In a thin, aging, and overpaid free agency center market, the New York Islander’s Frans Nielsen looks like the shining name that may be worth the cap space it takes to sign him. The mysteriously underrated 32-year-old forward topped the 50-point mark while centering the Isles second line to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this past season.
If a contract is drawn up based upon name recognition rather than statistical production, Nielson would be a fantastic addition to help ease any lingering doubts about the second and third line situation in Nashville.
It’s worth noting that Sam Gagner will be looking for a new home and is due a dramatic pay decrease after a disastrous pseudo-season situation in Philadelphia. The former perennial 40-point getter still holsters some offensive prowess, though shouldn’t be worth too much more to the Predators offseason strategy than the type of trial-offer given to Olli Jokinen and Derek Roy a few years back, adjusted per his youth. He will likely be overpaid elsewhere.
And then there’s Steven Stamkos. Because it’s fun to dream, right? But really. The Predators must focus their cap space on retaining the core of their success- including resigning Filip Forsberg, James Neal, and Ryan Johansen within the new few years. Chasing the type of player who graces the cover of video games isn’t really in the ballpark that small market franchises like Nashville can afford to be playing in.
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