We’ve asked people who cover the former teams of the new Predators, and weigh in with their insight. This is Part 1—since Nashville has likely one more free agent to sign, that will be Part 2, after it happens.
Mark Borowiecki - via Eric Doty (@BonksMullet on Twitter)
“Borowiecki (more affectionately known as Borocop) is a bottom-pairing defender who’s worth the contract even if he doesn’t play a minute on the ice.
Outside of literally breaking up a robbery last season (you can find a link for this easily), he’s become a vocal ally of Black Lives Matter and LGTBQ2 communities.
He also took over the Capital City Condors hockey program for children with special needs when Kyle Turris left for Nashville a few years ago. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better person in hockey.
If, unlike Ottawa Senators fans, you have an expectation that your players play well on the ice, he still has some game left in him.
While he used to find himself out of position by chasing big hits around the ice, he’s calmed down his game and can play a steadier shutdown role. And while he secured a roster spot years ago thanks to his willingness to drop the gloves, he’s more or less eliminated fighting from his game.
I don’t expect him to make a huge impact on the ice, but you couldn’t ask for a better dude on your team. He’s also a great Instagram follow (@itsborocoprunning)”
Matt Benning - via SDH0809 from Copper and Blue
“Benning is a reliable third-pairing defender who can occasionally fill in for a top four defenseman. After a series of decent, if not remarkable years for the Oilers, Benning had concussion issues in the 2019-2020 season. Since he’s 26, it stands to reason that he should still have couple good years left in his career.
This concussion trouble and the sheer number of young defenders ready to step into a third pairing role are among the reasons Benning no longer fit the Oilers. Another reason is, of course, that for the Oilers Benning would have a two million a year price tag and that’s just not feasible with the Oilers cap situation.
The lovely writers here at On the Forecheck can look up Benning’s statistics, but what Benning’s stats don’t say is that he is a serviceable skater, has fairly decent positioning (just don’t play him above his level too much), is more physical than one might expect because he’s not physically imposing when you look at him. Benning should put up enough points to be useful as a defensive defender. If he can stay healthy, Benning is a decent acquisition at one million per year.”
Nick Cousins - via AJ Alexander of GoldenKnightsWatch.com
“Cousins had potential to carve out a role for himself in Vegas, where he quickly developed a rep for being the “ultimate shit disturber,” a self-attached tag. Things went OK for him in the few regular-season games he had with Vegas, but he ultimately disappeared in the playoffs. That said, so did a lot of other Golden Knights, so a two-year deal at a fair price to see if he can stretch what will likely be a fourth-line spot into something more is a decent move for a team like Nashville.”
Nick Cousins - via Jason Paul of WaveIntel.org
“Nick Cousins might be best known for his time with the Montreal Canadiens as the player whose deployment on the power play puzzled fans and media alike. But it illustrated the trust Habs coach Claude Julien had in his bottom-6 forward; a player who did his limited-role job to perfection. In fact, on a rate basis, he out-performed Jonathan Drouin on the power play, and also had some of the best five-on-five on-ice numbers on the team including a 57 xGF%.
Cousins is not flashy, but his error-free play on the ice made him a fixture in the lineup for Canadiens, and sought after at the trade deadline when the Canadiens traded him to the Vegas Golden Knights for a fourth round pick.”
Jason was also kind enough to provide a couple of data visualizations (which are incredible) regarding Cousins: