This Could be the Last Stretch for Yakov Trenin with Nashville Predators

Sometimes you have to move on from players you want to keep, and that might end up being the case for the Predators and Yakov Trenin in 2024.

Nashville Predators v Carolina Hurricanes
Nashville Predators v Carolina Hurricanes / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages
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You can't keep every player you want to keep, and for the Nashville Predators that salary cap casualty could end up being Yakov Trenin in 2024.

Trenin is the prototypical "know your role" type of player. He's a team first player. He's mostly a bottom-six tone setter who can also score goals and bring the heat on the boards. His ceiling in this league is low, but his floor is high. You know what you're going to get from Trenin on a nightly basis, and it's going to be positive even if he doesn't get on the scoresheet.

The Predators do have a lot of salary cap space to work with to re-sign certain players they know for sure they want to keep. Is Trenin one of those players worth investing in for multiple years past 2024?

Let's take a look at the list of players due to be unrestricted free agents when the 2024 offseason arrives.

Nashville Predators UFAs in 2024

Player

Current Cap Hit

Prediction for 2024

Yakov Trenin

$1.7M

Traded

Thomas Novak

$800K

Re-Signed

Michael McCarron

$775K

Lost in Free Agency

Cole Smith

$775K

Re-Signed

Kiefer Sherwood

$775K

Lost in Free Agency

Tyson Barrie

$4.5M

Traded

Alexandre Carrier

$2.5M

Re-Signed

Kevin Lankinen

$2M

Lost in Free Agency

I left out the restricted free agents and non-roster players playing in Milwaukee right now. I'll have a larger piece covering all of the free agents in the new year. Stay tuned for that.

Back to Trenin and why I have serious doubts that he'll be back with the Predators in 2024-25. It comes down to a couple factors; Trenin deserves a decent pay raise and will have a strong chance to get one on the open market.

Yakov Trenin celebrates
Nov 26, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators center Yakov Trenin (13) celebrates by / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Trenin Will Be Hard for the Predators to Keep Past this Season

The only way I can see Trenin staying in Nashville is if he's content with staying at or around his current salary of $1.7M. If that's the case, then the Predators could work out another one-year deal to keep him around a little longer. I just don't see that happening.

The better option is to explore trading Trenin at the trade deadline for more draft capital, and freeing up some roster space among the forwards. Right now you're seeing Cody Glass get scratched, and Juuso Parssinen has been scratched as well.

You have some players in Milwaukee who deserve a call-up as well, with Denis Gurianov, Egor Afanasyev and even Joakim Kemell being future options in the back half of the season.

The organization should still have high hopes to get Afanasyev back on the NHL level for good. He's currently leading the Milwaukee Admirals in goal with 13. If you're ready for Afansyev to come back to the NHL for good, then that makes Trenin expendable.

Bottom line is if Trenin wasn't on this team, Afanasyev would be a worthy replacement who can also play physical, is younger and has a much higher offensive ceiling.

How much does the Predators front office feel like Trenin is part of the long-term plans? That's the ultimate question, and as much as Trenin is a valuable commodity for your depth, he's not a franchise changing player.

Novak is near a 100 percent certainty to be re-signed, and for multiple years. He is a much bigger game changer to your lineup than Trenin can be.

It doesn't end with the unrestricted free agents. The Predators also have higher priority restricted free agents to address in Philip Tomasino, Juuso Parssinen and Dante Fabbro. There's at least five free agents that are higher priority than Trenin.

Trenin on Long List of Preds Free Agents in 2024, You Can't Keep Them All

Going back to the list of free agents and my predictions, I don't see the Predators bringing back Michael McCarron or Kiefer Sherwood past this season. If they're not included in some sort of larger trade package, then they'll be passed on in free agency.

Now the Predators might decide to keep Trenin around past the deadline due to their playoff push. However, the Predators can get by without Trenin and still compete for a playoff spot. As I mentioned earlier, he is a quality depth player but he's not a game changer if you lose him.

Trenin has been streaky thoughout his Predators career. He'll go on scoring barrages, and then go silent for a long stretch. He's on one now with only one point in his last eight games. His offensive point share is near the bottom of the team and behind the other Predators forwards who are also free agents in 2024.

When Trenin isn't scoring goals, he does make up for it in the physicality department. He's fourth on the Predators in hits with 79 and he's added 15 blocks. But that's not enough to re-sign him to multiople years and a pay increase.

It sounds bad, but players like Trenin are way easier to replace than high offensively skilled players with speed like Novak. I just don't see the Predators being willing to hold a spot in the lineup for Trenin any longer, and they will look elsewhere to fill that role either from the prospect pool or in free agency.

With that said, Trenin has been awesome to watch with the Predators in his 256 games with the organization as a former 2nd Round draft pick from 2015. His goal celebrations slamming into the glass gets you up out of your seat, and his hard hits on the forecheck are equally as exciting.

It comes down to a crowded position and the numbers not making sense to keep Trenin any longer after 2023-24.