With this trade, next year's defensive corps also starts to take more shape. Blum, Bouillon, Franson, Klein, and Suter are all under contract for next season. Shea Weber
(restricted free agent) will be back as well, giving the Preds a solid six man start. Sulzer is a pending unrestricted free agent. Shane O'Brien is also pending unrestricted free agent, but could be brought back to round out the group; he's added a physical element to the backline since being acquired at the start of the season.
Or the Preds could turn to other options from within the system to fill out a projected top-seven at the NHL level; Teemu Laakso
(a restricted free agent at season's end) plays a similar style to Sulzer and could fill in the reserve defenseman role next season, while Roman Josi
and Ryan Ellis
are both under contract next season and European up-and-comer Mattias Ekholm
('09 Draftee - likely to sign this summer and make his North American debut next season). With strong training camps all three young prospects could potentially play his way onto the Opening Night roster next year. --Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com