The Nashville Predators made huge moves in the days preceding free agency, moving out Nick Bonino to the Minnesota Wild and buying out the remaining four years of Kyle Turris’ contract. That freed up more than $8MM for the team, and since then they’ve only used a small portion of it. Mark Borowiecki, Nick Cousins and Matt Benning were all brought in as depth options, but the Predators still haven’t made the big splash that was expected.
Today, when speaking with the media including Adam Vingan of The Athletic, Predators GM David Poile explained that that may not be done yet:
I think we’re open and we have cap space. I think we’re going to look for opportunities.
Unlike normal years where free agency is essentially finished just a few days after it begins, there are still real difference-makers available right now. Three of our top-10 ranked unrestricted free agents are still unsigned, though Mikael Granlund is one of them and likely isn’t making a return to Nashville. The other two, Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov, are both high-powered offensive weapons that could change the look of the Predators upfront. Poile was quick to point out today that Nashville is one of only a handful of teams in the league that can already boast four 30-goal scorers, though none of the players he is referring to actually did that in 2019-20.
Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen still make up the core of the forward group for Nashville, but all of them significantly trailed defenseman Roman Josi in points this season. In fact, only Forsberg scored more goals than the Norris winner with 21, the team’s only player to crack the 20-goal threshold. Even in the shortened season, Hoffman and Dadonov meanwhile scored 29 and 25 respectively and were 70-point players as recently as 2018-19.
There are more than just those two available, meaning the Predators have much to choose from over the next few days and weeks. With nearly $13MM in cap space and only Luke Kunin to sign among notable restricted free agents, there is also plenty of room to fit in more than one player if necessary.