One thing is true: people always try to learn from past mistakes. Fortunately for the Nashville Predators fanbase, general manager David Poile is completely obsessed with not repeating a fatal mistake he made six years ago. So much, that his main priority has taken over the offseason despite other important moves to consider to allow the Preds to have a longer Cup run next spring.
Poile does not want to lose a key asset for nothing, and knows this sad story too well. Ever since he lost Ryan Suter to free agency and the Minnesota Wild back in 2012, the Preds general manager is focused on not letting that happened once again. This summer, his focus is on star defenseman Ryan Ellis, who is looking for a contract extension despite having one year left on his deal before becoming an unrestricted free agent in July 2019.
According to NHL insider Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, the plan is for the Predators to do everything they can to get Ellis signed this summer.
"Poile on Friday told The Athletic it’s the top offseason priority for the team. He has already had communication with Ellis’ agent Rick Curran and the two plan to talk again at the draft in Dallas," revealed LeBrun in his latest column.
Everyone knows that Ellis has been quite the bargain since 2014, when he signed a a five-year, $12.5 million deal, which carries a $2.5 million cap hit. Ellis has been one of the best bargains in the National Hockey League, but things are about to change. Many experts believe he is going to get paid now, especially after putting up great numbers in the past seasons, despite a long-term injury that sat him out for the first half of the past season.
However, Poile shouldn't forget about other important matters to handle in the offseason. The team also needs to look at re-signing restricted free agents Ryan Hartman and Juuse Saros, while 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 Poile cannot only focus on what he needs to offer Ellis.
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, Alexei Emelin and Anders Lindback aren’t likely to be re-signed. Veteran Mike Fisher has announced his (second) retirement after Game 7 of the second round, however, Poile might feel the need to make some upgrades on the free-agent or trade market.