It may sting to see some of these players leave the Nashville Predators, but some necessary moves are happening after the debacle we saw last season.
When Nashville Predators GM David Poile said that “all options were on the table” last month, he really wasn’t kidding around. This has been refreshing to see if you ask me as the team looks to reverse course from a choppy couple of years.
The Predators have kept trying to make the old way work with a collection of talented players that just didn’t mesh well in the big moments against formidable teams. You can blame it on systems and coaching philosophies, but you can also blame it on bad front office moves and top players shrinking when their number is called.
There’s shared blame in all of this, but now is the time for Poile to right the wrongs and keep the Predators relevant in 2021.
The path to restoring hope in the team
No one is saying the Predators have to be Stanley Cup contenders right out of the gate next season, but they can certainly restore hope with an energetic and exciting brand of hockey from their younger players.
More from Predlines
- Nashville Predators: Three Factors to Beating the Florida Panthers
- Mapping Out the Rest of a Rocky Season for the Nashvile Predators
- Nashville Predators: What a Filip Forsberg Extension Might Look Like
- Nashville Predators: Strange Day Ends In Another Loss
- Nashville Predators: Keys to Getting the Upset Victory over Carolina
Even if it means slipping into the tier of being a fringe playoff team, I can’t help but be excited to see the shift in philosophy of getting younger and thinking more about the long-term viability of the franchise as opposed to keeping our fingers crossed that these same veterans will finally figure it out.
Heading into the Stanley Cup Qualifiers I had some hope that the summer break and postseason training camp would get this veteran roster locked in for a deep playoff run. That hope was shattered rather quickly at the hands of an average Arizona Coyotes team.
That was the last straw for me. Others saw that last straw get pulled way before that, but I held out optimism until the elimination from the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
What do you really have to lose?
It’s refreshing to see Poile make these tough decisions that may not be popular with some of the fans, like trading Nick Bonino for a younger and unproven centerman in Luke Kunin.
Kunin actually already has 131 games of NHL experience, but that’s nothing compared to Bonino’s storied career that includes a Stanley Cup.
As much as I’ve always enjoyed and respected what Bonino brought to the Predators, this move had to be made. The team has to get younger and start rebuilding the foundation around their top line and top players.
Kunin looks to have a bright future at age 22 and his best years should be ahead of him as long as he gets the right development in Nashville. Of course that’s not a foregone conclusion to happen, but getting younger is absolutely necessary for the team’s long-term future.
Poile is also trying to minimize the damage of the Kyle Turris contract, which is probably his worst contract he’s ever handed out. They placed him on unconditional waivers and will look to buy out his contract to save a considerable amount of cap space.
This move allows the Predators to remain aggressive in free agency when it officially opens tomorrow. There’s rumblings of the Predators being one of the top suitors for Taylor Hall, but we’ll save that heated discussion for another time.
The point is that Poile is remaining aggressive during this wild offseason, and that has to be commended. He’s no resting on his laurels as he knows things are trending in a horrible direction.
Let’s see what happens starting tomorrow as more dominoes will likely fall, and possibly we’ll see another big free agent come to Nashville. Stay aggressive and open-minded, but don’t back yourself into another corner with a lengthy contract that ties the team up again.