Predators Continue Jarring Rebuild
Following the news that the Predators were trading Defensemen Ryan Ellis to the Flyers, GM David Poile called this and the other recent moves part of a "competitive rebuild"
Poile said that this move "makes the team younger". The Predators have the 5th oldest team in the league with an average age of 27.8 and are trading 30 year old Ryan Ellis in exchange for 24 year old Philippe Myers and 22 year old Cody Glass.
What truly shocks me about this move is that it was practically a 1 for 1 swap, Ellis for Myers, because the Predators then turned around and protected Myers in the expansion draft which they could have done with Ellis.
This is a major red flag to any free agents Nashville may try to attract because in 2018, Ellis took a very team friendly, 8 year contract and was then given the cold shoulder for no apparent reason.
While Ellis' production has fallen slightly since his pinnacle year in 2018-19, he was still among the Predators top players for the past 5+ seasons. Similar to Viktor Arivdsson, injuries were very costly to Ellis. Notably he had an upper body injury in 2021 which required surgery, a leg injury which was suffered in the 2017 Stanley cup final and also required surgery and a concussion which kept him out of much of the 2020 season.
Ellis was drafted by the Predators 11th overall in the 2009 draft, signed an 8 year extension in 2018, and has been key to the Predators' past success. In 2018, Poile said he would do "everything" possible to keep Ellis and grant his wish of playing his entire career in Nashville.
Ellis spent time as the associative captain, was constantly a top 4 defensemen, and was always willing to put his body on the line to help the team win. It will be tough to see Ellis go and expectedly, he was quite disappointed by the move.
After trading Arvidsson and Ellis, the Predators cleared up 10.5m in cap room, hopefully enough to resign Mikael Granlund as well as bring in a high profile free agents (although that did not go as planned with Duchene).
In another shocking move, the Predators released their list of protected players:
F Filip Forsberg age: 26
F Tanner Jeannot age: 24
F Luke Kunin age: 23
D Alexandre Carrier age: 24
D Mattias Ekholm age: 31
D Dante Fabbro age: 23
D Roman Josi (no movement clause) age: 31
D Philippe Myers age: 24
G Juuse Saros age: 26
Notable players unprotected: Matt Duchene, Calle Jarnkrok, Ryan Johansen, and Colton Sissons
No matter how the expansion draft goes, it will be very tough on the Predators. Surprisingly, the best option for Nashville may be Seattle selecting Ryan Johansen and his $8m/year contract rather than Calle Jarnkrok or Colton Sissons.
Especially if Seattle selects Sissons, it will be extremely unfortunate for the Predators. Frankly, I think that if Seattle did as much research as they should, they will select Colton Sissons come the expansion draft on Wednesday.
Sissons, who signed a long term (7 year) , team friendly contract in 2019, is now exposed, despite having a fair salary and being among Nashville's most consistent and hardworking players. (Unlike Johansen and Duchene, which is why Seattle selecting them would be better news than Jarnkrok or Sissons). Jarnrkok is coming off a solid season, tallying 28 points in 49 games.
Nashville was the only team to protect 5 defenders, including Myers who was just acquired. The most suspiring protection by far was Tanner Jeannot. In 2020-21, Jeannot played more games in the AHL and ECHL than the NHL. The chances that Seattle would take Jeannot are extremely slim and the Predators sacrificed a lot of talent to protect him. So far, even with all these other huge moves this offseason, I think this may be David Poile's worst decision but we will see how the draft unfolds.
Overall, this offseason is a huge shock because while I expected significant change, I did not it to the magnitude of a Pekka Rinne retirement, Viktor Arivdsson and Ryan Ellis trade, and an appalling protection list, all in the span of 2 weeks.
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