Nashville Predators & Jake Guentzel: Does it Make Sense?

It does for the Predators, but is it worth the long term risk?
New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Four
New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Four / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Before the draft teams are eager to try and deal players they think won't be resigning for an asset or two. The Nashville Predators are no stranger to making these kinds of deals. This might give the Predators their best chance at a major free agent signing if the Predators have their eyes on Jake Guentzel.

The Carolina Hurricanes have made the negotiating rights to Guentzel available via trade, hoping that they can snag something of value from the rental before he walks into a big payday in free agency. This is currently where the Predators might be able to find some leverage, and with that leverage sign one of this season's premier free agents.

It seems like Guentzel is going to want a contract somewhere in the neighborhood of six years, at somewhere between $8-10 million per year. It sounds steep but Guentzel is likely worth it. Over the last three seasons, Guentzel has played 221 games and produced 234 points. In fact, since the 2018-19 season he only has two years where he has less points than games played, and in those seasons he scored 76 and 73 points.

Guentzel would fit in well with Predators system

Guentzel is an established scorer who will produce as long as he plays with some other high-end talent. He's got great hockey IQ and fantastic skating ability. His possession metrics also tell a positive story. He's the gun in any kind of run-and-gun setup.

The Predators offense has that capability and should be able to not only incorporate a player like Guentzel but thrive with a player like him in it. He's still young enough to be an effective top-line player for another couple of years and is a proven playoff scorer. His 11-game run this season produced 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists) and the previous season saw him score 8 goals in just 7 games.

There is no question that the Predators could use a player like Guentzel and that he'd fit nicely amongst the top 6, and would be a great addition to the power play, sporting 5 goals and 17 assists on the man-up unit last season. The kicker for this is, what will it take to grab his rights?

The Predators have the money to accommodate his contract. The Hurricanes are expecting a mid-round pick in return for the rights. Good news, since the Predators are sporting 3 2nd round picks, 2 3rd round picks, and 2 4th round picks in this year's draft. They can offer more picks than most of the other contenders for Guenztel, and they are out of the conference, so Carolina won't worry too much about the loss of the player directly coming back to bite them.

All in all the Predators have the ability to go and get this player if that is what they want to do. The biggest hurdle is that Guentzel wants a long term deal. He's going to get it from someone but he is also turning 30 at the start of the season. Locking him in for 6 years or more will inevitably lead to declining results for a player on a big salary, and Guentzel has been bitten by the injury bug on more than one occasion.

They can, but should they? That's the question that the Predators brass has to answer. Feel free to let us know what you think about the situation.