With the NHL Draft less than a week away, the Nashville Predators have a lot to juggle between deciding scouting, negotiating contracts with restricted free agents and fielding potential trade offers.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman shed more light on the Juuse Saros trade front and expressed his latest thoughts about the highly touted goaltender on 102.5 The Game on Wednesday. Nick Kieser has more updates on Saros’ potential availability.
Michael Gallagher also broke down what trading for forward Pierre-Luc Dubois would cost the Predators and if they would be interested in meeting his exorbitant contract demand.
Dubios has requested two trades in his six-year NHL career, which began with the Columbus Blue Jackets and now with the Winnipeg Jets. He’s also been linked to his hometown Montreal Canadiens as well.
While there is no news yet on the Predators’ RFAs, the most recent update comes from assistant general manager Scott Nichol. He told Nashville Hockey Now that the team is “still discussing” the best course of action and decisions to qualify players may not come until next week.
“We have a lot of young guys coming in,” Nichol said. “You pick and choose which ones fit your team and where you want to go going forward.”
We’ll have another update before the end of the week leading into the NHL Awards and draft.
Former Predators coaches reunite in the Big Apple
After the New York Rangers introduced Peter Laviolette as their next head coach, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported that he had already began building his coaching staff.
The first hire was Michael Peca, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Rochester Americans. Peca played 864 games in the NHL — most notably with the Sabres — scoring 465 points in 14 years.
Laviolette added another assistant on Wednesday — a name that Predators fans are familiar with. According to Arthur Staple, Hall of Fame defenseman and former Predators assistant and Sabres head coach Phil Housley will reunite with Laviolette after five years apart.
The duo spent three seasons in Nashville (2013-2017), helping lead the Predators to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance. Housley had a 58-84-22 record in two seasons as Sabres head coach before joining the Arizona Coyotes from 2019 to 2022. He did not coach at any level this past season.
Housley isn’t the only former Predators assistant reuniting with Laviolette as Mollie Walker of the New York Post reported on Wednesday that Dan Muse is all heading to New York. Muse, who was the head coach of the United States Under-18 Men’s National team during the 2023 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship, also served as an assistant under Laviolette for three seasons with the Predators from 2017 to 2020.
Around the NHL and National Hockey Now
Philly Hockey Now: The Philadelphia Flyers have a few new faces in their front office. Patrick Sharp and John LeClair are among the hires by the Flyers under the direction of new general manager Daniel Briere.
Part of LeClair’s role will be player development. He joined Patrick Sharp, who also was hired last week, as special advisors. LeClair played 649 games with the Flyers, scoring 333 goals and 331 assists. He won a Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1993.
Flordia Hockey Now: For the first time since 2009, the Florida Panthers will be headed to Nova Scotia as they will be part of the NHL’s Kraft Hockeyville preseason series. The Panthers will play the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, October 1 at Centre 200 in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Colorado Hockey Now: Part of the HHOF inductees was Pierre Lacroix who was the GM of the Quebec Nordiques and Colorado Avalanche.
Lacroix orchestrated some massive trades that propelled a young team full of talent over the top, as they went on to win two Stanley Cups over the next six years. The biggest trade he made was to acquire goaltender Patrick Roy, who he used to represent as an agent, from Montreal in a blockbuster deal on Dec. 6, 1995.
Hockey Hall of Fame 2023: Seven more honorable inductees were added to the NHL’s Hockey Hall of Fame on Wednesday afternoon. Among those being cemented in history are; Ken Hitchcock (coach), Pierre Lacroix (builder), Tom Barrasso (goalie), Henrik Lundqvist (goalie), Caroline Ouellette (skater), Pierre Turgeon (skater), and Mike Vernon (goalie). Learn more about the inductees here. The induction ceremony is set for Nov. 13 and will be televised on the NHL Network.
(Photo of Dan Lambert, left, Peter Laviolette, center, and Dan Muse by John Russell/Nashville Predators)