Nashville Predators: Tommy Novak Boosts the Depth for Next Season

Oct 21, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators center Thomas Novak (82) skates the puck into the offensive zone during the third period against the New York Rangers at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 21, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators center Thomas Novak (82) skates the puck into the offensive zone during the third period against the New York Rangers at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
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We might be all waiting for one more significant move by the Nashville Predators this offseason, but don’t just gloss over the re-signing of Thomas Novak. It also has its importance to next season.

Novak was signed on the league minimum of $750,000 for one year, and it’s a two-way deal the club announced on Monday:

You need quality minor league depth that you can trust to put into your NHL lineup at any time due to the unavoidable injury concerns, rest days for the NHL grind, and of course for times when you just need to shake up the lineup.

Novak is a player I think you can trust to plug right back onto the fourth line center role if needed next season. It’s a nice luxury to have.

Nashville Predators have a solid rotational player in Novak

I know league minimum, two-way deals don’t really get your blood pumping, but this is a good thing for the Predators and for Novak.

If you remember correctly, Novak was having a solid first season in the NHL before unfortunately landing on the Covid-19 protocol list, and never being able to resurface to the Predators roster.

Before hitting the Covid list, Novak was having a commendable stretch of hockey and producing on the Predators’ fourth line. He had seven points in 27 games and boasted a really impressive Corsi-for rating of nearly 60 percent in all situations.

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Simply put, Novak was boosting that fourth line early in the season. If the Predators don’t make anymore major additions to the forward group, then Novak should end up getting another NHL opportunity next season.

Novak also made the most out of his time back with the Admirals and helped that team tremendously by putting up 34 points in 42 games, and another six points in six postseason games.

The problem for Novak is he’s primarily a center, and the Predators most likely have their four starting centers in place with Mikael Granlund, Ryan Johansen, Colton Sissons and Cody Glass.

I can see a scenario in training camp where Novak competes with Glass for an opening night starting role on the fourth line, but I’d be very shocked if Glass doesn’t get that nod first as his NHL ceiling and talent level is slightly higher.

Be that as it may, Novak is still a strong asset for the minor league system and will likely be a rotational player for when the inevitable injuries and rest days occur.

Related Story. Grading Every Major Offseason Move by Predators. light

Novak is starting to reach that age at 25 when it’s now or never as far as becoming an everyday NHL starter. This one-year deal should give him another chance to earn himself his first big NHL contract next offseason. Of course that’s all contingent on NHL playing time, and how he fairs with the Milwaukee Admirals as one of their top centers.

For the first time in a while, I feel really good about the center pipeline for the Nashville Predators. If for some reason Glass struggles, Novak should quickly get a chance to come in and pick up where he left off last December when he had a power play goal against the Chicago Blackhawks.