Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile addressed the media on Tuesday morning as the team’s 2016 Development Camp began on-ice sessions at Centennial Sportsplex, but there was one notable Preds prospect who was absent.
Poile announced forward Yakov Trenin – Nashville’s first selection of the 2015 NHL Draft – recently broke his leg in a biking accident in Russia and will miss development camp and likely a good amount of training camp as well. However, Poile expects Trenin to arrive in Nashville within the next month and rehab his injury with Predators Strength and Conditioning Coach David Good.
The injury isn’t ideal, but Poile doesn’t expect the ailment to set Trenin back on the trajectory the club hopes he will follow over the coming years.
“We’re really high on him, but he still has a year left of junior, so I think we’re probably tracking for him [to have another year in] junior, a year in Milwaukee, then [Nashville],” Poile said. “But I know he’s going to play for us at some point.”
Poile also addressed a number of other topics, including free agency, which is set to begin on Friday, July 1. The GM doesn’t expect to be as active as he has in years past, nor does he plan on jumping in on the opening day or two of the frenzy. Always quick to caution that plans can change, Poile believes he may be able to find a bargain or two when the time comes.
“If we could maybe add to our depth on defense, we would like to do that,” Poile said of his plans in free agency. “I think we have a terrific defense, but if we could get a little more depth, I would be happy to try and do that. In Milwaukee also, forward-wise, we’re always looking to get a little bit better. That could be a trade, that could be a free agent, that could be a combination of both of those. We’ve had meetings and talked about a number of players, we’ll have to just see how it shakes out.
“I want to be careful because we do have back pressure with players like [Vladislav] Kamenev, [Kevin] Fiala, and [Pontus] Aberg that maybe are getting close, and we might not want to sign away their position to another player. I’m not giving an exact answer because it’s got to come to us. We’re organized, we have an order, and we know what we want if it appears there, so if we sign somebody, it’ll be for a reason. If we don’t, it’ll be for a reason.”
After signing winger Filip Forsberg to a six-year, $36 million contract on Monday, Poile now turns his focus to signing other restricted free agents, namely forward Calle Jarnkrok. The Swede tallied 16 goals for the Preds last season and Poile is confident a deal will get done after tendering a qualifying offer to Jarnkrok on Monday.
“We’re working on that and trying to get a multiyear deal,” Poile said. “Maybe he’ll file for arbitration, but we’re going to get it done. I’d like to get a longer-term deal; I think this is the right time, he fits into a specific area on our team and a specific role, and with that comes a specific price. If we can get that, great; if not, we’ll just go for a one-year deal.”
Poile is also beginning to think about a new deal for center Ryan Johansen, who is still one season away from becoming a restricted free agent. For the player Poile believes will be Nashville’s franchise center for years to come, the desire to get something worked out sooner than later is prevalent.
“We’ve talked to his agent almost every week since the end of the season,” Poile said of Johansen. “Ryan was at the Draft in Buffalo, he’s been really working out, David Good, our strength coach, has already been up to his home in Vancouver and visited him for three or four days… Maybe after the start of the season, something like that [is when we’ll look to start negotiations].”
Poile confirmed he expects goaltender Carter Hutton to test the free agency market. The general manager also continues to try and find a trading partner for winger Eric Nystrom, but said a buyout also remains a possibility (the deadline for contract buyouts is June 30).