You can’t count on two hands how many notable moves the Nashville Predators have made this offseason. They’ve stayed busy to reverse their negative trend.
The future is now for the Nashville Predators. They couldn’t rest on their laurels with old talent any longer, and now they’re starting to reinvest in their youth.
Rem Pitlick figures to be a vital piece to the puzzle in this youth movement. He’s only appeared in one NHL game for the Predators so far, but that number is about to blossom in the near future.
Per the Nashville Predators official website, Pitlick has received a one-year contract that will be worth $874,125 at the NHL level, and $70,000 at the AHL level with the Milwaukee Admirals.
Building confidence and a foundation
Pitlick really shined in his first season with the Admirals in the AHL this past year. He put up 36 points and had an astronomical shooting percentage of 22.7.
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Before that, Pitlick was a star at the University of Minnesota which led to him being drafted by the Predators in the third round of 2016’s NHL Entry Draft.
It’s time to see what Pitlick can do on the NHL level now that the Predators are turning over the roster and looking to get younger.
The Predators addressed the defensive aspect of their game through free agency, but the offensive firepower gets thin behind the top line and the top defensive pairing.
A big question mark is currently hanging over how the second line will be constructed.
This means the outlook on next season will heavily rely on players like Pitlick to quickly translate their decorated games to the NHL level. That’s a tall mountain to climb, but one that they have no choice but to try.
Key departures like Craig Smith, Kyle Turris, Colin Blackwell, Nick Bonino and Mikael Granlund leave major voids to fill with young prospects. Pitlick will be in the mix to replace one of these veterans.
There should be excitement and patience to see what Pitlick can bring to the new-look Predators. There’s undoubtedly going to be growing pains, but the Predators have to start building for the future by giving these youngsters a chance to shine right out of the gate.
Buckle up for a competitive training camp
Training camp is going to be fun to watch because your guess is as good as mine on how the line combinations will be constructed behind the top line of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson.
The overall belief is that Eeli Tolvanen will get the first look at getting onto the second line with Matt Duchene. I would avoid the experiment of putting Tolvanen and Pitlick, two inexperienced players on the NHL level, on the same line.
At this early point in the offseason process I’d slot Pitlick as a healthy scratch on the Predators roster due to the rising stock of Yakov Trenin, who also got a new contract this offseason.
Trenin looks more like an NHL-ready player than Pitlick is right now. That doesn’t mean that things can’t dramatically change in training camp or once the regular season starts.
Pitlick might very well start off in the AHL, but work his way onto the Predators roster if things don’t go smoothly and Head Coach John Hynes wants to try new combinations.
Pitlick will eventually get his NHL opportunity next season, and he’ll have to shine quickly to remain on the NHL roster with so much competition and others looking to stick around in Nashville.
Healthy competition for roster spots is a good thing, but whether or not coaches make the right calls on who to start where is another uncertainty for 2021.