Nashville Predators Important 2016 Offseason Dates

A view of a Nashville Predators playoff shirt in the team store. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
A view of a Nashville Predators playoff shirt in the team store. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators season and playoffs may be over but there is much work to do to get ready for next year.

Nashville Predators GM David Poile and the management team are already hard at work trying to upgrade the team for next season and years to come.  That includes the NHL Entry Draft, Free Agent period and training camps.

We have gathered some of the most important dates here with explanations so you can follow along.  We will be covering these events that are so important to not only the taking the next step for the Predators but for the long range success of the club.

Currently, some of the Predators are still competing in the IIHF World Championships in Russia.  Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm and Milwaukee goaltender Juuse Saros have all done well there.  There are four teams remaining, Canada, USA, Finland and Russia.  Both Ellis (Canada) and Saros (Finland) teams are playing.

The Memorial Cup is the four team championship of all the Canadian Junior Hockey leagues and has been going on for nearly 100 years.  This year it is hosted by the  Red Deer Rebels, from May 20–29, 2016. The other teams participating this year are WHL champion Brandon Wheat Kings, the OHL champion London Knights, and the QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

Although there are no current Predators prospects playing in this year’s game, some of the best young talent in Canada will be on display for scouts to look at. London’s Mitch Marner and Mathew Tkachuk will both be high draft picks this year and Nolan Patrick of the Wheat Kings isn’t even eligible until next season.

The 2016 NHL Draft Combine will be held in Buffalo from May 30-June 4.  Currently there are 114 draft-eligible players attending from North American and International teams. All 30 NHL teams will be there to run the players through medical and physical tests as well as one-on-one interviews.  This is three weeks before the draft so the the Nashville Predators will be finalizing their draft board.

June 1st brings the deadline to sign unsigned draft choices.  There are all sorts of parameters for when someone has to be signed but the only player we can find that the Predators have to worry about is Aaron Irving.  He was a 6th round pick in 2014 and has to sign his entry level contract or the Predators will lose him.

He recently signed an ATO (Amateur Try-Out) contract with Milwaukee and played one game for them.  He is a defender that played pretty well in Juniors and we feel that the Nashville Predators will try to sign him before the deadline.  Especially with the Taylor Aronson issues we wrote about here.

The middle of June will be the first time that the Preds can buy out anyone’s contract.  Eric Nystrom is expected to be a casualty here.

Related Story: Eric Nystrom Says Goodbye to Nashville

It will be a busy third week of June starting with the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on the 22nd.  Shea Weber is a finalist for the Mark Messier Leadership Award there.

At the end of the week on the 24th and 25th is the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo. The Nashville Predators have the 17th pick overall and a choice in all seven rounds.  We will be putting out a comparison of the Preds choice on Mock Drafts soon.

The end of June brings the deadline for offering Restricted Free Agents.  Hopefully, by then Filip Forsberg will have a new contract but if not, this will be the deadline for an offer.  This day also ends the Buyout Period and the new Salary Cap is set.

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June 26 through July 3rd is Predators Rookie Development camp.  It will be the first time to see Predators new draftees plus any new signings and rookie players.  They will have testing and team building and will end with a game on the final day.  It will be the first chance to see what the young Preds look like on and off the ice.

July 1st is Circus Day! That is the first day of Free Agent Signings where players are overpaid for their services for years to come.  David Poile may go after a player or two to fill in with but we sure wouldn’t expect Steven Stamkos on our doorstep.  Maybe, just maybe, Loui Eriksson.

Anyway, it’s always a fun day to follow along with to say what kind of massive contracts are paid to average players.

There could possibly be some arbitration hearings or such in late July and early August but the Preds rarely go to arbitration.

September 15th opens the Predators Rookie Camp.  Circle the calendar and try to get out to the Ford Ice Center to see some of this. It is a blast and you really start to see who will someday be helping the Predators.  It all ends with a rookie tournament.  Last year was with Tampa Bay, Florida and Washington rookies.  One of our favorite times of the year.

This year we have something else special happening in September.  The World Cup of Hockey will be taking place in Toronto from September 17th through October 1st.  There will be plenty of Nashville Predators playing for their home countries and it should be amazing.  We will have plenty of news about all of that.

The Nashville Predators Training Camp opens on September 22nd and that means that real hockey is just a very short time away.  It should be very exciting this year after the way that his past season ended.

Next: Things the Preds Need to Get Done

It should be a great offseason, we can hardly wait!