Predators: Looking at the Biggest Unrestricted Free Agents Next Offseason

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 19: Craig Smith #15 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena on November 19, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 19: Craig Smith #15 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena on November 19, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Dan Hamhuis

I don’t see this decision being a difficult one when the time comes. Hamhuis has been an excellent NHL player in his 16-year career that started with the Nashville Predators. He’s always been a defense-first, hard-hitting defenseman. However, he’s no 36-years-old and nearing the end.

Hamhuis has been a regular on Nashville’s troubled third defensive pairing this year. It hasn’t all been his fault, and he’s had some decent moments to go along with some bad lapses this season. That’s to be expected with an aging player.

I’d be surprised if Hamhuis plays past this season, and even more surprised if it’s with the Predators. The Predators need to bolster up their defense in a bad way if they’re going to make a deep run in the playoffs. Hamhuis’ respectable and successful NHL career might be over after this season. Respect to the hard-nosed blueliner.

With Hamhuis not returning after this season, it’s going to mean Nashville has to probably dip into their prospect pool or find another free agent. This could happen in the near future and before this season ends.