Nashville Predators 2024 NHL Free Agency Tracker : Stamkos, Marchessault, Skjei

In what can be considered the craziest start to free agency in Predators history, GM Barry Trotz has made enormous additions to win now.
New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Can you even keep up with everything the Nashville Predators are doing in 2024 NHL free agency? With it being well-known that the Predators would be very active in free agency, they haven't disappointed.

The Predators are coming off a surprise year where they exceeded expectations in what was planned to be more of a retool year and watching the youth develop more. If the playoffs were made, it was going to be a pure bonus.

An 18-game point streak and breakout seasons for so many players under first-year Head Coach Andrew Brunette has breathed new life into this franchise that is looking to break it's Stanley Cup curse that the Florida Panthers just achieved for themselves.

Now Trotz and Nashville are thinking, why can't we be the next Cupless team to hoist Lord Stanley?

Steven Stamkos: 4 years, $8 million AAV (Per Elliotte Friedman)

I was hinting at this possibility back in the middle of May and my thought always was that if somehow the Lightning can't come to a deal to keep their beloved Steven Stamkos, you have to pounce on the opportunity.

What is the biggest surprise of this signing of Stamkos by the Predators isn't that he chose here, but that he chose Nashville when it was reported that several teams were in the sweepstakes. This wasn't a situation of Nashville wanting a damaged player way past his prime and there was no other competition to sign him.

The $8 million AAV probably scares a large contingent of the fanbase, and I totally get that. The Predators have never had great luck at signing high price tag players, and Matt Duchene is one that became a classic example, although Duchene wasn't a total bust.

Now to not dwell on the past and focus on the future, Stamkos is going to instantly upgrade the Nashville power play first and foremost. On top of that, his leadership is unquestioned and he has been one of the most league-wide respected players of the last decade and a half.

It's too early to dive too deep into where Stamkos will fit into the starting lineup. He's a prototypical center and that's where Nashville should want him line up. Whether he takes Ryan O'Reilly's top line role or goes to the second line is up for debate later on.

Jonathan Marchessault: 5 years, $5.5 million AAV (Per Pierre LeBrun)

I must admit, unlike the Stamkos signing which I kind of saw coming as a real possibility, I didn't see Marchessault coming at all. But it's a similar situation to Stamkos in the sense that both players just didn't get enough desire from their respective teams to stay, and Trotz had the cap space available to swoop in.

Marchessault is a pure gamer. One year removed from winning the Conn Smythe for the Vegas Golden Knights' Stanley Cup win, and a 69-point player this past season. He also brings a physical element to his game with 107 hits last season.

Marchessault is also an aggressive shooter. He logged 266 shots on goal and a 15.8 shooting percentage last season and also logged eight power play goals.

It might get overshadowed by the Stamkos news, but I absolutely love this deal for Nashville. Five years isn't a crazy long commitment and only at a modest $5.5 million AAV could end up being a massive bargain for a guy with 76 career playoff points.

Brady Skjei: 7 years, $7 million AAV (Per Elliotte Friedman)

The Predators needed to address their defensive corps as well with Ryan McDonagh traded. Brady Skjei is a younger upgrade to McDonagh that will probably bring more offensive pop to the game than McDonagh was able to.

Skjei is coming off a 47-point year and a 1.10 Point Per 60 season with the Carolina Hurricanes. He had been with Carolina since 2019-20 and no doubt he is a cap casualty for them.

The Predators are getting a strong two-way defenseman in Skjei, but his primary strength will be on the defensive end for sure. Just like McDonagh was. He should be a solid addition to the penalty kill. Skjei added 90 blocks last season for the Hurricanes.

The length of seven years has me a little rattled for a guy that just turned 30. The AAV is also a little high as well, but in the immediate short term it checks the box of replacing McDonagh and can even be considered an upgrade with Skjei's effective shot.

Scott Wedgewood: 2 years, $1.5 million AAV (Per Frank Seravalli)

Right when we found it Juuse Saros would be signed to an eight-year contract extension, it was also learned that the Predators would be on the lookout for a new backup to Saros. In other words, it wasn't going to be Yaroslav Askarov and in fact he was going to be on the trade block instead or go back to the AHL for 2024-25.

The Predators have reportedly added Scott Wedgewood to be the backup to Saros. Two years is interesting and shows a little more commitment than what we've seen in the past on one-year deals with Kevin Lankinen and David Rittich.

Wedgewood started 28 games for the Dallas Stars last season behind their goalie of the future, Jake Oettinger. Wedgewood was a worthy backup with a GAA of 2.85 and winning 16 of his 28 starts.

Wedgewood is getting a slight bump in pay from $1 million per year to $1.5 million, and the Predators are saving a little money on their backup role from Lankinen who was making $2 million last year.

This might be a downgrade from Lankinen, at least based on Goals Saved Above Expected from last season. Wedgewood carried a -9.4 GSA while Lankinen finished in the positive with a 4.1 GSA, which was even better than Saros.

Obviously Lankinen is looking for a more prominent role somewhere else, as he deserves, and the Predators weren't going to overpay behind Saros. So this is a move that had to happen, and I was never impressed with the backup goalie market so I suppose Wedgewood was about the best you could do.

Alexandre Carrier: No details, but close to finalizing a deal (Per Pierre LeBrun)

The contract details haven't been released yet, but Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reported late Sunday that the Predators and Alexandre Carrier were closing in on a deal.

This is a major plot twist if it ends up coming to fruition. Carrier was thought to be gone after the Predators opted not to trade him at the 2024 trade deadline and instead rolled the dice on him hitting the market.

With the addition of Skjei on the left side today and if Carrier is indeed returning. then the Predators have solved their defensive corps pretty fast. That likely gives you as your starting six of Roman Josi, Brady Skjei, Alexandre Carrier, Dante Fabbro, Jeremy Lauzon and Spencer Stastney.

Not shabby at all if you ask me.