The Nashville Predators Might Be the Next Destination for Phil Kessel

This offseason is already shaping up to be a wild one for the Nashville Predators, and they’re almost certainly not done yet. After all, these first round playoff losses are getting old real fast.

Just two days after the Nashville Predators made a rather significant trade for Ryan McDonagh from the Tampa Bay Lightning, there’s now rumblings that another high-profile player could be in the mix to join Smashville next season.

Per the great Eilliotte Friedman, the Predators could be a “landing spot” for Phil Kessel.

This is nothing new with the speculation of the Predators and Kessel joining up. It feels like this is a twice per year type of thing, but this time it really makes sense for the Predators, if it’s of course at a reasonable price.

Nashville Predators have much more work to do this offseason

Despite solidifying their defensive core with McDonagh, albeit somewhat expensively in the process, they still desperately need a boost to their scoring depth at the foward position. They just don’t have enough proven clutch goal scorers, and Kessel might still have enough gas left in the tank to be a huge benefit to a team like the Predators.

Kessel, who will be 35 right at the start of next season, still has that ability to faciliate an offensive attack. Even on a horrendous Coyotes team last year he managed to manufacture 52 points, 44 of those being via the assist.

The end of Kessel’s eight-year contract is finally coming to an end and leading him to unrestricted free agency. What’s his worth now on the open market, and what should the Predators be willing to pay?

You can realistically get Kessel for around the $2M range, and I wouldn’t sign him for more than one year. As much as I would love to have Kessel on this team next year, he’s not worth overcommiting for.

As Pro Hockey Rumors mentioned in an article back in April, Kessel is comparable to what Corey Perry got on the open market at $1.5M last offseason. Kessel should get more than that, but not much more.

One reason Kessel’s market value should be tempered is his goal production is obviously not there like it once was. Perhaps it goes up on a better team, but really you’re signing him for just making your offense better as a whole.

Where would Kessel fit in the Predators lineup next season? As much as I want the Predators to pursue a top-six quality foward, Kessel would fit better in the bottom six and maybe you explore moving up Tanner Jeannot, or even adding one more piece in free agency or trade.

More dominoes are going to fall while the Filip Forsberg negotiations continue. Once that chip falls, whether it’s him walking or him staying, more changes will unfold. Kessel looks like a low-risk, but potentially high-reward proposition.

At a low-risk price of around $2M, why not take a stab at ol’ “Phil the Thrill”? With better linemates and structure around him, he can increase his goal production easily while also making the players around him better. Hard to ignore 44 assists from a 34-year-old player.