It’s not going to get much attention when discussing Nashville Predators free agency, but there’s one role player they need to work hard to keep around.
This season has been a grind for more reasons that one for the Nashville Predators. But somehow they managed to snag a wildcard spot before the pause was initiated.
There’s a cast of unsung heroes that deserve some serious kudos for keeping the ship from completely sinking, and Yakov Trenin is one of those players.
For the casual Predators fans, they might not even understand the significance of what Trenin did in his 21 games he played. You can’t just look at how many goals and assists he produced, because quite frankly that wasn’t his primary role.
Valuable role player
Trenin’s role was to come in and produce valuable ice time by forechecking, playing sound defense and not being a liability. He checked all of those boxes, while also boosting the defensive play of the Predators’ forwards.
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Defense wasn’t the strength for the Predators this season. Some bigger name players just didn’t live up to their own expectations, forcing unlikely sources like Trenin to step in and play very well.
I’ll be honest. When Trenin was initially called up, I knew very little about him. After seeing him play in his first game of the season on October 19th, I quickly realized I needed to keep him on my radar and learn more about him.
Trenin continued to be a consistent producer defensively, and didn’t back down to bigger players. He was never a liability in the slightest for the Predators in his role.
Trenin also left off on a strong note in the last game before the pause against the Montreal Canadiens. He racked up six hits, a blocked shot in 10:47 of ice time in the Predators win.
If Trenin had come in from the Milwaukee Admirals and fallen flat, then it would’ve forced the Predators to scramble even more with roster shuffling. He provided some stability for the roster.
The grit and grind of Trenin’s play earned himself some high popularity points with the Predators fanbase. He got the creative nickname of “Yakk Attack”, which really does beautifully roll off the tongue.
Now the Predators have to figure out if Trenin did enough in these 21 games, and his play with the Admirals, to earn himself another contract. He’s not going to be expensive as he’s just 23-years-old and he still has more to prove.
Trenin is due to become a restricted free agent after this season is completed. Other teams will have minor interest in him for their minor league system, and maybe even in their bottom-six for the more desperate teams.
If a team offers him more possible NHL playing time, Trenin might decide to pursue that over being an occasional call-up player for the Nashville Predators.
The Predators need to hold onto Trenin as I’ll not be surprised at all if they need to call him up again in a pinch next season. You need tough, hardworking and reliable players like this in your back pocket.
Maybe Trenin will never be a full-time NHL player. But he has a role to serve, and it’s one that the Predators need to do everything they can to keep in another modest short-term deal if possible.