Welcome to another edition of Nashville Predators News & Rumors. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the Ryan Ellis trade. Also, we will talk about the rumors surrounding Pavel Buchnevich and how it connects to the Predators. Then, we will touch on the news of Predators prospect Luke Prokop becoming the first openly gay player under an NHL contract. Finally, we will discuss the Seattle Kraken’s pick from the Predators, Calle Jarnkrok.
Ryan Ellis Traded to Philadelphia
On Saturday, July 17th, it was announced that the Philadelphia Flyers traded for one of Nashville’s prized possessions on the blue line, Ellis. It shocked the hockey world as the roster freeze had already come into effect, but trades were still trickling through. Chaos ensued as it became the main focus for reporters, media, and fans everywhere. The package on the way back to the Predators was defenseman Philippe Myers and Nolan Patrick. Then, news broke that general manager David Poile decided to flip Patrick to the Vegas Golden Knights for Cody Glass in a one-for-one deal.
The consensus was that the Flyers made out like bandits. Ellis is widely considered a top 20-25 defenseman in the NHL, and Chuck Fletcher wasn’t even forced to give up a draft pick or two. The return for the Predators seemed underwhelming at first, but after taking some time and watching some film, I’m starting to become more fond of it.
Myers is a large human capable of doing things that many players his size can’t do. He’s an excellent player with the puck on his stick, and his skating and athleticism for a player of his size are almost unrivaled in today’s NHL. He reminds me a lot of Victor Hedman. While obviously less talented, he can skate extremely well and carry the puck up on the rush with ease. Although he did have an awful season in 2020-21, it doesn’t paint the entire picture of what he can become with time and strong development. His floor is a top-six NHL defenseman, but he most likely will perform at a top-four level. He’s a physically imposing player that can bring a lot of skill to a defense core, and that’s something the Predators haven’t had in a while.
As for the other piece to the puzzle, Glass is an extremely skilled forward with lots of offensive upside. Both his scoring and passing instincts are ridiculously good for his age, and although some people have given up on him due to problems in Vegas, I think he has the chance to get back on the map with the Predators. He’s a player that likes to go with the flow of a game, and he remains calm in high leverage situations.
Although I would like to see his intensity ramp up a bit more, especially with his skating and urgency pursuing the puck, I’m not too concerned with his ability to produce. He has exceeded in the power play, which the Predators have been struggling on for years at this point. Any time a young player can come in and produce goals on the power play, it’s a plus. If Glass manages to hit his ceiling or even get close, he could be an excellent second-line center that can produce upwards of 50-60 points in a year.
The return is decent, and as much as I would’ve loved to see Poile pry some draft capital from Fletcher’s hands, I think there is a lot of promise with the team’s package. They should both get their shots at contributing to the lineup on a nightly basis.
Pavel Buchnevich Interest
In the most recent 31 Thoughts Rumours Roundup, Elliotte Friedman talks about Buchnevich being on the market. He’s a restricted free agent this offseason, and if the New York Rangers can’t come to terms with him or feel as if a different direction is the right path, we could see a trade for his rights. One of the first names to pop up in the article on the topic of teams interested in the forward was Nashville.
“Teams that I’ve heard that have liked him at times, St. Louis, Nashville, I’m sure there’s more,”Elliotte Friedman, NHL Rumour Roundup: Latest on Landeskog, Eichel, and is Subban available?, July 21, 2021
Buchnevich had a career season with the Rangers in 2020-21, scoring 48 points in 54 games with 20 goals. The 26-year-old, 6-foot-3 winger has been a good contributor to the top-six, but he really turned it on and proved that he was worth an investment. He has a total of 195 points in 301 games, but he’s just getting started. With the front office showing interest in several other available players on the market like Jack Eichel, his contract isn’t their main concern. It would be an interesting pickup for the Predators, considering the projection from Evolving-Hockey is 5-years for a $6.223 million average annual value (AAV). It would be a hefty investment for a team clearing cap space, but it would fit with the team’s direction.
I like Buchnevich’s game a lot, and he could definitely be a strong contributor on both ends of the ice for this Predators team. He can create goals and score them as well. Playing him with a center like Matt Duchene and another winger like Filip Forsberg or even Philip Tomasino could be deadly. I think it could very well be worth a shot; however, I wouldn’t be surprised if the ask is too high for Poile to give in to the hype.
Luke Prokop Makes History
Prokop was a third-round pick of the Predators in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He went 73rd overall and was praised for his size and ability to use his skating to advantage, primarily off the puck. However, the news that broke on July 19th had very little to do with his on-ice play. Early in the morning, he posted an image on his Twitter announcing publicly that he is gay. It’s a huge step for both Prokop personally and the league as a whole, as he became the first openly gay player under an NHL contract.
❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 pic.twitter.com/7zqT0A2gJj— luke prokop (@lukeprokop_6) July 19, 2021
My colleague Kristy Flannery wrote an excellent article about the whole situation in-depth, so you should definitely check out her work. At the end of the day, it’s a sign of strength and resiliency from the young man. It takes a lot of courage to come out as gay to even your closest relatives, let alone an entire community made up of millions with different opinions on a various number of topics. While there are some bad apples, the hockey world and, most importantly, the Predators players and organization embraced Prokop with open arms. Representation in the NHL world must continue to be supported and encouraged. You never know what kind of impact you’ll make on somebody’s life that feels as if they’re alone in an inescapable situation. He may not realize it, but I’m sure many gay hockey players around North America and the world feel empowered by what Prokop did.
It takes a lot of guts, and he should be commended for being secure enough in himself to come out. We’re proud of you, Luke!
What’s Kraken Calle?
The Kraken’s Expansion Draft day got off to an exciting and controversial start. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff and other reporters like Chris Johnston of Sportsnet were breaking selections left and right. Of course, this was about 10 hours before the actual draft show began, and fans were not pleased. The Predators pick leaked among the chaos of angry fans, and it turned out to be Jarnkrok.
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- Kraken Select Calle Jarnkrok From Nashville Predators
Jarnkrok is a high-intensity winger that can play in almost every situation. He kills penalties extremely well and was put in the Selke Trophy conversation by many analytics pundits, including myself. His numbers were excellent at both even-strength and on the penalty kill. Pair that with his extremely team-friendly contract, and you have a prime contender for the Kraken. The selection should have surprised no one.
I detailed what Jarnkrok can bring to a lineup in my news piece, but to summarize, he brings excellent two-way play and electric skating that can add an identity to a franchise that needs one the most. He’s reliable in any given situation, and that’s what makes him the perfect player for an expansion franchise. Not only does he fit the skill bill, but he fits the character bill as well. It’s going to be extremely weird to see number 19 in another team’s jersey, but now that he’s gotten out of the constricting system that is John Hynes’, it’s possible we could see some more career-high numbers for him. I think I can speak for the entirety of Predators nation when I say we wish him all the best with his new team!
It will be a busy couple of weeks in the hockey world, and the Predators have been in the middle of it all. Be sure to stay on the lookout for more of these articles; they will be coming as the news continues to roll in.
Jeff is a consistent source for Predators and Red Wings content here at The Hockey Writers. He enjoys watching all sorts of hockey from juniors to the pros and playing for his high school and local teams in Nashville. 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 own Substack, or at Last Word on Hockey and On the Forecheck. 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.