Updated: Oct 19, 2021
Coming off a Round 1 Loss against the top seeded Carolina Hurricanes, the Predators underwent a serious shake up which saw the exit of Ryan Ellis, Viktor Arvidsson, Calle Jarnkrok, and more.
Described as a "competitive rebuild" by GM David Poile, the Predators opening day roster will be vastly different than a year ago.
The offseason began with Viktor Arvidsson being traded to the Los Angeles King. While the compensation was hardly noteworthy, the Predators cleared $4m in cap room. In recent seasons, Arvidsson underperformed expectation, seemingly due to his injury history. Following the 2018-19 season when Arvidsson set a Predators record with 34 goals, he was far less impactful as he battled with serious, lingering injuries.
The trade of Assistant Captain and top 4 defensemen Ryan Ellis was slightly more surprising. Similarly, his production dropped considerably in recent seasons and he also battled with injuries. Ellis went from easily one of the team's best players during the 2017 Stanley Cup Final run to a noticeably slower and less effective defensemen.
The other notable exits were Calle Jarnkrok and Pekka Rinne. Jarknrok was selected in the 2021 Expansion Draft by the Seattle Kraken and Pekka Rinne announced his retirement in July.
While the team moved on from players who have been imperative over the past 5 seasons, their recent production was insignificant to the team's success. Arvidsson, Ellis, and Rinne were among the team's most important players when they were successful in the playoffs but in 2020/21, they played a small role. Now, the team will look far different as they replace some of the team's most well-known players.
Below are the Predators Notable Offseason Acquisitions and Young Players who could make an impact:
Philippe Myers D
Acquired in the Ryan Ellis trade with Philadelphia, Myers is a big, physical defensemen who will have a spot on the opening night lineup. Myers, 24, is very athletic and quick, especially for someone who is 6'5 210lbs. In the Predators final preseason game on Saturday, Myers spent time playing alongside Matthias Ekholm. Due to his age, size, the fact that he went undrafted, and the fact that it was widely agreed that he was quite poor at many points last season, Myers is a high risk, high reward defensemen.
Cody Glass F:
Cody Glass was drafted 6th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft and was the Golden Knights first selection in franchise history and is a very intriguing addition. At just 22, we have not seen his full potential and after things did not work out in Vegas, this is a chance for Glass to bounce back. He has great playmaking ability and very high potential though has struggled so far due to injury and other factors. His potential is very high and many believed he was on pace to become a top-6 forward prior to injuries and his struggle in Vegas.
Egor Afanasyev F:
20 year old Egor Afanasyev was drafted by the Predators 45th overall in the 2019 NHL draft. He scored 2 goals and an assist in Nashville's 6-2 preseasons win against the Lightning. Coach John Hynes said he looks "really good" and "catches your eye in practice and makes a strong impression". On Sunday, the Predators assigned Afansyev along with young defensemen Jeremy Davies to the Milwaukee Admirals. This was likely not an easy decision and I anticipate seeing Afanasyev later this season.
Phiip Tomasino F:
Tomasino was drafted by the Predators 24th overall in the 2019 draft. Tomasino, 20, spent the 2020-21 season with the Chicago Wolves (AHL) where he recorded 32 points in 29 games and a 20 +/-. Tomasino has received a lot of buzz recently and is a highly anticipated prospect. I am very excited to see what Tomasino brings to the table and he helps continue GM David Poile's "youth movement" which he coined last season.
Overall, I have a surprising amount of confidence about the 2022 Predators. While the lost players had made significant contributions over the past 5+ seasons, they had minimal impact during the 2020-21 season when the Predators competed with one of the best teams in the NHL in the first round of the playoffs.