Sport Predators aren’t really rebuilding or contending

02:09  14 october  2021
02:09  14 october  2021 Source:   nbcsports.com

Do Mattias Ekholm and Filip Forsberg Fit Into the Predators' Long-Term Plans?

  Do Mattias Ekholm and Filip Forsberg Fit Into the Predators' Long-Term Plans? Left wing Filip Forsberg and defenseman Mattias Ekholm have spent their entire NHL careers with the Nashville Predators. However, uncertainty hangs over their futures entering the final season of their respective contracts. © Provided by Hockey News on Sports Illustrated Left wing Filip Forsberg and defenseman Mattias Ekholm have spent their entire NHL careers with the Nashville Predators.

The Predators aren ' t rebuilding . They' re trying to erase their own mistakes | Estes. And the Nashville Predators winced and took a loss. Strange as it might sound, retaining their two top centers – given their long-term deals and overpriced salaries – was the worst thing that could have happened to the Preds on Wednesday night. They’d have much rather lost Duchene or Johansen than Järnkrok.

I really want to get 2 out of taylor, Dobbins and swift with the first 2 picks but I know taking Taylor at 1.01 isnt a great value. 1.03 and 1.04 are both interested in moving up and I know they both would grab Burrow at 1.01, which should mean my worst case scenario is Dobbins at 1.03/1.04. I’ll take the legit WR1 upside over a rookie any day, since I’m sure you aren ’ t expecting either of these guys to be starters for you in week 1 anyway.

A troubling thought was truly cemented with the Mattias Ekholm contract extension: the Nashville Predators are in rebuild denial.

  Predators aren’t really rebuilding or contending © Provided by NBC Sports

No, they’re not unique in that regard. There are other teams with older, borderline-lifetime GMs who remain stubborn to accepting short-term pain for long-term gains.

Unfortunately, the Predators join the Sharks as teams uncomfortably likely to experience a lot of pain both now, and later.

To some extent, the damage has already been done. That said, the Predators can get their rebuild back on course. They just have to make some difficult choices — and one of those might involve removing that borderline-lifetime GM.

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You' re either contending or setting yourself up to contend (rather if that's a constant rebuild or if you have the assets and just letting them grow at that point). The problem is what are they going to build around him right now. He’s ready to get paid and start making the playoffs and OKC wants to cash in on their picks over the next 2-3 years. What’s the point of paying Shai now if the only benefit is to be leading a full rebuild . Shai is ready to do what Trae Young did and attempt to lead a squad into the playoffs.

Drafting bigs high in the draft based on "potential" saddles the franchise with so much risk. if you' re a rebuilding team you can afford to take this risk, but if you' re a contender with high expectations Why? Even without hindsight it remains such a weird choice. To me, all signs point to an overconfident FO who thought they could thread the needle between all these contradictory choices And now we' re seeing the result, where neither contending or developing is being achieved.

Troubling lack of vision for Predators in recent months

Break down three phases of recent Predators’ decisions, and you’ll wonder whether the team should give David Poile the old Glen Sather “promotion” out of the GM position.

Balking at the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline

Heading into the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline, many wondered if the Predators would trade Ekholm.

In retrospect, they at least should have considered trading Ryan Ellis and/or Viktor Arvidsson around that time. After all, they traded both for very meager returns during the offseason. Were there better offers during the trade deadline? Such thoughts should give Predators fans serious pause.

Either way, the Predators didn’t accelerate their rebuild during the trade deadline. This Poile quote sure makes it feel like the Predators’ process would change with moods, a streak, or maybe a gust of wind.

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For reference, I drafted Bell, Gurley and Freeman all as rookies (would like to think I am a god at scouting but it was luck) so I have some serious bias issues and I'm well aware, hence the post. What should I be asking contending teams for these guys? debatable on Michel, Freeman’s only outplayed him due to carries (which granted is a factor that can’ t be ignored). However this is dynasty, i would take Michel over Freeman whether i’m rebuilding or contending .

The giant contend line is fantastic! And they have made it much better than when I bought my 2018 contend 3. Before I had called, knowing that the street they turned onto only loops back around to meet with the one we' re already on, I move ahead to get a place near the next intersection, out of view, mind you, so I could make sure & get their plate correctly when they came back around.

“[My philosophy on the deadline] certainly changed game by game,” Poile said, via the Predators’ website.

What did the Predators leave on the table because Poile went with his heart, not his head, at that trade deadline?

Either way, the dominoes kept falling, making a shaky situation mostly look worse.

Selling low

Early in the offseason, the Predators made gestures toward a rebuild. Unfortunately, they stumbled instead of leaping forward.

A package of Cody Glass, Philippe Myers, a second-rounder, and a third-rounder might be OK for one of Ryan Ellis or Viktor Arvidsson. For both? That’s painful.

In the grand scheme of things, moving on from Ellis, in particular, made sense for a would-be rebuilder. But selling low on both Ellis and Arvidsson after they dealt with injuries that might not repeat in 2021-22? That hurts.

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Columbus wants to build their defence corps around Werenski and Seth Jones, who has two more years on his current deal. This isn’ t a scenario like the one that brought Jones to Columbus in the first place in the blockbuster with the Nashville Predators for Ryan Johansen. So that probably makes predicting other possible pieces that might lead to a deal moot, at least for the time being. Is the team closer to contending or a rebuild ? - - Garret W, @gojetsgo_17. The Jets found themselves in the murky middle last season and thanks to a second straight early exit from the post-season, trying to

Guys aren ’ t fast enough to beat out double plays. They don’t know how to keep from getting thrown out when they get on base. I took my best friend to the Saturday home game against the Red Sox after it’d been years since he watched baseball, and he was shocked at how slow our guys looked. Except for 2009, everytime we had a contending or play off bound team, they finished under their expected win-loss under Girardi. Remember when he let PHil hughes get shelled twice in the ALCS before taking him out?

And then a few gusts of wind dampened even those modest returns.

Digging in

If there’s a move that captures the spirit of how lost the Predators feel, it might be re-signing Mikael Granlund.

Don’t get it twisted; Granlund can play. It’s just that the 29-year-old’s not at the point where he’s likely to move the needle. After all, the Predators stalled out with Ellis and Arvidsson; why hand out such term for diminishing returns?

Between Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen, and Granlund, the Predators devote $21M in cap space for four seasons (plus one more with Duchene). They’re all 29-or-older, and it’s hard to imagine the ceiling going much higher.

[Preview for 2021-22 Predators season]

Once Ekholm’s extension kicks in, the Predators will invest about $15.3M in Ekholm and Roman Josi. In 2022-23, that could be a steal. Unfortunately, both Josi and Ekholm are 31, and carry serious term (Josi’s $9.059M cap hit runs through 2027-28).

If the Predators’ long-term commitments fall victim to Father Time, a bad situation could get downright dire.

Still some hope for a Predators rebuild

To some extent, the damage has already been done.

It’s hard to imagine the Predators trading away the twin $8M nightmares of Ryan Johansen (2024-25) and Matt Duchene (2025-26). Most likely, they’re stuck with them. Frankly, if there’s a deal out there, it might not be worth bribing a team with precious draft picks.

A stomach for short-term pain, long-term gains

But the Predators could still make waves with a rebuild. Doing so might require a brave soul, though, and waving goodbye to favorites.

  • Filip Forsberg, 27, is in a contract year on a $6M cap hit. Don’t pull an Ekholm and extend Forsberg. Instead, think big picture. He’s a very good player, but the timeline isn’t right for him to be that guy for the Predators.
  • Saros, 26, is a gem. In the grand scheme of things, his greatest potential value might come from a future trade. A Predators team with a clear vision is penciling in Yarsolav Askarov, 19, for the top spot eventually anyway … right? Hopefully?
  • Whenever the Predators get a reality check, few things should be sacred. That means being open-minded about trading almost anyone, including Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm.

Head over heart

To aim higher than the middle of the road, the Predators might indeed need to move on from Poile as GM.

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  Predators, Ekholm Agree to Four-Year Extension The Nashville Predators locked a key piece of the team's blueline core, giving Mattias Ekholm a four-year extension. © Provided by Hockey News on Sports Illustrated Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports In true college student fashion, the Nashville Predators are getting their important business done at the last minute. The Predators made one final important signing before puck-drop on their 2021-22 season Wednesday, agreeing to terms with defenceman Mattias Ekholm on a four-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $6.25 million.

Simply put, Poile might be too close to what he’s built with the Predators. A more objective set of eyes would see a mess. But, for the person who made those choices, it may simply be too difficult to acknowledge defeat.

It’s crucial to strike while the iron is hot, and that’s where there’s a concern with Poile running a potential (partial?) Predators rebuild. The Predators seemingly missed the ideal window to trade the likes of Arvidsson and Ellis. Will we see the same with Forsberg?

[PHT’s Central Division predictions]

Again, some damage is already done. But there’s a lane to go from middle-of-the-road to having a brighter light at the end of the tunnel.

Elite Prospects ranks the Predators’ prospect pool as 10th-best. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman places them 16th.

From Askarov to Philip Tomasino, the Predators boast some solid pieces. They just need more of them, even if it means suffering more now for better things later.

The Predators might prefer living in the playoff bubble, while hinting at a rebuild. The way things are going, though, they might not have much of a choice. The Predators might as well embrace the rebuild now.

They certainly haven’t been doing so lately.

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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Predators aren’t really rebuilding or contending originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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This is interesting!