Nashville Predators fans got a glimpse of what General Manager David Poile and the organization might do this offseason when he spoke at the 2015 Music City Sports Fest on Saturday.
Poile took questions from the fans, addressed what might happen when free agency starts July 1 and revealed the logo for the 2016 All-Star Game coming to the Music City.
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) May 30, 2015
David Poile Pleased With Core
One of the biggest things to come out of the Q&A session was that Poile is pleased with the core of the team. He said that he isn’t really going to be that active bringing in other players on July 1. Brooks Bratten tweeted as much.
"I would like to see the majority of this team to come back next year (and see how far we can go)." -David Poile #Preds
— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) May 30, 2015
Poile said that most of the work will be done in trying to bring back restricted free agents like Colin Wilson, Craig Smith and others. The Predators only five forwards that aren’t in any type of free agency.
However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any new blood coming to Nashville. David Poile said that there’s a hope to bring in Hobey Baker nominee Jimmy Vesey after his senior year at Harvard concludes. Poile also revealed that Swiss prospect Kevin Fiala is guaranteeing that he’ll make the team.
Bringing Back Fisher & Ribeiro
The one concern that Nashville fans have is if centers Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher will come back next season. Poile said that re-signing them is a top priority.
“Fisher and Ribeiro are two guys we really want to get under contract soon,” Poile said during an appearance at the Music City Sports Festival in Nashville, according to the Predators website.
Fisher was limited by injuries last year, but it’s undeniable that he’s a veteran presence in the locker room. He’s one of the faces of the franchise and he’s a valuable piece if Nashville wants to advance in the postseason.
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Mike Ribeiro was a bargain-basement find last offseason and ended up being second in points with 62. Ribeiro exceeded expectations and really helped speed up the development of Filip Forsberg. There were concerns that Ribeiro’s past behavioral issues would pop up, but that did not happen.
The Preds offense was lackluster at times late in the season, and getting Fisher and Ribeiro back for next season will be critical.
Franson, Santorelli Not Expected Back
David Poile also said that Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli are likely not to return to the team. Poile also revealed that he would probably look to promote from within meaning players like Viktor Arvidsson and Fiala would be getting an opportunity to make the big club.
The deal for Franson and Santorelli cost the team its first round pick in the upcoming draft. The deal was a swing and a miss for the team as they thought they would be two bodies needed for a deep playoff run.
Volchenkov and the Predators have discussed a deal to bring the defenseman back for another season. However, Poile said that the team might go in a different direction in the offseason. Volchenkov was usually on the third defense pair if he played. It will be interesting to see if he comes back or if they go with Victor Bartley.
It seems that things will be quiet in Smashville this July. There is a good core, but I do think getting some more center and forward help would be good. It will be key to bring the UFAs and RFAs that are on the club.
There’s a good thing going, but it needs some work if they want to challenge in the meat grinder known as the Central Division. However, the lack of huge names in free agency means a club like Nashville should be smart where it spends its nearly $30 milion in cap space.
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Covered hockey since attending SUNY Oswego in Upstate New York in the early 2000s. Has written about college, major junior and professional hockey for the last five years.
Resides in Watertown, NY.