With the season rapidly approaching, the Predators are putting a final shine on their roster. Over the summer, Nashville has acquired pro players Brett Connolly, Oscar Klefbom, Cedric Paquette, Lance Bouma and Dalton Prout. Going back the other way were pro players Justin Faulk, Sami Vatanen and Nick Spaling. Along with these moves, several prospects changed hands in the various deals.
While the Predators lost two very good defensemen, they improved on offense and depth. At the same time, these trades left Nashville with cap room to improve further this season. This will also push back the introduction of younger players like Brett Ritchie, Tobias Rieder, Derrick Pouliot and Beau Bennett, while providing quality call-ups if needed.
To start the year, the Predators will most likely field this line-up:
Simmonds (77) – Schwartz (77) – Iginla (79)
Pouliot (74) – Staal (74) – Bernier (74)
Higgins (72) – Bouma (75) – Richardson (71)
Paquette (70) – Girgensons (72) – Connolly (68)
Mcdonagh (76) – Mitchell (73)
Alzner (74) – Prout (73)
Klefbom (71) – Holden (71)
Varlamov (84) – Stalock (71)
Sitting at around $40M in salary commitment with this line-up, the team still have room for an additional $5M in salary before the start of the season. At the deadline, the team could probably add over $20M if necessary.
With this roster, the Predators are aiming for another playoffs participation this year. Depending on the potential acquisitions over the year to fill out the cap, Nashville could perhaps even challenge the Detroit and St-Louis powerhouses for the division title.
Now that most of the roster is set, GM Tremblay is looking at the new potential endorsements available from the latest league negociations. With reduced ticket prices, we hear the Predators are on the verge of signing with Comcast Sportsnet for their television rights. On top of that, it is believed the team has had talks with Reebok, Busch and Kraft, although no decisions have been made so far.