Tommy Novak Staying in Smashville: Why This is the Best Move for Nashville Predators

Predators re-sign center Tommy Novak to a three year, $10.5 million contract extension.
Nashville Predators v Los Angeles Kings
Nashville Predators v Los Angeles Kings / Harry How/GettyImages
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The Nashville Predators announced Monday that they have officially re-signed center Tommy Novak to a three year contract worth $10.5 million, $3.5 million AAV just before he turns 27-years-old in April.

This is a huge move for the organization, as the team gets to keep a dynamic offensive player in Novak that produces very consistently, and they get to do so for under $11 million. 

Novak was one of the biggest questions going into this trade deadline, as it was revealed that several teams including the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers were interested in acquiring the young powerhouse.

After Some Uncertainty, Novak Re-Signs with the Preds

Rumors were circulating that the return for Novak could have included a first round draft pick and even more possible assets. But even though the return for him would have been relatively large, keeping a young, dynamic player such as Novak on a roster that has struggled with depth scoring in the past is a very good decision for the organization overall. 

Before the start of the 2023-24 season, Novak had split his time between the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL and the Nashville Predators for his previous two seasons, with 27 NHL and 42 AHL games in 2021-22, and 51 NHL and 25 AHL games in 2022-23. 

This season, Novak made the Predators roster straight out of training camp, and hasn’t had to play an AHL game yet this season, and it is pretty safe to say that he won’t be back in Milwaukee anytime soon. 

Novak’s path this season has been anything but smooth, as he was injured earlier in the season. When he came back from this injury three weeks earlier than expected, he seemed to really be struggling to produce like he had in the past. Last season, Novak had 26 points in 25 games with the Admirals and 43 points in 51 games with the Predators. 

Novak started this season right where he left off at the end of the last one, but after his injury, his production significantly slowed, as he went a relatively long stretch of games without points. 

But Novak has certainly come back into himself and has rediscovered his point-per-game pace, with 13 points in his last 13 games currently, including five goals during this stretch. This shows that Novak is clearly able to produce at any level, and is another reason as to why his contract was so vital to get finished before the trade deadline on March 8.

Not only is Novak a great offensive player by himself, but he also has great chemistry with his teammates in Nashville and is able to read the players around him to create dangerous scoring chances. Him staying in Nashville isn’t just good for him, but it is good for both Luke Evangelista and Cody Glass who have had great success themselves while on the ice with Novak.

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Evangelista and Novak started building their on ice chemistry when they started playing in Milwaukee together, and have been relatively inseparable since then. They seem to be able to read each other’s minds when on the ice and are able to produce some really amazing plays, as both players are capable of moving the puck in unique and creative ways. 

When both of them score, you can usually bet that the other will have an assist or was at least on the ice at the time of the goal. The same goes for another center on the team; Cody Glass. Recently, Glass has been moving between playing center and playing on the wing, so he has been getting ice time with other centers as well. 

In the most recent game the Predators played against the Colorado Avalanche, Glass notched his first ever career hat trick, and one of his goals was thanks to a phenomenal play from Novak from behind the net, knowing that Glass was going to be able to sneak his was to the front of the net. 

Having chemistry with teammates is such a vital part of being a good hockey player, and Novak certainly has that on this Predators team, making his new contract a huge step in the right direction for this team that is currently making a playoff push. 

Novak has stated several times that he loves playing in Nashville, and the staff and fans all love having him here. His new contract is certainly something that everyone in the organization is extremely excited about.

After the contract extension to Novak, the Predators are now down to seven remaining unrestricted free agents for 2024. Alexandre Carrier headlines the list along with Yakov Trenin and Tyson Barrie.

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