Nashville Predators: Yakov Trenin Deserves a Full-Time Spot Next Season

Yakov Trenin #32 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Yakov Trenin #32 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

When the 2020-21 season begins, the Nashville Predators’ average age may be the lowest it has been for a while. A youth movement is happening in Nashville.

General Manager David Poile and Head Coach John Hynes are poised to make some significant changes to the Nashville Predators‘ roster in this offseason. Will these changes include Yakov Trenin in a more permanent role?

When the Predators were unceremoniously ousted from the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, it was glaringly evident that something has to change before next season.

The Predators were eliminated by a Arizona Coyotes team that they should’ve easily dominated. Now all eyes are on the management to see what they will do with the roster to keep the franchise relevant in the Western Conference playoff scene.

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One thing we know for sure is Poile is looking to give his prospects a shot at some of the coveted roster spots. In his end-of-season conference call with media, Poile mentioned several by name, including Trenin.

We have to ask if Trenin’s limited performances for the Predators have been enough to win over Hynes and Poile and ensure him a spot when the new season starts.

Season Recap

Trenin made his NHL debut last October in a forgettable performance. But his physical brand of hockey is one that this team needs more of.

Trenin had to wait two months before making the lineup again. This time his performance was better. He scored his first NHL goal in just under eight minutes of ice time.

As for this past season, Trenin appeared in 21 games, scoring six points (2 goals, 4 assists). His Corsi average sits at 49.1, putting him right on the cusp of being a vital component for the team.

A physical and gritty player, Trenin’s most memorable moment from this past season saw him locking horns with one of the most feared players in the NHL, Zdeno Chara.

Outsized and outmatched experience-wise, the 6’2″ Trenin was able to do something that few have done. He landed a punch on Chara’s jaw that buckled the 6’9″ defenseman, if only for a second.

It was just enough to make Trenin a favorite with Predators fans everywhere.

Is There a Spot for Trenin?

Trenin excelled for the Milwaukee Admirals last season. He had 35 points (20 goals, 15 assists) in only 32 games. While he didn’t have the same success in his time with the Predators, he did enough to get noticed by Poile as a viable option in a bottom-six role.

With all options on the table, a roster spot for Trenin is a strong possibility. There’s going to be a lot of competition in training camp for a handful of starting spots. We’ll learn more about how much actual room there is on the roster after offseason free agency.

With limited and spotty roster opportunities last season, Trenin never really found solid footing. He was also inexplicably left off of the roster at times when other full-time roster players shouldn’t have gotten the start in the first place.

It was no surprise that Trenin was added to the Stanley Cup Qualifiers roster for the Predators. Some went so far as to say that Trenin may have been an excellent choice to see some ice time during the playoffs.

There were some game situations where Trenin’s physicality would have significantly benefited the Predators, but instead Hynes decided to not make any roster changes over the four games, only resulting in one win.

With the pre-playoff training camp in his pocket and next season’s training camp coming up, the time for Trenin to make his mark is now.

But Then There’s This…..

Last week, a social media post showed Trenin meeting with the CEO of the Russian National hockey team, Roman Rotenberg. After a tour of the SKA Saint Petersburg training facilities, Rotenberg said that he would be interested in Trenin playing for the Russian team.

Is Trenin seeking insurance in case the 2020-21 NHL season is delayed? Or is he exploring his options and contemplating a move to SKA Saint Petersburg?

Trenin is a restricted free agent now. If a move to SKA would pay him a bigger paycheck, he may be going in that direction.

Trenin’s AHL contract paid him $70K this year. He earned $750K while playing NHL games. If SKA will pay him more and it is a guaranteed paycheck, he may be thinking of moving back to his homeland.

While Trenin’s chances of making the Predators’ roster next season is pretty good, he has no guarantee that it will happen.

With his style of play being what it is, the Predators would do well to re-sign Trenin and consider him for a roster spot next season. Time under Hynes will benefit him and allow him to find his place on a more full-time basis.

Trenin would fit in nicely in the bottom-six next season if multiple unrestricted free agents are lost.

We will have to wait to find out how this will all play out for Trenin during the offseason. With this offseason being so short, the wait might not be very long.