Nashville Predators: Armchair GM Season is Upon Us

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 08: With 1,320 wins, Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile became, on March 1, 2018, the winningest general manager in NHL history. He was honored prior to the March 8, 2018, game between the Predators and the Anaheim Ducks, held at Bridgestone Arena, in Nashville, Tennessee. Poile surpassed Glen Sather, who finished his career with 1,319 wins. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 08: With 1,320 wins, Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile became, on March 1, 2018, the winningest general manager in NHL history. He was honored prior to the March 8, 2018, game between the Predators and the Anaheim Ducks, held at Bridgestone Arena, in Nashville, Tennessee. Poile surpassed Glen Sather, who finished his career with 1,319 wins. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Choices Choices Choices

The Predators have $12 million in their pocket and their sites on improving their offense. There are plenty of options available. The obvious choice would be Artemi Panarin. True scorers of Panarin’s level don’t become available too often. He instantly improves the Predators offense. But, at what cost?

Using the same predictor model as before, Panarin should command an monster deal. He is the top free agent available and easily could garner and 8 year $11.25 million/year deal. All of that maneuvering by the Predators to make cap space, and it is gone. Just like that. As good as Panarin is, he is not enough for the Predators.

Instead, the Predators could add two, good-to-elite forwards, both of whom can play the Center position vacated by Turris. The Columbus Blue Jackets had the most successful trade deadline this year, acquiring Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene from the Ottawa Senators.

They decided to forego trading their two, prime rental options in Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. That was a huge risk due to their pending free agent statuses. The risk paid off because they are now two wins away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Make a Decision

The Nashville Predators should follow the Blue Jackets’ model. And by follow, I mean steal. The Predators should sign both Duchene and Dzingel. David Poile has coveted Duchene for the last three years or more. Duchene has acted like he wants to be in Nashville. Duchene is finally available for Poile to strike.

Dzingel is an up-and-coming forward that was one of the few bright spots on the league-worst Senators until being traded. He has a scorers touch and can play on the wing or down the middle. The two of them can add serious depth and offensive power to the Predators roster. Here’s how the money could work out.

Matt Duchene will obviously command more than Dzingel because of his pedigree and strength at a premium position. Poile conceivably could offer 6 years $7.5 million/yr to land Duchene. The contract predictor only has him at $6.9 million per, but after his playoff performance so far, I doubt he will go that cheap. Keep in mind, Nashville offers plenty more than most other teams because of their low taxes.

In order to land Dzingel, Poile could offer a quality bridge deal. Dzingel should be more than willing to take an offer of 3 years at $4 million/yr. Younger guys in the league are starting to take less money on their first go at unrestricted free agency in exchange for fewer years.

The idea behind taking less for less is they will hit free agency again while still in their prime. This allows the league that is trending up financially to increase salary caps and for other players to build the market. Dzingel had a good season this year and continues to develop since he has been in the league. If he takes a bridge deal and becomes a top-tier player in a few years, his value will increase substantially. Just in time for a new contract.