The 2020 NHL Entry Draft is finally completed, and now the real craziness begins for the Nashville Predators with free agency about to officially open.
There’s already been lots of changes for the Nashville Predators this week. More is on the way as the offseason rolls on.
Depending on what happens during the free agency signing period, General Manager David Poile’s “youth movement” is in full swing. The Predators could fill several roster gaps with prospects from the AHL and free agency.
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There was a ray of hope that Colin Blackwell would re-sign, but it was announced this week that he would also enter free agency.
Free agency could see some players added to the roster as well. Poile’s desire to reclaim the “Predator Way” may require the acquisition of some players that possess a more physical game.
This will also require a shift in mindset for some of the current roster players as the Predators have lost the fire they once had.
Many announcements from the Predators are starting to come out in this shortened offseason as they try to stay relevant in the Western Conference.
This week, we look at the Predators’ 1st round draft pick, some roster changes, and a possible start date for next season.
Farewell, Nick Bonino
Let’s hope this trade with Minnesota goes better than the last one.
An 11-year veteran, Bonino spent three seasons with the Predators. In his time with Nashville, he scored 95 points (47 goals, 48 assists) while being the main catalyst of the bottom-six. He’s going to be challenging to replace.
This move clears some cap space for the Predators and gives them a comparable, yet younger player in Kunin.
Good luck to Bonino and his family as they start their journey in Minnesota.
Predators Announce Kyle Turris Contract Buy-Out
On Wednesday, Poile also announced that the Predators had bought out the remainder of Kyle Turris’ contract.
This move frees up even more salary-cap space to allow Poile some freedom to pursue other free agents. Turris had four years remaining on his contract.
The Predators will now take a $2M salary cap hit for the next eight years. This may seem excessive, but it does free up $4M in cap space immediately.
Acquired in 2017, Turris scored 96 points (29 goals, 67 assists) in three seasons with the Predators.
With The 11th Pick In The 2020 NHL Draft, The Nashville Predators Select…
The Predators surprised many fans by selecting goaltender Iaroslav Askarov in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The Predators had the 11th overall pick and chose the best player that was available at the time.
Poile and Captain Roman Josi made the announcement virtually. There were rumblings that the Predators would take the highly-touted goaltender from Russia, but it wasn’t a lock.
Askarov currently plays for SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL. He has two years left on his KHL contract, so any move to the NHL would probably have to wait until that contract expires.
If SKA St. Petersburg sounds familiar, it should. This is the same team that the Predators loaned forward Yakov Trenin to until the start of training camp.
Askarov is an elite goaltender who compares well to Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick. The Predators could not pass up an opportunity to draft such a player even if goaltenders don’t traditionally get picked in the 1st round.
We could be seeing the Predators’ future franchise goaltender in the making. If all of the scouting reports turn out to be correct, Askarov will be a force to be reckoned with when he eventually moves to the NHL.
Tentative Start Date For Next Season
Before the 2020 NHL Draft began, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the upcoming season’s start date would be January 1, 2021. This is a change from the previous target date of December 1, 2020.
The later start date will allow the NHL time to develop a plan that will ensure player and staff safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bettman also said that he hopes fans will be able to attend as well. This will be dependent on local and state government rules regarding safe social distancing.
Other sports such as the NFL and MLS are allowing limited numbers of fans to attend their games, depending on local laws governing the pandemic. Hopefully, by 2021, fans will be allowed to attend NHL games.
Could we possibly see the Winter Classic as the first game of the season? More details will be coming in the following months.
The Predators have an excellent social media team. They do a great job keeping the fans up to date on team news and what they are up to.
We expect more news from the team as we get closer to the free agency period. Changes are happening with the Predators, and we will bring you all of the news when it happens.