Nashville Predators Prepare for Free Agency with Money to Spend

Luke Kunin #11 of the Nashville Predators is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period in Game Four of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on May 23, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Luke Kunin #11 of the Nashville Predators is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period in Game Four of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on May 23, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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With the Expansion Draft and Entry Draft in the rearview mirror, the Nashville Predators find themselves in a strong position to be very active when free agency opens up in a couple days.

According to PuckPedia, the Nashville Predators have just under $28M of projected cap space right now, with their most recent transaction being a two-way contract for Frederic Allard.

Now the looming million dollar question, quite literally I might add, is how aggressive should the Predators be in pursuing free agents. There are obviously some big ones that remain out there, like Alex Ovechkin, Gabriel Landeskog, Tuukka Rask, Ryan Suter and Ryan Getzlaf.

We’re all feeling a little warm and fuzzy after what seems like a successful entry draft for the Predators, but now the real fun begins with the free agency market.

Nashville Predators’ approach to free agency market

Just because the Predators have plenty of money to spend, doesn’t mean they should necessarily do so and be reckless with their spending. Call me ole’ fashioned, but the Predators need to approach with caution when shopping around for free agents.

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Let’s be real honest about the Predators right now; this team is more than a free agent or two away from competing for a Stanley Cup. Can they make a bold addition and be a playoff team once again in 2021-22? They sure can, but at what cost to delaying the inevitable is what scares me.

What really gives me anxiety regarding General Manager David Poile is he’s going to swing for the fences again and sign someone long-term, while getting the team into another contract mess.

If the youth and development of the younger players is what you’re beating the drum to see, then what Poile might do on July 28 when free agency opens up should have you a tad bit nervous.

Poile did make some interesting comments on 102.5 The Game in Nashville regarding how he plans to approach the free agency market:


For all the Predators fans who are worried about going in too deep for another expensive contract, that comment from Poile should put you at ease at least a little bit.

With all of that being said, it doesn’t mean Poile should just be a complete non-buyer in the open market. There are some mid-level free agents with upside to take a flyer on.

Contract extensions and the open market

First and foremost is working on contract extensions for current RFAs and UFAs who we should want to retain. Mikael Granlund is a top priority for me to get a new deal done quick. He’s going to be instrumental for the Predators’ top-six, playing alongside possibly Eeli Tolvanen and Filip Forsberg.

Speaking of Forsberg, he’s got one more year left on his current contract and we don’t want to see this linger on too far. I’d like to see Poile get a new contract signed for him before the upcoming season starts.

Juuse Saros is also a RFA and will get re-signed. It’s just a matter of getting all the details worked out, but I’m not worried about this one in the slightest. Poile will get it done.

One Lower level UFA is Erik Haula, a player I feel fans are split on as far as bringing back. I’d like to see him get another one-year deal if he’s interested and stick him back on the third line.

As far as signing a new player off the free agency market, I’m not sold on Poile making anymore outside signings. He seems to be pretty content with finally embracing the younger part of the roster and seeing what they can produce.

Moderate free agent forwards on my short list to explore are Mattias Janmark, Jordan Martinook and Tomas Tatar. Of course there are many others as you can see on Spotrac, but these three stick out the most as veteran forwards who could instantly help the Predators for a moderate, low-risk price.

Tatar is listed as a bargain and undervalued UFA by Sportsnet, citing he’s a skilled playmaker but one that has seen the bench during the big time moments in the postseason for his respective clubs.

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Martinook and Janmark are two other mid-level forwards that can bring some veteran experience to the bottom-six after the Predators have already lost Calle Jarnkrok and Viktor Arvidsson, and will most likely lose a few more.

I was once all on board for making a strong push for Blake Coleman, but now I’m thinking he’ll be way too expensive and has earned a fat pay raise from someone.

The bottom line is the Predators don’t need to go full on aggressive spending even though they have the money to do so. Poile has to approach this in a smart way by not overspending and further kicking the can down the road that is a “competitive rebuild”.