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Mailbag: Predators big on TV, Jonathan Drouin rumors's Dan Rosen answers weekly questions

by Dan Rosen @DRosenNHL / Senior Writer

Here is the June 7 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday through the course of the 2016-17 NHL season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Does the Nashville Predators' success this postseason guarantee them more national television appearances next season? -- @connorkitchings

That's usually the way it works. That's definitely the way it should work in this case. The national and local ratings for the Stanley Cup Final games have been good, and Nashville is a big reason why.

NBC Sports Public Relations released the ratings for Game 4 on its Twitter account Tuesday. The national overnight rating was a 4.14, which topped all games in the Stanley Cup Final last season. The game did a 28.0 rating in the Nashville market. That's the highest-rated Predators game ever on the NBC networks, topping the 22.5 for Game 1. Nashville was the No. 2 market for Game 4 behind Pittsburgh (30.9). Knoxville, Tennessee, was fourth (10.2).

I know it's the Stanley Cup Final so interest obviously swells, but I'm quite confident we'll see more than two Predators games on the NBC networks in the 2017-18 season. Two Predators games is all we saw on the NBC networks this season.

Video: Pekka Rinne stole the show in Game 4

How many games have guys from the Pittsburgh Penguins played in the past two seasons, especially those participating in the World Cup of Hockey 2016? -- @darina_vymetali

Entering Game 5, the Penguins have played 211 games. Right wing Phil Kessel has played in all of them. He did not, however, play in the World Cup. Center Sidney Crosby has played in 207 games, including six in the World Cup. 

Center Matt Cullen has played in 201 games, and defenseman Ian Cole has played in 198. Right wing Patric Hornqvist has played in 197 games, including four with Team Sweden in the World Cup. He also played in three pretournament games. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin has played in 196 games. Left wing Chris Kunitz has played in 193 games, and center Nick Bonino has played in 187. 

Left wing Carl Hagelin is at 182, including four in the World Cup. Defenseman Justin Schultz has played in 175 games, and center Evgeni Malkin has played in 169 games, including four in the World Cup.

Will the Los Angeles Kings be able to dump Dustin Brown's contract on the Vegas Golden Knights? What about the rumor the Kings are talking to the Tampa Bay Lightning about Jonathan Drouin? -- @MHulicius

I've heard this rumor about Brown going to Vegas. I guess I'm struggling to fully understand it from the Golden Knights' perspective. How would it benefit them? Let's say the Kings are willing to throw in their first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, does it change anything? It's pick No. 11, not a top-10 pick, and this is not considered to be a particularly deep draft. Vegas needs picks and getting an extra one in the first round would be nice, but what would they do with Brown? The 32-year-old forward has five years remaining on his contract that carries a $5.875 million salary-cap charge, according to What if Vegas could get a different player with fewer years left on his contract and still get a first-round pick? Maybe not one as high as No. 11, but still a first-round pick. I'd look to do that. There are just too many years left on Brown's contract.

The only benefit I see is that the Golden Knights can use Brown as a veteran leader and someone who can help get them to the salary-cap floor ($54 million for 2016-17). He did have 14 goals and 36 points this season. That's an uptick in production from his previous three seasons. Maybe after a season or two, the Golden Knights could buy him out and eat the remainder of his contract. But that pick they would get, if that's the trade, man, that would have to pan out for this to be worthwhile. 

As for Drouin, there are lots of rumors associated with him. It's an interesting situation for the Lightning because they know his upside and they see the growth, but Drouin hasn't earned a huge payday yet. They'd probably prefer to keep him on a shorter-term contract with the hopes that he becomes the player they expected him to be when they selected him with the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft. But there is a danger to that too, because if that happens, even if they save some money by giving him a bridge contract now, they could lose that and more if he blossoms and earns a bigger contract in two or three years. They can buy up some of that if they give him a bigger contract now. We'll see how it plays out. I can't get a gauge on this one because the Lightning are also dealing with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat, each also a restricted free agent.

Video: DET@TBL: Drouin cuts through defense, nets a PPG

Nolan Patrick is a better fit for the New Jersey Devils than Nico Hischier, right? Why are the mock drafts so split? -- @Fonzi15

I can't say I'm an expert on these two, but I have read enough in recent weeks from draft experts Mike G. Morreale and Adam Kimelman to get a gauge on the type of players we're dealing with at the top of the 2017 draft. And, yes, I agree that Patrick is a better fit for the Devils. He's bigger and a little nastier in a good way. The Devils need some of that edge. He projects as an eventual No. 1 center. That's absolutely what the Devils need. Hischier may project as a No. 1 center as well, but he's not as big. I think the Devils need a bit of size that also comes in a package with skill. That's Patrick.

Will Alex Ovechkin be traded this offseason or the next offseason? -- @HangingWitAaron

I'm not buying that this will happen at any point in the prime of Ovechkin's career. I just don't think Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis will let it happen. Selling Ovechkin is a huge part of his business. Look, I think Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan was smart to say there might be a potential to trade Ovechkin one day if a legitimate hockey deal became available. A GM should never paint himself into a corner by saying a player is off the table or unavailable. Everybody is available at the right price. Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said he would not trade Nathan MacKinnon. Well, what if the Penguins said here is Malkin for him? I bet you MacKinnon wouldn't be off the table anymore. I'm definitely not saying that's happening, I'm merely making a point. Everybody is available. Everybody is tradable. But for now, no, I don't see Ovechkin going anywhere.

Do you really think Alex Killorn will be traded from the Lightning before July 1, when his no-trade clause kicks in? -- @BoltsGuy04

It's certainly possible, especially because of the Lightning's situation with Johnson, Palat and Drouin, as I mentioned above. Beyond that, they're eventually going to have to give Nikita Kucherov a much bigger contract if he keeps trending in the direction he's trending. That's not a concern until the summer of 2019, but any savings now would be helpful then too. Killorn has six years left on his contract and a $4.45 million cap charge. He's a 40-point player. He's a depth scorer. If Yzerman can find a trading partner and a suitable return, he could absolutely be on the move.

Video: ANA@TBL: Killorn banks one in from circle for PPG

Conn Smythe Trophy pick for each team in the Stanley Cup Final? -- @JeffreyStalker

Malkin from the Penguins. Pekka Rinne from the Predators.

Malkin has been the Penguins' most consistent player. He has 26 points in 23 games. He has been held off the score sheet in the past two games, and the Penguins lost each. He needs to have a big Game 5 at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports). If he does, it increases the odds the Penguins will go back to Nashville with a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. And if he does, it increases his odds of winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. 

Rinne was arguably the biggest reason the Predators got to the Stanley Cup Final, and he is without question the biggest reason they evened the series 2-2 with a 4-1 win in Game 4 on Monday. He made 23 saves, and many of them were on Grade A scoring chances for Pittsburgh. He'll have to be as good in at least two out of the next three games for Nashville to win the series. If he is, he'll lock up the Conn Smythe Trophy. He has a 1.88 goals-against average and .932 save percentage.

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