We’re roughly three weeks away from both the NHL Draft and Free Agency and seemingly the only question on most Preds fans minds right now is whether or not Kyle Turris will be with the team next year.
It’s a fair question. There have been plenty of rumors circulating that Turris would have long hit the dusty trail before the start of the 2020-21 season, yet we haven’t heard so much as a peep from the organization about it…yet. I say “yet” because I trust the accuracy of the report from On The Forecheck writer Bryan Bastin — who does his research, to say the least, and he’s a friend.
Whether or not Turris remains with Nashville after the next month or two could already be written in ink, but for the time being he’s a part of the Predators roster and the team has to factor him into the lineup going towards free agency.
Which leads me to today’s Martel Mailbag! As we’re getting closer to offseason crunch time, I’ve received a flurry of questions surrounding that exact topic and I’ll do my best to answer each one I have…
Taylor Franklin (@tfranklin63) – “What is the appropriate emotional response to Dallas being in the Stanley Cup Final? Should I feel better about the Winter Classic? Should it piss me off more? Help me, Martel. Help all of us…”
I’ve always enjoyed the idea of the Dallas Stars hockey team.
One of my favorite hockey moments of all time was the 2008 Western Conference Semifinals match-up between the Stars and San Jose Sharks. Four of the six games went to overtime with Dallas winning three of those four — most dramatically the series-clincher in a four-overtime Game 6. If you want to go watch the highlights, I fully encourage you to do so here.
Saying that, it’s my personal preference that whatever Eastern Conference team that heads to the Stanley Cup Final be the one to lift the Cup at the very end. If it’s the Islanders, that should make it even easier for Predators fans.
And no, it shouldn’t upset you in any way to see Dallas be where they are. They’re a good hockey team.
Machete Pro (@MacMacAnally) – “What would the Preds have to give Seattle to pick Austin Watson in the expansion draft?”
If I’m Seattle, Austin Watson isn’t the target I’m looking at when it’s time for the expansion draft.
Assuming Nashville only protects three defensemen — namely Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Mattias Ekholm — the clear choice for the Kraken would be grabbing Dante Fabbro if he’s unprotected.
If you end up protecting four defensemen, you’ll likely leave some juicy offensive prospects open to being grabbed, potentially someone like Rem Pitlick. And that’s something I don’t think the Predators would want to do.
This is still almost a year away, however, so we have plenty of time to dissect that.
Mobile Tiger (@Tiger_Mobil) – “Likelihood [Kyle] Turris gets moved before the next season?”
My honest opinion? If he’s not bought out by the end of the first week of free agency, then he’s probably going to be with Nashville this upcoming season.
That being said, I’d put the odds at around 30 percent that he’s actually moved. Predators General Manager David Poile isn’t one to choose the buyout option all that often.
According to CapFriendly, Poile and the Predators have bought out seven players total since 2011:
J.P. Dumont ($2.667m, 2011), Brett Lebda ($933k, 2011), Hal Gill ($1.33m, 2013), Rich Clune ($566k, 2015), Viktor Stalberg ($4.667m, 2015), Eric Nystrom ($2m, 2016), and Barret Jackman ($1.33m, 2016). They haven’t used one since.
And based on CapFriendly’s FAQ for Buyouts, Nashville would be on the hook for two-thirds of the remaining salary owed to Turris, which is $16 million — almost four times what they paid Stalberg when buying him out five years ago.
Not only that, but that $16 million for Turris would stretch out for eight years if they bought him out before the start of the next season, meaning he’d be earning a $2 million dollar check (and Nashville would subsequently be levied an equal cap hit) every year until right about his 38th birthday.
Eight years of paying Turris. That’s a lot to digest.
PredatorsFix (@FixPredators) – “Maybe a minority opinion, but I really enjoyed having Holzer as an addition on the blue line. Any chance in this universe we keep him you think?”
In this universe, the one that saw Holzer play a total of three games in a Predators sweater after trading Matt Irwin to the Anaheim Ducks for him in February, I don’t think there is a chance that Holzer will ever step foot back in Nashville as a member of the organizational roster.
I mean, why? It would make no sense to re-sign him. They didn’t use him when they had him, so why bring him back to the team when they clearly didn’t need him in the first place.
Rabin Nimmo (@nimlaw) – “What’s wrong with this team, and is there any reason for optimism to think that Hynes can turn it around?”
The two biggest issues I think this team faces going into the 2020-21 season are addressing the lack of true secondary scoring and a dwindling amount of confidence that the players can fully execute over the course of 60 minutes.
Nashville’s been exposed over the last couple of years, finding themselves at the mercy of the JOFA line’s offensive prowess and visibly struggling to find any sort of scoring ability when they’re not able to light the lamp.
One of the bigger issues, though, has been the team’s inability to fight off adversity. 22 times this season the Predators gave up four or more goals and lost the game. 16 of those 22 they allowed five or more goals.
They’ve had a knack for getting down by a goal or two in a game and allowing it to exponentially get worse before trying to actually reset and kicking themselves back into gear.
If the Predators don’t want to see their “window of opportunity” effectively slammed shut, they have to generate some offense on a more consistent basis outside of the top line and get back to almost an old-school Predators-style approach to their game.
Grant Brasher (@GrantDBrasher) – “Give us your perfect offseason.”
My perfect offseason? A vaccine is discovered for COVID-19 before December and we all enjoy unfettered access to hockey for the 2020-21 season.
Thanks for the questions this week, folks! We’ll run another mailbag soon. There were a couple of questions I couldn’t get to and have saved them for the next one, but if you have questions, send them to me on Twitter @kmartel_sports and use the hashtag #MartelMailbag or email them to me at email@example.com!