Ivan Barbashev, Vegas Golden Knights
Age: 27 Position: LW 2022-23 AAV: $2.25M
Out of the four on this list, Ivan Barbashev would be the top prize if the Predators could add him. It’s going to take more of an investment with Barbashev currently playing huge playoff minutes for the Golden Knights as they’re one win away from the Stanley Cup Final.
The problem for the Golden Knights, as much as they’d like to probably keep Barbashev, is they have minimal cap space. Only a projected $3.462 million available as of now, with Barbashev earning himself a decent pay raise.
The Golden Knights have their young and star-studded goaltender Adin Hill also as a UFA this summer. Can they keep both without pulling off some sort of a trade to shed some cap?
Maybe the Golden Knights crunch some numbers to make it happen, but if they don’t, I’m on the phone in the Predators front office seeing if we can work something out.
Barbashev is in the peak age range at age 27, and has the ability to really take off offensively for years to come. He put up 60 points in his last full season with the St. Louis Blues, and combined for 45 points between the Blues and Golden Knights this past regular season.
In the current playoffs, Barbashev has 10 points in 14 games and a game-winning goal in the opening round series against the Winnipeg Jets.
With the current cap space the Predators have, they can make a move for a player like Barbashev who isn’t going to break the bank, but can’t be retained for a cap strapped team like Vegas.
Maybe the biggest eye opener to Barbashev’s game; the dude will absolutely rock you on the boards. Racking up 182 hits as a forward to go along with his nifty offensive game is a one-two punch that Trotz should be intrigued by.
Barbashev would actually have a chance to push for second line minutes if he were to join the Nashville Predators lineup in 2023-24, and I wouldn’t be against that at all.