As the Stanley Cup Final nears its end, free agency is right around the corner. However, there are some other prominent dates along the way.
Restricted free agents and their respective representation have until July 5 at 4 p.m. CT to file for salary arbitration. Buyouts can begin as soon as Thursday across the league, and while Nashville may not have buyout candidates on its radar, incoming general manager Barry Trotz will continue to get a lay of the land in his first offseason with the Predators.
NHL clubs can elect for arbitration in writing by June 15 or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final by 4 p.m. — whichever comes first. Players can only be subject to one club-elected salary arbitration in their career and only two skaters per team are allowed to go to arbitration per league year.
There are 10 players eligible for arbitration within the Predators organization, two of which are headed to Europe in forward Markus Nurmi and goalie prospect Tomas Vomacka. Cutting that number to eight isn’t much, but Nashville does have a better picture in some avenues.
As Nashville Hockey Now reported last week, goaltender Devin Cooley will test free agency, according to his agent Daniel Milstein, which still leaves the door open for a conversation. However, the odds of a return to Nashville are slim. Cooley wants to be a No. 2 or 3 goalie in the NHL, and with Kevin Lankinen and Yaroslav Askarov in front of him, a continued relationship for the 26-year-old seems unlikely and in his best interest.
The Predators also have five forwards who need new deals, and among them is a potential 2023 top-six center. Cody Glass highlights Nashville’s RFA group, one season after signing a one-year prove-it deal.
After center Ryan Johansen went down with an injury in February, Glass stepped into his spot in the top six and filled in admirably. The Winnipeg native played on the second line just twice to conclude the regular season. He finished with a career-high 14 goals and 35 points in 72 games. Last week, Glass’ agent said he’s had preliminary discussions with the Predators but the two sides are still working through everything currently.
Arbitration cases run from July 20 through Aug. 4. Those decisions are due on Aug. 6 and a settlement can be reached between the Predators and Glass’ camp prior to when a meeting would be scheduled. In a similar situation are forwards Rasmus Asplund, Jimmy Huntington, John Leonard, and Isaac Ratcliffe.
Forward Yakov Trenin elected arbitration last season and the Predators awarded him a two-year deal worth $1.7 million. Arbiter’s can only award one or two-year contracts and the party that did not elect for arbitration decides on the awarded term.
On defense, Alexandre Carrier is the Nashville’s top priority. The 26-year-old missed 39 games this season after dressing for 77 in the 2021-22 campaign where he scored a career-high 30 points. Carrier’s agent told Nashville Hockey Now that he prefers to keep contract conversations private until it’s finished or a decision has been made.
Other defensive RFAs include Cal Foote and late-season college signee Jake Livingstone, who played five games with the Predators at the end of the season after signing an ELC out of Minnesota State University. Livingstone can become a free agent as soon as July 1 if he and the Predators decide to part ways.
Milwaukee Admirals depth defenseman Keaton Thompson agreed to a new deal with the team for 2023, as announced by Admirals play-by-play voice Aaron Sims Monday on the end of season Center Ice program. Thompson’s agent confirmed his deal is a one-year AHL contract.
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(Top Photo Credit: John Russell/Nashville Predators)