Matt Benning, 2022 UFA
2021 Cap Hit: $1M
First off, I appreciate everything Matt Benning has done during his time with the Nashville Predators. He’s definitely been an upgrade from past third pairing defensemen before he arrived as a UFA in October 2020.
Looking back on it, this was actually a modestly successful addition by Poile. Benning has brought a little stability at times to the third pairing, and he rarely makes the blunders that leads to the other team scoring.
However, it comes down once again to the logjam at the position, and the Predators having options elsewhere who are more effective that retaining Benning.
I’m really interested in seeing Jeremy Davies getting a more regular role on the NHL level, while the Predators have also experessed interest in keeping RFA Jeremy Lauzon to a deal past 2022.
Lauzon was acquired before the trade deadline for a 2022 second round draft pick, so you better find a way to keep him.
Benning just looks like the odd man out when looking over the rest of the defensive core you expect to come back.