Central Division Offseason: Nashville Predators Outlook
With the NHL Draft Combine beginning the first week of June, we’re taking a quick lap around the Central Division to get ready for the offseason with a look at each of the Blackhawks’ division rivals. We started at the bottom with the Arizona Coyotes and we’re working our way up. Yesterday we discussed the St. Louis Blues. Today, let’s look at the Nashville Predators.
This is a big offseason for the Preds in a number of ways, but specifically at the top of the organization. David Poile has been the only general manager the franchise has ever known — until now. Former head coach Barry Trotz comes home to Nashville to assume the role of what was his boss. How will he look to shape the future of the team?
Predators 2022-23 By the Numbers
2022-23 Record: 42-32-8 – 92 points (5th in the Central Division)
2023-24 Projected Cap Space: $15.5 million
Head Coach: John Hynes
General Manager: Barry Trotz (first year)
Goals For/Game: 2.72 (28th in the NHL)
Goals Against/Game: 2.88 (12)
Power Play Pct: 17.6 (27)
Penalty Kill Pct: 82.6 (6)
Predators Offseason Outlook
Notable 2023 UFAs: Zach Sanford, Kevin Lankinen
Notable 2023 RFAs: Alexandre Carrier, Cal Foote, Cody Glass, Rasmus Aslpund, Jake Livingstone
2023 Draft Capital:
First Round (No. overall): 15, 24 (from EDM)
Second Round: NSH, PIT
Third Round: NSH, SJ, TB
Fourth Round: NSH, TB, TOR
Fifth Round: NSH, TB
Sixth Round: NSH
Seventh Round: none
Predators Offseason Headlines
The Preds added a boatload of future draft capital with two significant trades this past season. They landed a shocking five picks — including three this coming summer — from Tampa for forward Tanner Jeannot. And they also acquired a first rounder this year and a future fourth rounder from Edmonton for defenseman Mattias Ekholm.
Trotz has talked about the Preds needed a top-line star center as one of his priorities already. With their first pick at No. 15 and a lot of picks in this year’s draft, expect them to look to bolster their roster down the middle early and often at the draft.
Many thought the Preds underwhelmed in the first half of the season but surprised a few by hanging around the fringes of the playoff conversation for a while after the trade deadline. Ultimately, not having their best forward, Filip Forsberg, for more than 50 games and a huge drop-off in production from Roman Josi led to a playoff-less spring for Nashville.
The Predators had a prospect pool that Scott Wheeler at The Athletic ranked 10th in the NHL in his mid-season update. That group is headlined by Joakim Kemell, Yaroslav Askarov and Philip Tomasino.