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In the aftermath of the Nashville Predators trading away Dan Hamhuis and Jason Arnott there’s been some talk Predators GM David Poile made those moves to perhaps clear space to pursue a big name free agent star.
Over the weekend The Bleacher Report suggested Poile might target New Jersey Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk, slated to be the star in this summer’s UFA market.
The report suggests the Predators might not be amongst Kovalchuk’s preferred destinations but claimed they have the cap space to afford his anticipated salary demands of $7.5-$9 million per season plus have an up-and-coming roster.
Other options might include San Jose’s Patrick Marleau, Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec or Phoenix’s Matthew Lombardi.
What the author of this bit overlooks is the Predators, for their vaunted “cap space” are under a self-imposed cap for next season believed to be between $45-$47 million, meaning the $38.8 million they’ve currently got committed to 17 players for next season leaves them less than $10 million in cap space, not the $20 million they might have if they could afford to spend up to next season’s anticipated cap ceiling.
Furthermore, as noted by The Tennessean, the Predators are more likely to commit their available cap space toward re-signing promising young players like Patric Hornqvist, Cody Fransen and Dustin Boyd.
Having dealt away Hamhuis they’ll likely try to re-sign defenseman Denis Grebeshkov, a restricted free agent they acquired at the trade deadline from the Edmonton Oilers, as well as Ryan Parent, whom they received from the Philadelphia Flyers in the Hamhuis deal.
While I’ll admit anything’s possible I would expect the Predators to stay well under the salary cap, use their available space to retain their young talent, and shun the big names in this summer’s UFA market.
About the Author: B.D. Gallof is a published writer and hockey blogger. He writes about Hockey, NY Islanders & the NY Islanders venue situation for CBS New York. BD has been written up in Sports Illustrated, TSN.ca, the NY Times Slapshots blog, Yahoo's Sports and SportsBusiness Journal. He has been a featured blogger for The Huffington Post, as well as owner, lead writer, and managing editor at HockeyIndependent.com.