Nashville Predators: Long-Term Issues Facing The Predators

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Ryan Ellis signing a long-term extension is great news for the Nashville Predators. It doesn’t mean the Predators & their fans are free from worry.

The Nashville Predators delivered some good news this week. Associate Captain Ryan Ellis will remain in Nashville through the 2026-27 season. As a homegrown talent that’s developed into an outstanding talent, a great leader & a fan favorite, Ellis is a key part of the Predators’ future plans on & off the ice.

Ellis sticking around is great news no matter how you slice it. However, one has to take a look at the potential pitfalls facing the Predators in future years. Things look great right now, but they can turn rapidly.

The 2022 Off-Season

When you take a look at Nashville’s various contracts, 2022 stands out as a big year for re-signing key players. Filip Forsberg, P.K. Subban, Mattias Ekholm & Calle Jarnkrok all become unrestricted free agents after the 2021-22 off-season. Subban & Ekholm will be in their mid-thirties & likely be exiting the prime of their careers while Forsberg & Jarnkrok will be entering their thirties & the prime of their careers.

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Forsberg isn’t at the level of guys like John Tavares that command more than $10,000,000 per year on the free agent market yet. He probably has the potential to get there. Jarnkrok will want at least double of the $2,000,000 he’s currently making. Subban is already one of the highest-paid players in hockey & one assumes he will remain at that level. If Ekholm maintains his stellar play alongside Subban he’ll be looking for a substantial raise. Add in an expected contract extension for Roman Josi two years prior, and one wonders where the money for all this plus other additions will come from.

David Poile tends to address these situations before they come to pass. I’d expect either Forsberg or Subban to get extended a year before their contract is up. The bigger question is who will get left out of the game of musical chairs. It’s tough to see all of Nashville’s top players staying together after 2021-22. The math doesn’t work, especially if Eeli Tolvanen & Juuse Saros warrant massive raises as restricted free agents during the 2021 off-season.

This could end up being a Chicago Blackhawks-type situation where a lot of money is going to older players & the generation of players after them ends up compromised. I’m sure Nashville fans will take it if it means the Predators win three Stanley Cups during the process.