A bombshell was dropped on Nashville Predators fans last week when in the dead of the offseason a major change at the very top appears to be occuring.
To be clear, no it doesn’t involve General Manager David Poile. It actually goes above him. Former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is in talks to eventually become the majority owner of the Nashville Predators, Per an original report from Eben Novy-Williams of Sportico:
Talk about some major Nashville Predators news coming out of nowhere as we watch the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, and can’t get our minds off of the very real possibility of losing Filip Forsberg next month.
Haslam is the brother of the well-known, and not-so-popular, owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, Jimmy Haslam. Let’s try to keep those two seperate, otherwise you’re going to hate this change in ownership and not be convinced otherwise.
The Nashville Predators haven’t gone through much change in terms of ownership since 2007 when Predators Holdings LLC made the purchase of the franchise.
“The pending addition of Governor Haslam to the ownership group solidifies that local stewardship for years to come, with the shared philosophy for making SMASHVILLE the most unique sports market in our league and country as our players and coaches compete for the Stanley Cup each season.” -Preds CEO and President Sean Henry
Sean Henry, President and CEO of the Nashville Predators, echoed his excitement of adding Haslam to the ownership group and the desire to keep the team “local” and pursuing Stanley Cups each year, per the team’s official website:
A new boss is coming to Smashville
Initially this news got me feeling nauseous. After all, change can be scary. However, I quickly came off of that and actually feel rather optimistic about the change. Although maybe not on this large of a scale all the way at the top, this is kind of what we were askig for.
Let’s face it; the Nashville Predators have been gradually becoming a stale franchise since their 2017 run to the Stanley Cup Final, and subsequently winning the Presidents Trophy the season after that. It’s been tough sledding since then.
What angers myself, and many fans, is this franchise appears to be drifting listlessly into utter mediocrity. Not the worst team by any means, but certainly not a team you’re taking seriously to win a Stanley Cup anytime soon.
A change in ownership from a large group of owners to a single majority owner can be a double-edged sword.
It can work out magnificently if Haslam has that competitive desire to be a winning owner that brings the city of Nashville its first ever professional major sports championship. On the flip side, if he proves to be inept in building an NHL franchise, then this could get even worse as far as not having a vision.
What changes can we expect from this for the Nashville Predators?
For the short-term don’t expect much to change. Haslam is starting off as a minority owner, and over the next couple of years will become the majority owner. That’s when dramatic shifts might begin to occur as far as changes in the front office and philosophies regarding roster building.
If the Predators have to go through a painful rebuild on the level of what teams like the Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, or Buffalo Sabres have faced, then I could see Haslam cleaning house in the front office in a couple of years.
Heck, even if the team remains in their current state of being average at best, that could still prompt a major change in the front office from Haslam. For all we know, Haslam might want an owner that has a different style in terms of building a roster.
This sudden change in ownership could also indirectly push Poile to swing for the fences even more this offseason considering he does have so much cap space to work with. I can totally see him going for broke and go all in for the 2022-23 season.
Hey, sign me up for that. It’s time we choose which direction we’re going in at the proverbial fork in the road. Go right and choose an actual rebuild full of young players and stockpiling draft picks, or go left and swing for the fences this offseason in hopes of a deep playoff push in 2022-23.
Poile has to decide. He can’t let this cap space go to waste. Go sign or trade for one of these major targets that are available. I’d put money on Poile adding one of these prominent free agent forwards.
The Nashville Predators are valued at $680 million according to Sportico’s report, putting them near the bottom in terms of NHL team value. The average is $934 million.
Again, I actually think this can turn out to be the change we’ve all been clamoring for, but it’s not going to happen immediately. All of the pressure this offseason remains on Poile to make the necessary offseason moves, most notably getting Forsberg re-signed.
There are different types of sports owners. Some are just in it for the business aspect of it, but not really into it in terms of team building and winning championships. We have to hope Haslam is the other type, which is competitive and wants to win as an owner.
Think Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. That guy is the face of the franchise and does everything he can to make his franchise a championship caliber team. The Predators need a majority owner like that in a bad way.
Maybe, just maybe, Haslam will bring that kind of desire as owner of the Nashville Predators.