Who Stays and Who Goes from 2024 Nashville Predators Free Agents

Oct 12, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) celebrates to the fans after a win against the Seattle Kraken at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 12, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) celebrates to the fans after a win against the Seattle Kraken at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Even though the 2023-24 NHL regular season just started, it is never too early to look ahead at the Nashville Predators free agency situation for the upcoming offseason.

New Predators General Manager, Barry Trotz, is definitely going to have his work cut out for him and his staff as the team has eight players coming up on Unrestricted Free Agency and four approaching Restricted Free Agency. All 12 of these players are currently on the Predators NHL roster.

If you count in the players that are signed with the Predators but playing on other teams, that adds in another six Unrestricted Free Agents and five more Restricted Free Agents.

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Nashville Predators Restricted Free Agents

As I said before, the Nashville Predators have four players that will be RFA’s at the end of the 2023-24 season. Those players are as follows: Philip Tomasino, Juuso Parssinen, Samuel Fagemo, and Dante Fabbro.

I foresee all of these players being re-signed by the Predators, with the exception of Fagemo. Not yet having his chance to show what he brings to the ice in a Predators uniform, when he gets that opportunity, he will have to make the most of it to eventually earn another contract with Nashville.

Tomasino and Parssinen are both closing out their entry level contracts, and it should be expected that they will be looking for extension with a higher AAV at seasons end.

Nashville Predators Unrestricted Free Agents

This upcoming offseason the Nashville Predators have eight players entering UFA status. Some of these players are key pieces to the direction the Predators are going, and others are probably going to be putting on another team’s sweater for the 2024-25 NHL season.

The following players are all going to be UFA’s at seasons end: Yakov Trenin, Thomas Novak, Michael McCarron, Kiefer Sherwood, Cole Smith, Tyson Barrie, Alexandre Carrier, and Kevin Lankinen.

Out of these eight players, I would like to see the Predators keep six of them on the roster for next season.

The two that I wouldn’t mind this organization moving away from are McCarron and Lankinen.

McCarron, while he does add size to the lineup, is one player that I could see the Predators moving away from during free agency. The 6 ft. 6 in. forward has been with the Predators since the 2020-21 season and has more penalty minutes than games played.

Skating in 89 games and only having 18 points, while accumulating 110 penalty minutes is not a method for success.

As for Lankinen, this is a tricky one, and it really depends on how this season goes on if he is in a Predators sweater next season or not. If the Predators decide at some point to shock the NHL world and trade Juuse Saros, which I hope they do not, I could see them keeping Lankinen as the starting goaltender.

The preferred option would be to keep Saros and let Lankinen be his backup, and then move Yaroslav Askarov up from the AHL next season to backup Saros.

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Now there is another option, if closing in on the NHL Trade Deadline, the Predators could look at trading Lankinen to a team that needs a quality starting goaltender and then go ahead and move Askarov up to the NHL and let him finish out the season as Saros’ backup.

For the remaining six players coming up on UFA status I will briefly break down why I think the Predators would want to keep them on the roster going forward.

Yakov Trenin

Trenin has been a solid piece to the grit in the Predators lineup. While he doesn’t find the back of the net a lot, he has been a constant for the Predators the past two seasons.

Playing in 157 games and having a total of 29 goals and 19 assists, he is a well-rounded third line forward that is a human wrecking ball on the penalty kill.

Thomas Novak

I don’t think there was any bigger surprise for the Predators last season than Novak. Not getting the call to play in the NHL until December, he never looked back.

Novak made his first appearance for the Predators on December 19th and played a total of 51 games, recorded 17 goals and 26 assists. He led all Predators players, playing in ten or more games, in shot percentage with 18.3%.

Kiefer Sherwood

Then there is Sherwood, after having a career year during the 2022-23 season, Sherwood is looking to continue that by making the opening night roster for the Predators this season. Sherwood skated in 32 games for the Predators last season and had a total of seven goals and six assists.

Now, while that doesn’t sound like a lot, they are pretty decent numbers for a depth player that consistently plays on the third or fourth line. The energy and drive that Sherwood brings to the ice every shift is another reason I think he needs to remain in a Predators sweater.

Cole Smith

Smith plays a lot like Trenin, a strong forward that has play making ability and isn’t afraid to back down from a fight. Having skated in 80 career games, Smith does not have very impressive numbers as he only has four goals and 14 assists.

But add that with his 225 hits and only 18 giveaways while averaging just 12:17 average time on ice, Smith is a forward that you want to be on one of your bottom lines.

Tyson Barrie

Barrie is an offensive minded defenseman that definitely worked on his defensive hockey IQ during the offseason. I would think though that Barrie would not want to take any less than his current contract with an AAV of $4.5 million.

With a contract that high currently, Barrie will have to impress me more this season that he did in his time with Nashville last season for me to think that the Predators should give him anywhere near that on an extension.

Alexandre Carrier

Carrier has proven himself to be a top four defenseman in the NHL. His 2022-23 season was cut short due to injury, and I could see him trying to make up for that this season and having a career year.

Averaging over 20 minutes of ice time per game, Carrier has earned the trust of the coaching staff and I feel that he is a young piece of the Predators solid blue line that the Predators should try to lock up long term.