Nashville Predators Sign Michael McCarron to Two-Year Extension

The Predators re-signed another key depth player that was due to become a free agent this offseason.
Nashville Predators v Washington Capitals
Nashville Predators v Washington Capitals / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The Nashville Predators lost in humiliating fashion by a score of 9-2 to the Dallas Stars on Thursday, and it seems to have all but confirmed that they will be sellers at the upcoming trade deadline. But it did not stop them from getting another deal done with one of their players.

Barry Trotz inked forward Michael McCarron to a two-year contract extension earlier on Friday. He was set to hit unrestricted free agency at the end of the current season, but will now be in Nashville through the end of the 2025-26 season at $900k in each of the next two seasons.

McCarron has played a vital role in the Predators' bottom six this season, has already tied his career high for goals in a season, and looks like he will record career highs in both goals and assists this year. In a vacuum, it is a fine deal, and although it is nothing flashy and maybe even puzzling on the surface, I can absolutely see why Trotz and Andrew Brunette wanted to bring him back.

Michael McCarron's impact on Nashville Predators is not just felt on the ice

First of all, yes, I totally understand that the optics of this move are very questionable. It comes less than 24 hours after the worst beatdown of the year for the Predators, and one in which they sat Luke Evangelista, and had Philip Tomasino and Juuso Parssinen in Milwaukee.

It is fair to look at this move and be a little concerned that the current Predators are morphing back into the version led by David Poile and John Hynes. But looking at the situation holistically, I do not think this is a bad omen for the future outlook of the team.

First of all, for the crowd of people who really want the Predators to sell at the deadline, which I am a part of, this should not concern you. Barry Trotz has mentioned that he plans to sell if the team cannot get out of middling status, and that is currently the case and almost sure not to change.

With McCarron back in the fold and Cole Smith being extended a few weeks ago, this almost certainly means that Yakov Trenin is getting traded. The other forwards set to be unrestricted free agents are Kiefer Sherwood, Mark Jankowski, and Denis Gurianov, and even though they will not have much if any trade value, Trotz will likely try to move at least one of them.

Second of all, McCarron is widely known as someone who is a "good vibes" player and whose presence makes a difference in the locker room. For this Predators team, which is one of the least experienced you will find in hockey, that is very important.

Let's also not forget that just a little over a year ago, McCarron was in the NHL Player Assistance Program, yet bounced back and is having one of his best seasons as a player. Leaning on a player who went through that is such a big help for the young guys on the roster.

That is of course not to say that the youngsters will go through problems like McCarron did last year, but he can provide so much insight to them on things such as being resilient and overcoming adversity. Make no mistake, if there is one thing that the Predators as a team are working through right now, it is adversity, and especially so with the young guns.

I look at this signing as less of an intent to play a certain style of hockey, but bring back a guy who has done genuinely good things for the bottom six, and more importantly, the locker room. You never hurt when you have high-character guys on your team, and McCarron is exactly that.