Nashville Predators: Relax, everything is going to be OK

Jun 5, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; The Nashville Predators celebrate defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in game four of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 5, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; The Nashville Predators celebrate defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in game four of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The release of the expansion draft list has caused an uproar amongst Nashville Predators nation. But there is little reason to panic.

The Nashville Predators might lose James Neal. They might lose Craig Smith or Colin WilsonAustin Watson or Colton Sissons could be lost. Pontus Aberg‘s name is in question. Team captain Mike Fisher could retire this offseason. What was once a promising core will most certainly lose a key piece, possibly two if Fisher retires.

Predators fans, take a deep breath. The window of this team is not closed. The world is not ending.

A first note of importance is every single team is going to lose something valuable in this process. Some team is going to lose a good scorer, maybe a James Neal or a Bobby Ryan. A team is going to lose a young stud at the blue line, a Sami Vatanen or Mathew Dumba. Multiple teams are going to lose high draft picks. The Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders already are rumored to have deals in the works involving their first round picks according to  In conclusion all teams are set to experience some type of loss.

However, losing a player in this expansion draft does not spell doom for Nashville. Instead fans are losing sight of what is going to make or break this team moving forward: internal progression and financial flexibility.

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Forward Growth is the key.

Take a look at the stable of Nashville Predators forwards right now. What do you see? Almost all of them are young and should see improvement in their game. Take JOFA. Filip Forsberg (22) Viktor Arvidsson (23) and Ryan Johansen (24) should all have another level within their game. That, simply put, is frightening. What team in the league can honestly say that their top three point producing forwards still have room to grow?

Observe the next wave of forwards. Kevin Fiala (20), Pontus Aberg (23), Colton Sissons (23), and Frederick Gaudreau (23), who could all see improvement moving forward. Not to mention promising young prospects such as Yakov Trenin (20) and Vladislav Kamenev (20) in the farm system. Seeing some of these young forwards take the next step in development will be huge for the offense.

So this is where Predators fans should find solace amongst the madness the expansion draft has caused. The Predators have about as good of a young core of forwards as you will find in the league. Losing a forward will hurt. But having a variety of promising, young options to replace whoever it winds up being is a luxury the Predators have.

Financial Flexibility

There is a very good chance that Vegas selects Neal, Wilson, or Smith. All three players are established Predators and loved by fans. But losing one will be very beneficial in regards to the Predators salary cap situation.

Resigning Arvidsson, Johansen, Watson, Aberg, and potentially Fisher is going to cost the Predators. While they have the cap to do so, losing one of the three players mentioned above will allow flexibility for David Poile in terms of how much he can pay up front, and how these contracts will look moving forward.

Furthermore, Neal’s deal is on the hook for only one more year at $5 million. In addition Smith’s deal is at $4.25 million for three more seasons. Finally, Wilson is at $3.9 million for two more seasons. Shedding any of these contracts will help allocate money in a more resourceful way.

In Poile Preds Trust

We all know Poile is a master at paying less for more. Check Ellis, Mattias Ekholm and even Forsberg’s contracts to see his brilliance. And by losing a more expensive contract to Vegas, he has more wiggle room to work with on new deals, and create more space for the future.

One of the biggest killers of teams with such a young nucleus is the salary cap. Eventually teams have to overpay players because of success. It results in them losing young talent that emerges from inadequate funds available under the cap at that moment.

But losing one of these bigger contracts helps to alleviate this potential concern moving forward.

So, relax Nashville Predators fans. We have the best defensive core in hockey signed for a few more years, and veteran goalie who proved he can make a cup run. And one of the best young forward units that is only getting better.

Next: Expansion Draft FAQ

At this point every team is about to lose an asset in this expansion draft. However, there is no reason to panic in Smashville.