Welcome back to Nashville Predators News & Rumors for The Hockey Writers. In this edition, we will briefly touch on the Viktor Arvidsson trade to the Los Angeles Kings. Secondly, we will touch on the Stadium Series game announcement that commissioner Gary Bettman made at his annual press conference. Lastly, we’re going to look at John Hynes and his future with the Predators and the impact he could have on the franchise’s future.
While July 1 is usually the day for free agent signings in any typical year, it wasn’t in this crazy COVID-19 year. Instead, we saw a significant trade of a core piece of the Predators’ forward lineup. Arvidsson was traded for two draft picks, one being a second-round pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft and a third in next year’s. For some, the value seems off, and they believe that general manager David Poile could have gotten more out of the up-and-coming team. However, Arvidsson’s last two seasons were full of underperformance, which lowered his value.
The deal for the Kings is excellent. They get a high-pace player with 25-goal potential. While he does make mental mistakes, there’s a lot to love about the player they’re getting. As for the Predators, it seems as if Poile has started to choose a direction of youth. Instead of keeping this stagnant core together, he got two futures and an open roster spot for a young player like Philip Tomasino to nab. It also allows Eeli Tolvanen to take a much more significant role in the offense as his development continues.
There are many moving pieces in this deal from the Predators’ perspective, and as much as the players might not take a liking to it, it’s essential to understand that it’s the right move to make. The value is good, so I view this as a win. The only question remaining is how Poile will use the selections and who he will draft with them. It’s vitally important to not only shake up the lineup, but use the picks that you get in the transactions to your advantage. It’s how the best teams are built.
Stadium Series Game
Commissioner Bettman has an annual press conference before the beginning of the Stanley Cup Final. He announced multiple items, such as the All-Star Game in Las Vegas and the Minnesota Wild hosting the St. Louis Blues in the Winter Classic. Additionally, he announced that the Predators would be hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nissan Stadium on Feb. 26, 2021. This is a big step for Nashville hockey, as fans have been clamoring for a Stadium Series game after the showcase at the Winter Classic in Dallas. Tons of fans flew to Texas and filled up multiple sections of bleachers at the Cotton Bowl.
The Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins were meant to take the Stadium Series game last season, but it was postponed just like every other event because of the pandemic. The Hurricanes then decided to defer the game to the 2022-23 season, which put the Predators in prime position to win the sweepstakes for the game. It’s a massive event for the city of Nashville and the organization.
John Hynes’ Future
Coach Hynes is always a hot topic around the Predators’ world. He wasn’t a popular hire by any means after Peter Laviolette was let go, and questions have continued to arise about his ability to lead the team. His contract is up at the end of the upcoming season, and with how the beginning of 2020-21 went for the team, it’s not unreasonable to be skeptical.
With Nashville, Hynes has coached the team to a 47-34-3 record. His coaching style revolves around defensive hockey and preventing the opposition from getting into the high-danger areas. However, there is a problem with his offensive scheme and how it limits the output of the players within it. It’s a common theme for both Hynes as a coach and the Predators organization. With Poile seeming to have chosen the direction of youth and Hynes’ problems in New Jersey with their young players, it does raise concern that he’s not the best fit for the job.
His scheme isn’t helping the Predators’ offense, and the youth needs to play in a system that emphasizes their strengths and limits their weaknesses. He’s not the guy to lead the team through a rebuild or even a retool. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the front office let the term play out and hire a coach after the season’s end.
As for replacements, it all depends on the open market next season, so it’s almost impossible to predict. Although, one person I’d love to see given a shot is Milwaukee Admirals coach Karl Taylor. He led the team to a league-best 41-14-5-3 record and helped many players, namely Tolvanen, become excellent two-way players. He helped boost confidence in young players, and his system emphasized offense and strong movement up the ice in transition, which is something the Predators have been sorely lacking.
There is the possibility that Hynes returns on another contract, which most people would be perplexed about even outside of Predators nation. Taylor might also not be the right coach in some eyes. Either way, it does feel like Hynes’ tenure should be coming to a close sooner rather than later.
Jeff is a consistent source for Red Wings and Wild content at The Hockey Writers. He was formerly a member of the Predators writing team, and he enjoys watching all sorts of hockey, from juniors to the pros. Jeff enjoys playing for his high school and local teams in Nashville as well. He’s a big proponent of hockey analytics, and you’ll often see him using lots of statistics and data to back up his main talking points. You can find his work here or check out his contributions on his Substack, Last Word on Hockey, On the Forecheck, and Puck Empire. Lastly, you can listen to him on the Youth Movement Podcast presented by On the Forecheck or the Triple Shift Podcast. For any inquiries about interviews or questions about statistics, analytics, or just general hockey opinions, you can message his Twitter, @jjmid04.