Free Agent List… UFA: Dan Hamhuis, Dan Ellis, Francis Bouillon RFA: Patric Hornqvist, Denis Grebeshkov, Cody Franson, Dustin Boyd, Andreas Thuresson, Mike Santorelli, Teemu Laakso
Salary Cap Space… About $16 million Summer Shopping List… 1 Depth defensemen - Niclas Wallin or Mike Mottau 1 Backup goaltender - Alex Auld or Yann Danis Possible Trade Bait… RW J.P. Dumont
Top 5 Prospects… 1. Ryan Ellis, D 2. Chet Pickard, G 3. Jonathan Blum, D 4. Zach Budish, RW 5. Roman Josi, D
Outlook… Nashville’s playoff exit was disappointing, but there are a lot more positives than negatives they can take from this season. Not many pundits had these Predators in the postseason before the season began; all they did was put together a 100-point campaign and give their opponents around the league fits.
They have the potential to have just as good (or better) results in 2010/11. Some important decisions must be made, though, this summer.
One of the biggest quandaries is on the blueline. Hamhuis, Grebeshkov (RFA), and Bouillon are all free agents, and the chances GM David Poile is able to keep all three is very slim. If I were Poile, Grebeshkov and Bouillon would be staying in Nashville. If Poile can only retain one of them, he may dip into free agency to find a defenseman.
Another need is in net. Ellis will likely depart for bigger and better things… so Poile must find a quality journeyman backup if he doesn’t feel prospect Mark Dekanich is ready for the big club.
As usual, I wouldn’t expect much from the Predators this summer. They already have most of their roster locked up for next year, and obviously won’t come close to spending to the cap.
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