OTF Mailbag: Offseason moves and lineup questions
Since the season ended only a handful of days, it's reasonable that you have questions and we may just have answers. Kristopher Martel and Marya K are here to address them for you
1) What is it going to take to resign Calle Jarnkrok and do we go for 1 to 2 years?
Kristopher Martel - I think Jarnkrok will be a much different situation for David Poile and company than Filip Forsberg. While Jarnkrok is a very good player that can be utilized in different roles, he shouldn't command an expensive raise -- at least until his next contract. As he turns 25 in September, I'm thinking we may see a three year deal here to bridge him over into unrestricted free agency. If not, two years will be the number. I don't see it being lower than that.
Marya K - Jarnkrok's qualifying offer this summer is a paltry $771,750 according to CapFriendly, and while he had a career year, he still should not command too large of a raise. He's a very smart utility player, and their value is inversely proportional to their salary. I'd aim for two years with an AAV of 1.5.
2) Who should Predators keep, let go, and/or sign in offseason?
KM - Nashville's current roster will be largely intact come September. You're going to see players like Paul Gaustad and, more than likely, Carter Hutton hitting the dusty trail in search of greener pastures. Eric Nystrom is a player I'd like to see potentially bought out by the team, but I'm not sure if the Predators will go that route. One more defensemen and maybe a top-six forward will be something Nashville needs to pick up. There are some options out there, but we may get a clearer picture here in the coming weeks.
MK - They should keep most of the roster. They should let Gaustad retire with dignity, Nystrom move on to game ops, and Hutton to pursuing his dream as a starter until he blessedly returns and takes over the FST color role. They need to figure out the 5/6D roles and at least try to sign a top six forward--not too hard, though. Don't give Backes a 5x6m.
3) Any chance they at least gauge interest, maybe even just a simple phone call with Radulov?
KM - You'd have a better chance seeing Shea Weber retire next season than Alexander Radulov ever suiting back up for the Predators. It's just not going to happen. Put it out of your minds for good.
MK - Hahahahahahaaaaa....no.
To answer the question seriously, Radulov is a headache with persistent behavioral issues and I don't want to see if he can concuss any more of our players. Let him go damage another team.
4) Can we start thinking of the Preds as a team that will spend up to/near the cap going forward?
KM - I don't think Nashville will ever be a cap-ceiling team. David Poile has largely built this team with smart and affordable contracts. Outside of Weber's offer sheet being matched and the occasional "eh, that's not very good" deal (i.e. David Legwand, Colin Wilson, Paul Gaustad, Eric Nystrom), the Predators are a penny-pinching bunch. As long as Poile and ownership continue on the same page, that won't change in the future.
MK - With Weber's salary, Nashville being a budget team is incredibly overstated. That said, I do believe the organization is ready to invest more money into players than they have historically. The key is for Poile to continue spending money wisely. More contracts like Ekholm, less contracts like that lost summer of 2013.
5) Is GM David Poile the right guy to assembly a team that go make a good deep run?
KM - Absolutely. Until he decides to retire from hockey, Poile isn't going anywhere. Sometimes I feel as if he's too emotionally invested into certain situations, like Ryan Suter and Jimmy Vesey, but for the most part he's one of the most experienced general managers in the league and definitely one of the most respected.
MK - I have a lot of faith in Poile. Like all general managers, he has his weaknesses, but over the past couple of years he's shown a boldness to go out and make the trades that need to be made. If he's finally been trained out of his habit of giving away first rounders like candy, all the better.
6) Any dark horse admirals players coming up next season? Ones we might not expect that you think have a great shot?
KM - With the roster pretty much being set for next season, it would take a really impressive pre-season from one of Nashville's prospects to boost them into the starting lineup come October. There are five players that come to mind being able to do that: Kevin Fiala, Max Gortz, Pontus Aberg, Freddy Gaudreau and possibly Trevor Murphy. Taylor Aronson's name would be in here too, but there's something real sketchy going on with his situation and his "suspension" where I'm not sure we'll see him tendered over the offseason.
MK - I've heard good things about Trevor Murphy and I'm really excited to see what Alexandre Carrier can do. I don't think there are any true dark horses, though. I expect Aberg or Fiala to get a full time gig as well as someone to round out the 13th forward spot.
7) Any chance we buy out Ribiero?
KM - I honestly doubt anything happens over the summer with Ribeiro. He'll be back in the lineup come October much to the chagrin of many outside Nashville. To be fair to Ribeiro, he's the anti-Colin Wilson: great performance in the regular season but soiled the bed come the playoffs. I think he may play out the last season of his deal with the Predators and then retire.
MK - I don't think so. Poile's ego probably can't handle adding Ribeiro's unnecessary signing to the list of admitted failures already on the buyout list. Best case scenario: he quietly retires or gets moved over the summer for a pick.
8) Could Kamenev play in Nashville next year?
KM - It's possible, but I don't really think it'll be long-term if he does. Possibly one of those call-ups to see what he's capable of doing when and if one of Nashville's centers goes down with any type of injury. Much like Juuse Saros, he needs a little more cooking in the oven before he's ready to be in a gold sweater on a permanent basis.
MK - I believe he could, and maybe he should get a cup of coffee later in the year to shadow Mike Fisher and put in some time at the 3C role. I don't think slotting him into the line up out of training camp is necessary or even a good idea. He's still really young.
9) Is it time to move Weber?
KM - Ah, the yearly "is it time to trade Weber?" question that we undoubtedly will field. While there are many out there who continue to preach that Weber isn't an elite defenseman, he's still one of the best defensemen in the entire league -- easily in the top 20. And not just that, but the Predators have already forked over $52 million of Weber's $68 million signing bonus on his $110 million contract. Outside of the financial numbers, he's undoubtedly the most important person in the locker room and on the ice, leadership-wise. You can't strip that away from this team right now. They need him.
MK - No. As horrible as game 96 was for him, he should remain a Predator for a long time. It's not feasible to move him, and even though Forsberg is slowly taking on the role of face of the franchise, he is incredibly important to the organization and locker room. Don't even look at the cap recapture numbers, because they will make you sick.
Thanks for all the questions here! We enjoyed doing this and will do another mailbag here soon.