Since their disappointing showing in last year's abbreviated playoffs, the Predators have made many moves. After GM David Poile called for a "youth movement" at the conclusion of last season, he made an effort to add younger players but ended up adding a wide range of players, many of which are seasoned veterans. Beginning with the Nick Bonino trade and Kyle Turris buyout in October, the Predators revamped their roster. Below is a look at the Predators 2020-21 offseason additions.
The Predators Offseason Signings:
Defenseman Mark Borowiecki: Age 31, 6'2 205lbs
Standing at 6'2 Borowiecki is a big, physical defenseman. He has 9 years of NHL experience and will likely fit in on the Predators 3rd pairing. His deal was 2 year, $4m, which seems like a reasonable value for someone who could make an impact this season.
Forward Nick Cousins: Age 27, 5'11 188lbs
Nick Cousins appears to be one of the replacements for Austin Watson, who was traded away this offseason. Cousins signed a 2 year, $3m deal after he did not receive an offer from his former team, the Golden Knights. In the Predators scrimmage on Sunday, he recorded a goal and recorded a penalty, which seems fitting for his aggressive playstyle.
Defenseman Matt Benning: Age 26, 6'1 195lbs
In his 4 seasons with Edmonton, Benning played 248 games and recorded 61 points. He is most known for his physicality and totaled a surprising 447 hits and 239 blocked shots in his time with the Oilers. His deal was 2 years, $2m.
Forward Brad Richardson: Age: 35, 6'0 197lbs
Best known by Predators fans for scoring against Nashville in the 2020 Playin round, Brad Richardson is a physical forward with a lot of experience. He has spent 15 years in the league and is now on his 5th team. He signed a 1 year, $1m contract with Nashville.
Forward Erik Haula: Age: 29, 6'0 193lbs
Erik Haula signed with the Predators just a couple of weeks ago, very deep into free agency. Last season, he picked up 12 goals and 24 points in 48 games split between Carolina and Florida. Haula, a center, will likely fit on the second or third line to begin the season.
Defenseman Lucas Sbisa: Age: 30, 6'2 198lbs
On Monday, the Predators claimed Sbisa off waivers from the Jets. He is a big defensman with 12 years of NHL experience. He will likely compete with Borowiecki and Benning for a spot on the third pairing.
Other Acquisitions and Prospects:
Forward Luke Kunin: Age: 23, 6'0 197lbs
Kunin was acquired in the Predators October 7th trade which sent Nick Bonino to Minnesota. He is a scrappy forward, who recorded 31 points in 68 games last season. He signed a deal with Nashville this offseason after he said he would not play unless he got one.
Forward Eeli Tolvanen: 5'10, 192lbs
Tolvanen was the Predators' first round pick in the 2017 draft. Since being drafted, he has played for Jokerit, in Finland, the Admirals, and a few games with the Predators. After his first career NHL goal on December 1, 2018, Tolvanen has not seen much action in the NHL. Tolvanen is a scorer and requires players who can create chances around him. As of now, Tolvanen is on the Predators' taxi squad, a group of 6 players who will practice and travel with the team. The Taxi Squad is an effort to keep teams playing, even if they experience a Covid-19 outbreak within the team.
Forward Philip Tomasino: Age: 19, 179lbs
Tomasino, the Predators 2019 first round pick, has emerged lately, playing very well in the World Juniors. Even at age 19, Tomasino is a versatile forward who has the possibility to play some games this season. To begin the season, Tomasino is in quarantine after returning from the World Juniors and has been assigned to the AHL to begin the season.
All these new players on the roster were possible due to a few moves the Predators made over the offseason. Especially as a result of the buyout of Kyle Turris, trade of Nick Bonino, and trade of Austin Watson. The Predators also opted not to sign Craig Smith, leaving a good amount of cap room.
This season, it is very hard to know what to expect from the Predators as all but one line will likely be different as well as a new 3rd defensive pairing. I am optimistic about the season because I think the change to tougher, more physical players will be beneficial. I still believe the offense, especially the top two lines, has a lot of talent and they will be crucial in the Predators' success this season.