Ahead of tomorrow's arbitration hearing on the RFA Qualifying Offer issue, Nashville Predators GM David Poile gave a radio interview yesterday with 104.5 The Zone, covering the Matthew Lombardi/Cody Franson trade, tomorrow's hearing, and the whole gamut of his summer activities. You can listen to it here:
The one bit that got people excited last night was when Poile floated the notion of a 3rd pairing this fall that would be "two of four kids... new to the NHL", likely meaning two out of the trio of Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, and Mattias Ekholm, none of whom have played an NHL game yet, with the fourth perhaps being Teemu Laakso, who has all of 8 career games with the Preds.
Look, I'm as excited about these prospects as the next Preds fan, but this possibility (probability?) gives me pause. First, it includes an underlying assumption that Francis Bouillon is not in the lineup, as he'd either be on that 3rd pair, or bump someone like Jonathon Blum down there.
Secondly, we have to remember that these kids aren't just going to be new to the NHL, they're new to each other, too, with Josi spending last season with the Admirals, Ellis in junior, and Ekholm in Sweden. Putting two of these guys out there together as a pairing every night seems to be a plan fraught with peril.
I'm not saying we won't, or shouldn't, see such a lineup at some point this upcoming season, but I hope that it's Plan C or Plan D on the contingency list if things go awry, rather than the preferred option heading in to training camp. We heard a lot of talk like this two summers ago at the Skate of the Union, where it's natural for the GM to hype his prospects. Back then I said that "to throw them all into the mix at the same time would appear to be reckless". I'd say the same today about Josi, Ellis and Ekholm today that I did about Franson, Sulzer and Laakso in 2009.
That fall, as the season approached, Francis Bouillon was brought in as a veteran addition to the roster. Will his return to health obviate the need to play all these kids right away, or will a different name get worked into the mix? That will bear watching as training camp opens in September, and the remaining free agents get more desperate (and affordable) in their search for an NHL roster spot.
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Jeremy transcribed yesterday's radio interview on the fly and had instant reaction.
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