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Predators GM told by players to keep roster intact for next season

Poile said during exit meetings, 'they really believed in our team … they didn't want to see a lot of changes'

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators don't expect to make many changes to their roster for next season coming off a loss in the Western Conference Second Round to the Winnipeg Jets.

The Predators won the Presidents' Trophy with 117 points and the Central Division for the first time. General manager David Poile and coach Peter Laviolette met with players over the weekend to discuss the future.

"A lot of the players expressed to us in the team meeting that they really believed in our team," Poile said Monday. "They loved our team. They thought our chemistry, our culture, was really good. If I was trying to frame it correctly, basically I think what they were saying to the general manager and to the coach is they didn't want to see a lot of changes.

"I think if we could start tomorrow and be given another opportunity, we and our team would like to play Winnipeg again in another seven-game series. I think that's how close it is."

Some changes will be made. Poile said forward Scott Hartnell will not be offered a contract for next season. Hartnell, 36, had 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists) in 62 games and played in four games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Hartnell said Saturday that he would consider retirement this offseason.

Video: The guys discuss what is next for the Predators

Forward Mike Fisher, 37, retired after the loss to the Jets, and Poile said he doesn't expect defenseman Alexei Emelin, 32, will be with the Predators next season. He can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Defenseman Ryan Ellis, 27, has one year remaining on his contract and preliminary discussions for a contract extension have started. He is eligible for an extension July 1.

"Ryan has another year remaining on his contract, but I too have talked to Ryan, have talked to his agent," Poile said. "That's something that we'll certainly look at during this offseason."

Ellis said Saturday that he would be interested in signing an extension this offseason.

"I love it here," Ellis said. "My fiancee loves it here. I mean, if it was my wish, I'd finish my career here, so we'll see what happens."

Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok injured his shoulder against the Jets on March 13. He returned to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs but was not fully healthy. The hope is Jarnkrok can heal through rest and be ready for training camp.

Nashville forward Ryan Hartman will have shoulder surgery for a labral tear and is expected to need 4-5 months to recover. Poile said Hartman should be back in September and participate in some of training camp.

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