deep at center and defense and could look harder at right wing to fill their prospect pool if possible.
We are already at work on showing some of the possible prospects the Preds will be looking at in the first round and have a database of Mock Draft selections to share with you soon.
Free Agency Opens
The free agency market opens on July 1st, 2016 this year. David Poile has mostly used a soft hand with free agency. Some teams jump in with both feet and spend lavishly to tie up players that usually end up being overpaid by years end.
That is not to say that Poile and the Nashville Predators don’t work hard to bring in free agents. Last season the Predators signed Barret Jackman to fill a solid defensive role and took flyers on Cody Hodgson and Stevie Moses that didn’t work out as well as was hoped for.
There could possibly be some bigger names available this offseason and Poile may decide all this team needs is one or two more players to make the next step. It’s hard to believe that he would make a play for someone like Steven Stamkos or Loui Eriksson if available, tieing up the salary cap for several years but you just never know.
Both Paul Gaustad and Carter Hutton are Unrestricted Free Agents for the Preds. It is thought that Colton Sissons may take Gaustad’s place but the team may try to resign Hutton for another year or two behind Pekka Rinne or may feel that Marek Mazanec is ready for that role. It is thought that they would like to leave Juuse Saros for another year in Milwaukee.
Free agency will probably be a place to fill in and not make any wholesale changes this season. There is also the possibility of offseason trades. We will definitely keep you up to date on this subject.
Both the Prospect Camp and Training Camp this year will be full of storylines for the Nashville Predators. Two years ago, there was a young player named Filip Forsberg that jumped out during prospect camp. Last season there were some great stories as well.
The Predators played with as many as five rookies in the lineup at times this past season. They still have some good young talent just about ready to join the team at their Milwaukee farm club. Could this be the year for Kevin Fiala or Vlad Kamenev? That remains to be seen.
By the beginning of training camp and into preseason games we will have a better idea of how this team has been remolded and shaped. It will be refined during camp to put a team on the ice that will push to go even further than this season’s team.
These are just a few of the things to look forward to in the coming months and we will be there every step of the way. Who knows, there may even be some surprises.
It may still take a few more days for the sting of the end of the playoffs to fade away but the future is extremely bright for the Nashville Predators team and it should be an intriguing journey in the offseason.