This is where things will start to get a bit crazy, and less predictable. The key free agents will be Kevin Fiala, Pontus Aberg, Colton Sissons, Ryan Ellis, Vladislav Kamenev, Emil Pettersson, Jack Dougherty, and Pekka Rinne. All but Ellis and Rinne are RFAs and will be a bit easier to sign. I expect Kamenev, and Fiala to sign shorter bridge deals with less money. Players often do this to help their teams’ clear cap and as a sign of good will, Subban did it in Montreal although that was a totally different story. As I mentioned earlier, David Poile is a gambler with young talent and I bet we see Pettersson or Kamenev receive a six year contract worth four or even five million dollars, much like the deal Arvidsson received this year. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if Fiala recieved this kind of deal too.
Unfortunately, not all of these players will stay. I think Pontus Aberg and Jack Dougherty are as good as gone at this point unless they agree to 2-way or AHL deals. Rinne is a curious case, he’s hinted at possibly retiring after his contract is up but I could see him returning in a back-up role on a “championship or bust” contract. I think Ellis will re-sign before he hits the open market for close to six or possibly seven million. If he hits free agency, he’s as good as gone as someone will through seven or eight million at him for the max term. Free agency is just that way, especially with right-handed offensive defensemen. If the Predators allow him to reach free agency, it’ll be because of Dante Fabbro.
Before the Nashville Predators re-sign anyone, they’ll most likely spend around 70 million dollars. Although that would force them to spend over nine million in free agency during the previous offseason. Something they won’t do unless John Tavares decides to take a sweetheart deal in Nashville. The biggest items to spend on will be Fiala and Ellis, with a possibility of Kamenev and Pettersson. Losing Rinne’s seven million will be greatly appreciated, as well as the rest of Viktor Stalberg‘s buyout, 1.67 million dollars. It’s the next year where the real questions rear their ugly head.