With all the publicity and nail-biting surrounding whether or not the Nashville Predators will be with or without the services of one Ryan Suter, there is still the question of 14 other free agents left to worry about.
With the Radulov experiment resulting in an epic fail on Poile’s part and Andrei Kostitsyn on the chopping block as well, it is up to Poile to figure out who Nashville should re-sign or will the mass exodus lead the Predators into one the biggest personnel changes in it’s short history. Today we’ll focus on forwards and see who is best to keep or heap.
As was said, Radulov is gone and the other RFA that will probably be making an exit from the squad is Jack MacLellan (who?…exactly). Nobody knows anything about MacLellan because he never played a single game for the Predators. He was a Brown University standout so the Predators could feasibly throw him a small deal to keep him for depth purposes. Offer 1yr, $550,000/70,000(AHL)
RFA – Sergei Kostitsyn – Kostitsyn should be given a qualifying offer as he has performed average to above-average in the last few years he has been on the ice. Last season Sergei led the Predators in goals and his shooting percentage has been abnormally high in the last two seasons. Many clamor that he needs to shoot the puck more, but his abilities and the intangibles he brings like his penalty-kill time are what makes Sergei a great fit for the Predators and a commodity that the organization should lock up for a few more years. Offer: 3 yrs, $9M.
RFA – Colin Wilson – Wilson has been mistreated for two straight playoffs by Trotz and Co. He put up better numbers than the season before in 14 less games. When playing on the top two lines, Wilson shows signs of the offensive capability that landing him in Nashville with the 7th pick of the first round. He is also a beast on the PP and his size and stick handling help to create havoc for the other teams defenders. So why was he benched for the playoffs yet again? It is true that the Predators brought in more talent at the trade deadline and certain players were going to suffer the press box for the adjustment, but Brandon Yip over Colin Wilson? Colin Wilson needs to be locked up for a while with a manageable contract. Aside from Suter or Weber, Colin Wilson is a must-sign for the Nashville Predators. Offer: 5 yrs, $16.25M
Andrei Kostitsyn is a goner, so who else might be here come training camp?
UFA – Paul Gaustad – Gaustad was great in the faceoff dot and on the penalty kill, but he is a very expensive option for what was essentially Smithson’s job. He also had his worst year point-wise in his entire career. Many rumors are saying that Gaustad will more than likely head back to his original team in Buffalo but if he can be lured with a contract here, he would be a welcome positional player for the 3rd/4th lines. Offer: 2yrs, $4M (although this will probably not get him back)
UFA – Brandon Yip – Inconsistent is the best way to describe Brandon Yip’s time in Nashville. He was picked up off the waiver wire for peanuts and was head-scratchingly inserted over Colin Wilson in the majority of the playoffs. He can be had for very little so bringing him back for depth purposes may be the best thing…but maybe in Milwaukee. Offer: 1 yr, $725,000 (same as last year)
UFA – Brian Mcgrattan – The role of enforcer is becoming more and more obsolete. McGrattan may be one of the nicest guys off the ice but that does not mean the Predators need to sacrifice a roster spot to have him as a constant scratch. Time to cut bait on McGrattan.
UFA – Jordin Tootoo – This is a tough one. Tootoo had his best season ever in points and showed more control by drawing penalties rather than taking them. Although his production tailed of considerably towards the end of the season and he was only brought into the playoff lineup for 3 games, it is undeniable that Tootoo can still provide that spark of relentless play and he continues to be a fan favorite. But how much does his actual play translate to working within the Predators budget? If Tootoo wants to remain a Predator, he’ll have to sign for pretty close to the same as he did last time. Because of his phenomenal year, Tootoo should get a small raise. Offer $3 yrs, $4.5M.
That wraps up the forwards for the Nashville Predators. Do you agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments below. Remember, July 1st is just around the corner.
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