Most Predators fans were quite disappointed in April. Many players were, too. Judging by the comments made during exit interviews, it’s clear that there are a few players who were frustrated that they couldn’t make a bigger difference during the Dallas series.
This offseason, there have been some additions...but there’s also been some subtractions. Two early playoff exits are the source of some serious introspection in the locker room. Which Predator has the most to prove this season?
Kyle Turris is one of the players who expressed frustration during his exit interviews. His 2018-2019 was one word: rough.
The IIHF World Championship proved to be an eye-opener for fans that swore Kyle Turris was a wasted roster spot. After being named captain for Team Canada, Turris tore up the tournament with 10 points (4 goals and 6 assists) in 10 games. Where was that Kyle Turris in gold?
To some, it might feel like Turris just continued his lackluster play from the 2018 playoffs and carried it into the 2018-2019 season. Before the opening of free agency in July, Turris himself was the subject of many rumors and speculations. After a season with just 7 goals, Turris is a prime “Prove It” candidate for 2019-2020.
Turris was limited to 55 games last season. An apparent broken foot was re-injured during rehabilitation, and it was easy to see how irritated #8 was at the end of the regular season. Turris posted 2 points (1 goal and 1 assist) in the Dallas playoff series.
With the signing of Matt Duchene, Turris could shift to the wing and find a spot somewhere in the middle-6. While the line combinations remain to be seen, look for Turris to be extra-motivated this season. If he gets off to a poor start, could David Poile look for a buyer? Would any other club be willing to take Turris’ $6 million/season cap hit? He’s signed through 2024.
The Grimaldi arbitration saga was resolved earlier this week. Grimaldi’s team filed for salary arbitration after it became clear that the Predators and Grimaldi didn’t see eye-to-eye on his next contract. After signing for one year at $1 million, Grimaldi was a guest on a local Nashville sports radio show. He expressed his motivation for this coming season after hearing the comments made during the arbitration hearing.
Arbitration hearings are probably bitter, awkward, and just uncomfortable situations. The Predators likely tried to make a case that Grimaldi was worth a little less than his new contract, and Grimaldi’s team tried to push for a higher number. For both sides, the hearing is about money. However, Grimaldi’s post-hearing comments seem to indicate that he is highly motivated for the upcoming season.
Is a player with 90 career NHL games worth $1 million? Grimaldi will have to prove his case this season. Youngsters Eeli Tolvanen, Rem Pitlick, and Anthony Richard are going to be fighting for a roster spot. Grimaldi’s efforts in the Dallas series were probably the only highlight of a disappointing postseason. I am completely Team Grimaldi if he scores like this with frequency:
Carr’s signing on July 1st made a bit of a splash, but it was quickly overshadowed by the signing of coveted free agent Matt Duchene. Carr was third in the AHL last season in scoring, notching 30 goals and 41 assists in 52 games for the Chicago Wolves.
The Wolves are the minor league club for the Vegas Golden Knights. While he tore up the ice for the Wolves, Carr only skated in six games for the Golden Knights, scoring one goal.
He has skated in 100 NHL games for Vegas and the Montreal Canadiens. His AHL record is impressive. Carr notched four goals (FOUR!) against the Milwaukee Admirals in early November 2018. How will his goal-scoring translate at the NHL level?
Carr finds himself in the mix of 4-5 forwards who are interchangeable on the bottom two lines. Players like Frederick Gaudreau, Miikka Salomäki, and Carr will be fighting for time in the lineup. Further, the “kids” in Milwaukee could also pose a threat. The coaching staff likely hopeful that Carr finds a role as a scoring winger, but his impact is less than certain. Where does Carr best fit?
The baby-faced Carr is already 27 years old. He will have to make his case to stay with the Predators and avoid demotion to the Admirals.
Feel free to weigh in below on which Predator needs to have a BIG season.