After finishing up John Leonard’s deal earlier today, the Nashville Predators have put the finishing touches on another restricted free agent contract. Tommy Novak has signed a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.
Novak, 25, made his NHL debut this season with the Predators, playing in 27 games for the team and recording seven points. That’s a heck of a rise for a player who had to settle for an AHL contract coming out of college.
Originally a third-round selection of the Predators in 2015, he technically became an unrestricted free agent in 2019 after four years at the University of Minnesota, though had already agreed to an AHL deal with the Milwaukee Admirals by that point. He hit the ground running in the AHL, scoring 42 points as a rookie in 2019-20, and then was even better with the Chicago Wolves the following season, as the Predators shared an affiliate.
With a new deal, his focus will be on making a more regular appearance at the NHL level, and showing he belongs there as a full-time member of the roster. With strong puck skills and advanced playmaking ability, he could fit in as a player who plays limited even-strength minutes but contributes to the powerplay. Whether the Predators are open to something like that on a regular basis remains to be seen, but they now have the player to do it locked up on a league-minimum deal.