There’s definitely a strategy for the Nashville Predators during this offseason, and it appears to be adding more defensive grit to the roster.
There’s no way to sugarcoat that the Nashville Predators got pushed around last season to the tune that we’re not accustomed to seeing. They just couldn’t match the intensity in big moments, including the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
With free agency in full swing, the Predators have been busy. They’re making additions while also letting some key players move on. The latest signing is 15-year veteran Brad Richardson, which keeps going the mentality of playing with a physical edge next season.
Richardson has signed for a low-risk deal of one year for $1 million:
Low risk, but effective move
I love this move for the Predators. Virtually no risk involved and you’re getting a veteran who will bring leadership intangibles that this team sorely needs.
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Richardson isn’t going to be a game-changer. We get that. But he’ll serve a strong purpose in the bottom portion of the lineup and provide defensive grit where it’s needed.
Fans are waiting on that big splash on free agency, but I just don’t think this is the year to do that for the Predators. You have the expansion draft looming next offseason with the Seattle Kraken, and the thought of getting locked up in long-term deals in nauseating after the Kyle Turris debacle.
Richardson is a safe pickup. Poile may have missed out on the big free agent for now, but he’s building a defensive-minded team that hopefully will stop being pushed around to the tune of over three goals per game.
And how fitting is it that Richardson scored the goal that eliminated the Predators in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers? Yeah, we’ll just leave that here and move on.
Fans are upset about his age and going against the perceived youth movement, but you have to have some veterans mixed in. He’s not a savior in any way, but he can serve an important purpose of veteran leadership that Bonino served.
This move does create a logjam of sorts at the center position, which means that Philip Tomasino’s arrival to the NHL roster might be pushed back.
At some point this team has to get tougher, as simple as that sounds. The top line of Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen can pick back up that chemistry of scoring goals, but the team has to play tougher in front of Juuse Saros.
Richardson will prove to be a fan-favorite in quick fashion next season. He’ll make defensive plays that saves goals and makes life easier on the goaltender. He’ll provide leadership to the younger players coming in.