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Over The Boards

P.K. Subban's impact in Nashville among questions

NHL.com's Dan Rosen answers weekly mailbag

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Here is the July 13 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run periodically through the course of the offseason. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

How improved are the Nashville Predators following the trade for P.K. Subban? -- @Allen_Schneider

It's hard to say greatly improved, but I think they improved at least a little by getting Subban from the Montreal Canadiens for Shea Weber. Subban thrives with the puck on his stick in a rush game, which means the Predators should play a faster game. He drives possession more than Weber does, which should help the Predators offense. Subban had a 52.51 shot-attempts percentage (SAT) last season, better than the Canadiens' overall 51.54 SAT. Weber's SAT was 51.33 last season, but the Predators were at 52.48 as a team. Some of that can be looked at for situational play, but overall Subban is a better possession driver. Weber may have a slightly heavier shot, but Subban's shot is quite powerful as well, so that's close to a wash. Weber might be less risky in the defensive zone, but Subban's risk can result in great rush chances. The Predators are no doubt in a better position in the long term. Subban is 27 and signed for six more seasons with a $9 million salary-cap charge, according to General Fanager. Weber will be 31 on Aug. 14 and he is signed for 10 more seasons at a $7.857 million salary-cap charge. Weber is the safer player and Subban is the flashier player, but Subban's flash allows him to show off his elite skating, puck handling and shooting. Subban is a slightly better player at this stage than Weber, in my opinion.

What is your expectation of Kyle Okposo this season? Do you think he'll struggle without John Tavares, as rumor has it? -- @FlourCitySavage

How can there be a rumor that Okposo will struggle on the Buffalo Sabres without Tavares? Either people think he will or he won't. I don't think he will, because Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly are pretty darn good too and regardless of who Okposo plays with, one of them will be able to get him the puck. I won't say that Eichel and O'Reilly are as good as Tavares because that would be ridiculous at this point, but they are excellent centers who know how to get the puck to their wings in scoring position. Okposo needs to continue to get inside the dots and if he does that he will thrive in Buffalo. I don't think he'll have a drop off at all. I can see him scoring in the neighborhood of 25-30 goals if he stays healthy and plays consistently with either Eichel or O'Reilly.

Video: Newly acquired winger Kyle Okposo meets the media

Penguins fan here. Assuming Pascal Dupuis retires, with close to $4 million to spend, do you think they go after anyone? Re-sign Justin Schultz? -- @realronbabu

I highly doubt Dupuis is going to officially retire and leave $3.75 million on the table. He will be on long-term injured reserve, as he was last season once he announced he would no longer play hockey on Dec. 8. That means the Penguins will be allowed to exceed the salary cap by $3.75 million. Essentially, it means Dupuis' cap hit doesn't count on the Penguins' cap but he still gets paid.

As for Schultz, I originally wrote here that I couldn't see a return to Pittsburgh, not with the Penguins tight up against the cap and with seven defensemen under contract. He signed a one-year, $1.4 million contract with Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Schultz was always going to have to take a pay cut from the $3.95 million he was making on his last contract, but I questioned if the Penguins had the means under the salary cap to make it happen at a realistic rate. They obviously did. I thought we'd be looking at Derrick Pouliot getting an opportunity to play a regular top-six role on the blue line with David Warsofsky as the seventh defenseman, but that could change. Schultz likely slots in the top six now, giving the Penguins Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Trevor Daley, Brian Dumoulin, Ian Cole and Schultz in the top six. That's a solid defense corps.

Which of the three goalies gets the New York Islanders the best return in a trade? -- @TomClark20

The Islanders wouldn't get a great return for any of them, so they're best bet is to hold onto all three, Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube, and let it play out during training camp. Halak and Greiss won't even be there for the start of camp because they'll be playing for Team Europe in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. That's good news for Berube, who theoretically should get some extra work, at least early in camp. They're all on one-way contracts, but I don't think the Islanders are going to keep three goalies on the NHL roster. It's possible that Halak could be traded before the start of the season. My feeling is that's what the Islanders would want to do. He'll account for $4.5 million against the salary cap for the next two seasons. It would likely require an injury to a starting goalie from another team for Halak to be moved. The market to move goalies now is dried up. Halak wouldn't be the most attractive potential option available in a trade either. That's Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but for now he is staying put and I think Halak will as well, at least for the time being. There is, of course, also the possibility that one of the Islanders' goalies gets hurt in training camp, in which case this works itself out without a trade.

Are the New Jersey Devils playoff bound after their offseason? -- @alexmerkin_alex

I don't want to unequivocally say no, but I'm leaning toward 'it's still too soon to call the Devils a playoff team.' They're better on paper than they were last season with the addition of Taylor Hall, but they still have a depth scoring problem and they're still thin on defense, particularly on the right side with the departure of Adam Larsson in the trade for Hall. I'm curious to see the continued development of Damon Severson and Steven Santini, who could land a spot in the top-six defense group. I'm not giving it a hard no, but I'm hard-pressed at this point to see the Devils as a playoff team. I do, however, think they will be in the mix and making a push at least up until the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline.

Where do you see Cam Fowler ending up? -- @Smitty0717

If the Anaheim Ducks were to trade him, I can see a fit for a number of teams. I know I mentioned above that the Devils could use some help on the right side, but Fowler would fit in perfectly on the left behind or in front of Andy Greene, leaving John Moore and Jon Merrill to battle it out for the third lefty spot, if they wanted to go with a balanced blue line. The Devils have the cap room to take on Fowler's $4 million charge, and prospects to trade. Fowler, 24, is in the right age for them too. The Boston Bruins desperately need help on the blue line, especially with Zdeno Chara at 39 years old and slowing down. I would imagine they'd love to land Fowler, but I doubt they would trade a player like David Pastrnak to get him. The Detroit Red Wings are in a similar position as a team that desperately needs an upgrade on defense. The Edmonton Oilers are in that spot as well. The Carolina Hurricanes are building a nice blue line with Justin Faulk, Noah Hanifin, Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce. Fowler would fit in Carolina, especially within the Hurricanes age group. If the New York Rangers could ever do something with Dan Girardi and/or Marc Staal, I know they'd have interest in getting Fowler. The problem is it's hard, if not impossible, to move Girardi and/or Staal.

How will Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell do in Carolina? -- @HW06

My hunch is Teravainen will thrive in Carolina. I can see him scoring 50-60 points this season after he had 35 in 78 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season. It's a contract year for him as well, so I think the change and elevated responsibility with help him succeed. Teravainen saw what it takes to win in Chicago and he can bring that to Carolina. He's 21, so there is obviously plenty of room for him to grow. I can see him on the wing if Sebastian Aho is ready, or at center if Aho is not. I can see him playing in a top-six role, or on a third line that would be a third scoring line. He's versatile and he'll be a threat. As for Bickell, the trade gives him a chance to recharge his career. He's in the final year of a four-year, $16 million contract, so he has incentive to get back to being a power forward who is a threat to score. He'll be given a chance to do that in Carolina. I can't say with any certainty that he will or won't make good on it because he's been an unpredictable and inconsistent player.

Who will be the new captain of every team needing one right now? -- @tonyneufeld88

Total guessing game here, but figured I'd give it a shot.

Florida Panthers: Aaron Ekblad

Toronto Maple Leafs: Morgan Rielly

Carolina Hurricanes: Justin Faulk

Nashville Predators: Roman Josi

Winnipeg Jets: Dustin Byfuglien

St. Louis Blues: Alex Pietrangelo

Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid

Ekblad signed an eight-year extension and he's ready for the leadership role. There is nobody on the roster better suited. He also used to live with former captain Willie Mitchell. Rielly signed a six-year extension and he too is ready to take on the 'C' in Toronto. He's the leader of the Maple Leafs' young core. Faulk and Josi have been around and paid their dues as alternates. Byfuglien is the leader of the Jets whether he or anybody else wants to admit it. Pietrangelo is the natural replacement for David Backes in St. Louis as the voice of the team on and off the ice. Alex Steen would also be a good choice. McDavid is going to be the Oilers' captain someday, so why not make that someday today. Matt Hendricks is another option as a stopgap captain before McDavid takes it from him.

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