Say what you will, but the Nashville Predators are in bit of a pickle this off-season. With twenty players up for possible trade, General Manager David Poile has his hands full and quite a few difficult decisions to make. While most fans are focused fully on who the Predators can get to sign first (Suter or Weber), others are wondering what will become of the smaller pieces that made up the 2011-12 season. Below is a list of who’s up for grabs on the Predators roster in this off-season.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS:
Colin did pretty well during the regular season, but the young Center was faced with an all too familiar post-season during the playoffs. However, in what games he did manage to slip into, Wilson proved his worth for the Preds. Due to his leadership during this pivotal time, Colin Wilson – who was once considered good as gone – has now given us all a second thought. CURRENT SALARY: $875,000
Some would say keep SK74, others would say set his inconsistency free. Per reports, the younger Kostitsyn wants to re-sign with the Predators and, on record, he has done much better in the NHL with the Predators than former and draftee team, the Montreal Canadiens. Yet, this is the second-straight playoff season SK74 has disappeared and it may or may not effect his future with Nashville. CURRENTLY SALARY: $2.5 Million
There’s no doubt the David Poile will make El Capitan an offer, but will it be what he wants? After last off-season’s commotion, it’s more likely Poile will want to nip Weber’s contract extension in the bud before the media blows it out of proportion. Up for the Norris Trophy once again, Weber truly has the upper hand in his RFA situation. CURRENT SALARY: $7.5 Million
The long lost Russian returned to the team is deserted four years ago just in time for the playoffs and, at the beginning, proved successful for the Cup-hungry Preds. After a bout of immaturity and lack of discipline, Poile has made it clear Radulov will not be returning to the Predators line-up in the Fall. Wether he returns to the KHL or is traded amongst the NHL, Radulov will not be in Nashville next season. CURRENT SALARY: $984,000
One of the most likely trades of the off-season will more than likely involve a one, Anders Lindback. Although he may not bring a first or second rounder, Anders has proven himself ready as a starter and, with Pekka’s 7-year contract, it’s time for Lindy to see greener pastures. Jeremy Smith will be the likely backup to Pekka if Anders is enviably traded. CURRENT SALARY: $738,000
Jack Hillen is a fence rider, so to say. Some are dead-set on believing Hillen is gone, others believe he flies so far under the radar, there’s no way he won’t be on the roster next season. Head Coach Barry Trotz has shown favor in the D-Man, but again, Hillen is currently riding the fence. CURRENT SALARY: $650,000
JEREMY SMITH – As a possible replacement of Anders Lindback and backup to Pekka Rinne, it is likely Smith will not be traded during the off-season. Looks like the Admirals goalie is in the clear.
JON BLUM – Blum was able to knock out thirty-three games before being sent to Milwaukee, but don’t let that misfortune fool you. Similar to Wilson, Blum is a hit or miss when it comes to trading. However, Blum will probably stay with Nashville for a second season.
CHRIS MUELLER – As the leader scorer for the Admirals, Mueller is unlikely to be traded this off-season, but will he see more than four games on the NHL level this coming season?
ZACH STORTINI – Stortini only played one game with the Predators before Brian McGrattan was picked up. Stortini will either continue with the Admirals or the Predators will attempt to get what they can for the enforcer.
RYAN THANG – His performance was very similar to last year, but we have a feel Thang will continue on with the Admirals for another season.
BRODIE DUPONT – Not much known about this guy, but he could be in the same position as Stortini when it comes to a possible trade.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS:
As the man of the hour, Ryan Suter has say in just about where ever he wants to go and how much he’s going to make. Scary thought for both David Poile and Predators fans alike. Personally, we think Suter’s gone; just hopefully not to the Red Wings. CURRENT SALARY: $3.5 Million
Although his little brother has a good chance of staying another year with Nashville, the future doesn’t look to bright in the Music City for the oldest Kostitsyn. AK46 did well in Nashville, but he and his brother did not power together as hoped. Where Andrei will go, there’s no telling, but the chances of his return to the Predators is almost unlikely. CURRENTLY SALARY: $3.25 Million
As one of the best known players in Predators history, seeing #22 go could be devastating to both the Predators franchise and fan base. Even though he put up his career-best numbers, Toots is getting swept by the tide of younger, more consistent players. Toots will more than likely return for one more season with Nashville. CURRENT SALARY: $1.35 Million
Paul Gaustad has been vocal about returning to Nashville and, as a master of face-offs and penalty killing, the feisty Center would be a sure keeper. Rumored to have said he’d take a pay cut to stay with the Preds, Gaustad’s return next season is iffy. CURRENT SALARY: $2.5 Million
Hal Gill’s leadership took a strong hold late in the season and, although side-lined during the Detroit series, through the playoffs. Like Gaustad, Gill has thrown around the idea of a pay cut to stay in Nashville and, out of the two, Gill seems most likely to stay. His future with Nashville is still in the air, though. CURRENT SALARY: $2.25 Million
This past season may have been the last we saw of The Cube, sadly. Great guy, but unfortunately, with the younger generation taking over, Frankie is falling through the cracks. Hopefully not, but Bouillon’s days could be numbered in Nashville. CURRENT SALARY: $1.5 Million
For someone who hasn’t spent that much time on the ice, Brian McGrattan has become one of the most likable players this past season. Due to this fact, the chances of McGrattan returning are highly likely. CURRENT SALARY: $600,000
TYLER SLOAN – This vet is on the fence for the Admirals. Though he brought good leadership during the past season, Sloan could possibly be shipped off to greener pastures.
Could this be the longest post ever? Absolutely, but we want to make sure you are completely aware of who could possible be on the opposing team this Fall, like it or not. Who do you think should stay and who should go?