In the wake of the Nashville Predators second-round elimination from the 2018 playoffs at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets in a Game 7 showdown last night, Emily Kaplan of ESPN.com reports that despite last night’s disaster, they’re in good shape going forward if they stay the course.
However, she makes strong suggestions for what general manager David Poile should do moving forward and throughout the upcoming summer.
She suggests they re-sign restricted free agents Ryan Hartman and Juuse Saros and recommends they keep getting younger, including keeping an eye on prospect defenseman Dante Fabbro.
According to the information provided by CapFriendly, the Predators have $67.5 million invested in 19 players and do have enough cap space to re-sign Hartman and Saros and still leave some room for additions if Poile feels the need to make some upgrades on the free-agent or trade market.
While most Predators insiders do not expect significant changes to the roster during the offseason, it is almost certain that unrestricted free agents Scott Hartnell, Mike Fisher, Alexei Emelin and Anders Lindback aren’t likely to be re-signed.
The Predators and Poile have more important priorities as they need to be sure they have sufficient cap space to re-sign Ryan Ellis, Kevin Fiala and Colton Sissons by next summer.
There are also a lot of questions on what will take place with starting netminder Pekka Rinne, who is also slated for UFA status next summer. Following last night’s disaster, Sportsnet insider Nick Kypreos was highly critical of Rinne's play during a segment on the Canadian broadcast this evening and he stated flatly that he believes Rinne may be done in Nashville. As we all know now they did in fact fail to make it back into the game.
"I am just shocked at Pekka's play in that first period. They better come back and find a way to win or I think this will be it for Pekka there in Nashville, I don't think he can rebound off of this."
The Predators could decide to wait and see and talk contract extension later on with the 35-year-old goaltender. While there might not be any important changes for now, the team is still expected to look different in October...