The Nashville Predators are looking at losing a quality player to the new Las Vegas franchise next year, but they may be able to add a silver lining this offseason.
The impact of the NHL Expansion on the Nashville Predators has been well covered by now, but here’s a brief and simple synopsis concerning their role: they will lose one player to the new Las Vegas team, as will each NHL franchise. The Predators have the option to protect their roster’s players under one of two scenarios:
-Seven Forwards, Three Defensemen, One Goalie
-Four Forwards, Four Defensemen, One Goalie
The casual eye would see 10 skaters vs. 8 skaters, and wonder how this is a decision- but the Predators fall into the blessed/cursed realm of holding four franchise caliber defensemen whom the team is built upon, all being signed well into the foreseeable future.
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If Nashville chooses to protect 10 skaters, they expose a high-quality defender ripe for Las Vegas’s plucking. If they choose to protect all four defenders, they are only able to cover four forwards instead of six- increasing the importance of the forward role lost.
Either way, nearly every single mock Expansion draft you will find features the Predators providing the new Las Vegas franchise with one of their top-pair defenders or a top-line forward. That’s the quality of player that will be leaving the Nashville Predators franchise compared to other NHL teams around the league.
But all is not lost- the Predators have a few options at their fingertips that they may want to explore this offseason with the Expansion looming in the distance. Lessening the blow may take a more complex- or simple- approach to this offseason.
Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities: