Looking Ahead to 2024 and the Biggest Nashville Predators Free Agents

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 26: Tommy Novak #82 of the Nashville Predators passes the puck away from David Kampf #64 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at Bridgestone Arena on March 26, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. Toronto defeats Nashville 3-2. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 26: Tommy Novak #82 of the Nashville Predators passes the puck away from David Kampf #64 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at Bridgestone Arena on March 26, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. Toronto defeats Nashville 3-2. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

Looking ahead to the 2024 offseason, the Nashville Predators currently have 12 players who will either be a UFA or RFA. That is if they’re not traded beforehand or a new deal is worked out ahead of that time.

The Predators, to the surprise of many, were aggressive in their free agency approach this past summer by signing three definite starters in Ryan O’Reilly, Gustav Nyquist and Luke Schenn, while also signing a potential starter in Denis Gurianov. All while looking to continue to push the youth of the roster to bigger roles.

All of this has kept the Nashville Predators as a popular pick to finish as high as third in a Central Division that is top heavy with the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars leading the way. On the flip side, if things don’t go according to plan with so many newcomers on the roster, then dealing out some of these pending free agents at the 2024 trade deadline is certainly on the table.

However, if you want to look ahead to the 2024 offseason, which you would hope the front office is doing, then the hectic roster turnover isn’t over by any means.

In fact, this next year might be even more crazy in terms of roster turnover than it was the last six months for a Nashville Predators team that saw their playoff streak end after eight consecutive seasons.

Looking at the Biggest Pending Free Agents for Nashville Predators in 2024

First off, here’s a list of the current 2024 free agents for the Nashville Predators, per CapFriendly.

2024 Free Agents for Preds

  • Tyson Barrie (UFA), Current Contract: $4.5M
  • Alexandre Carrier (UFA), Current Contract: $2.5M
  • Dante Fabbro (RFA), Current Contract: $2.5M
  • Kevin Lankinen (UFA), Current Contract: $2.0M
  • Yakov Trenin (UFA), Current Contract: $1.7M
  • Thomas Novak (UFA), Current Contract: $800K
  • Juuso Parssinen (RFA), Current Contract: ELC, $850,333
  • Philip Tomasino (RFA) Current Contract: ELC, $850,333
  • Kiefer Sherwood (UFA), Current Contract: $775K
  • Cole Smith (UFA), Current Contract: $775K
  • Mark Jankowski (UFA), Current Contract: $775K
  • Denis Gurianov (UFA), Current Contract: $800K

Now to be clear, many of the pending free agents coming up in 2024 aren’t core players of the roster. That’s nothing against those particular players like Kiefer Sherwood, Cole Smith and Mark Jankowski, but they’re roster bubble players at best.

However, the one that sticks out the most is Thomas Novak. A budding talent for this team who really took off last season amidst all of the injuries and chaos around him.

Novak signed his first NHL standard contract in July 2022 and since then proceeded to finished third on the Nashville Predators in points with 43, and by farled the team in Points Per 60 at 3.45. The next closest was none other than Filip Forsberg at 2.88 per 60.

Talk about making the most out of your NHL opportunity to shine. Novak appeared in just 51 games. Now as he enters 2023-24, he really can push the Predators into giving him a multi-year deal if he puts up that type of offensive efficiency again.

If that ends up being the case, you get Novak re-signed before the offseason gets here. But of course, that could be tricky based on the other pending free agents and where exactly the team will be in the standings when those decisions come into play.

You might be surprised that I don’t have Yakov Trenin as one that sticks out more than Novak, but to be quite honest, it’s because my confidence is rather low that Trenin isn’t let go. And it’s not necessarily through a trade, but just by letting him hit the open market in the summer of 2024.

Another unrestricted free agent for 2024 is Tyson Barrie, who is going to be the topic of trade discussions all season. It’s hard to see a scenario where the Predators are able to retain Barrie past 2024.

Barrie came to the Predators in the Mattias Ekholm this past trade deadline, and he’s quickly become someone the fans really like. The team is counting on him to boost the power play and be an offensive driver. Who is linemate will be is up for discussion, but Ryan McDonagh looks like a safe bet.

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It really depends on the market interest in Barrie when the time comes, but I see it being very hard to resist trading away Barrie if the opportunity arises and avoiding the scenario of losing him in free agency, which seems highly probable anyway.

That leads me to the other defenseman that could sway all of this trade talk surrounding Barrie, and that’s Alexandre Carrier. A player I think should get the initial nod to play alongside Roman Josi on the top pairing to open the season and see how Carrier responds.

This organization really needs Carrier to deliver on the top pairing, which would make Barrie much more expendable in a trade. Win-win scenario. I don’t see the Predators retaining both Barrie and Carrier past the 2024 offseason. Something has to give here, and I’d rather the younger of the two in Carrier be the one who proves his worth and gets re-signed.

Carrier hit restricted free agency this offseason and was re-signed to a modest one-year deal on July 1 to a $2.5M cap hit. He was in and out of the lineup due to injury in 2022-23 which complicated things, and his season was officially done with an upper body injury suffered in early March.

My preferred scenario out of these three aforementioned free agents in 2024 is both Novak and Carrier are re-signed to team-friendly deals, but with some terms to give the players assurance, while finding trade value for Barrie.

Others Predators Free Agents to Watch in 2024

Not on the same level of concern as the first three mentioned, but Dante Fabbro will be an RFA. His team seems like it’s coming to an end unless he just really shows out. My problem with this is, how much playing time is he going to get to really prove himself?

Fabbro’s defensive attributes have been fine and worthy of being a regular NHL starter, but does he just eventually get moved out now that Schenn is in the picture, and with Jeremy Lauzon still having two more years left after this one?

That Lauzon four-year contract extension remains a perplexing one from me that was handed out by former General Manager David Poile, and adding an aging Schenn to the mix really just make me wonder what this means for Fabbro. Another trade block candidate as well if the Predators become a seller in 2024.

We’ve seen this coming way down the road for a little while now, but Kevin Lankinen will hit unrestricted free agency in 2024. No way the Predators keep Lankinen for a third year as Juuse Saros‘ backup, because by then you very well better hope that Yaroslav Askarov is ready to hit the NHL ranks and get mentorship from Saros.

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The much more wild and dramatic scenario is Lankinen sticks around because either Saros or Askarov is traded. But we’ll save that hysteria for another time much further down the road.

Let’s not forget that in backup duty, Lankinen’s overall numbers were very similar to Saros’. Just saying.

Finally, you have Juuso Parssinen and Philip Tomasino seeing their entry level contracts expiring into restricted free agency. They seem like mortal locks to get standard contracts before the 2024 offseason gets here, but I’m not backing down when I say Tomasino needs to keep the momentum going so that this isn’t even in consideration.

The others are all depth forwards, and you’re not keeping all of them. Gurianov has a decent chance to stick around if he plays well in his first year with Nashville and can find a fulltime role.

Sherwood might get another one-year deal, but I don’t see Jankowski or Smith being retained past 2024. They’re all on minimal deals as it is.