When looking at the Predators roster, there is currently one glaring weakness that the team needs to address. Obviously I’m talking about the Predators offense; if Poile can upgrade the Predators bite a little, the team could make a serious bid for the Cup in the coming years.
Nashville has always been known for its great goaltending and elite depth on defence, but they have never truly had that scoring touch. While there were years in the past where the team had the offense, they didn’t have the overall depth they have now. I’m going to take a look at some of the options that are available to the Predators this offseason.
Here are some of the players that I hope Poile looks into this offseason:
Brooks Laich (UFA): While Laich may not be a huge offensive catalyst, he has proven that he can score and put up some points while playing with some better players. He can play all forward positions and is a good two-way player. By that description alone, he seems like a good fit for the Predators as players need to be good in all zones in order to player for Trotz. He made only $2.4 million last season, but is going to look for a large raise possibly anywhere from $3 to $4 million per year. If he is willing to play in Nashville for around $3 million a year, it wouldn’t bother me if Poile signed him. The Predators need a good power forward and someone who knows how a good power play runs.
Jussi Jokinen (UFA): The past two years in Carolina, Jokinen had started to show his scoring touch, scoring 30 last year, while his numbers did drop this year to 16 goals he was still around 52 points which would have lead the Predators in points. Jokinen made a name for himself in the shootout showing slick moves and has an impressive 54.3% success rate in them. He may just be the skill the Predators need to complement their hard working grinder team. He made 1.9 million last season and may get a slight rise due to him hitting 30 two years ago, could be a good signing for Poile if he can lock him up for about 2.5 million a year.
Ville Leino (UFA): Leino became known last year during the Flyers Stanley Cup Finals run and was quite impressive during it. Posting 21 points in 19 games, he showed he can handle the pressure of the playoffs which is something Poile must be looking at. While he didn’t hit 20 goals this year, he has tons of skill and has proven he can play a good offensive game which is what the Predators desperately need. While he currently makes under a million a heft raise is in order, but anything over 3 million is too much to pay for a streaky forward, but hopefully Poile takes a good look at him.
Zach Parise (RFA): While this may seem farfetched, I can guarantee tons of teams are looking at him and are tempted to offer sheet or trade for this kid. IF the Predators want to show they are serious in their claims to make a cup contender, than the addition of Parise makes them one instantly with the re-signing of Weber. Nashville has tons of Defensive depth to give away and some that New Jersey may covet and if Poile can throw a package together that Lou can’t refuse this deal may actually happen. While this is only speculation and optimism on my part, I feel Parise completes this team. He has only once not scored 30 goals in a season, and that was his rookie year. This year he didn’t but he only played 13 games. He will command a hefty price tag but in the end would be worth every penny.
Alexander Radulov (Still Under Contract): It seems like every offseason for Predator fans we revisit the what if’s about Radulov. What if he still played for us; how far would we go; how many goals is he capable of? We may never find out, but according to Poile Radulov and Fenton talked this summer about the possibility of him returning as Fenton mentioned trading his rights and Radulov asked him not to as he would like to play for Nashville if he did return. To me, Radulov returning is less likely than us acquiring Parise, but if he did return he would be the offense the team needs. He adds the scoring touch as well as play making abilities and soft hands. He was the Predators answer to their offensive troubles but in the end it was not meant to be. If he does return though at the price of under a million for a year and what he can bring, he adds a true threat to the Predators offense.
Greg Duley (@G_Duley)