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Barry Trotz Hints Tommy Novak Will Be Traded If New Deal Isn’t Signed



Tommy Novak
Photo of Tommy Novak by John Russell/Nashville Predators

Though his offensive production has dipped a bit from where it was last season, Nashville Predators center Tommy Novak is a hot commodity with the NHL trade deadline just 10 days away.

Multiple reports indicate that several teams including are interested in Novak, who’s trade availability could be contingent on how much money he’s looking for when he signs his next contract this summer as an unrestricted free agent.

In an interview with 102.5 The Game on Tuesday, Predators GM Barry Trotz disclosed that he’s been working on hammering out a new deal with Novak and his agent. He also matter-of-factly admitted that if the two sides can’t agree on a new contract before the March 8 trade deadline, the 26-year-old forward will be moved for additional assets.

“I talked to [his] representatives [Tuesday],” Trotz said. “The framework is there. We just got to make sure the years and numbers match. If they do, then we’ll probably do something. If we can’t then I’m in a position not to…I don’t think I can let a guy like Tommy Novak go for nothing. I’ve got to get something if he’s not signed by the trade deadline.”

The Predators and Novak have been negotiating for a while but aren’t in the same ballpark with average annual salary or contract length. Trotz is presumably pushing for a shorter, team-friendly deal while Novak’s camp likely wants a longer, more lucrative one.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman conceded that Novak’s expected price tag may be higher than what Trotz is comfortable with.

“Most guys seem to think [Novak’s salary] will be in the [$4 million range],” Friedman told 102.5 The Game. “That’s a wide disparity. There’s a big difference between say $4.1M and $4.75M, but that’s the number I seem to get. That’s not coming from the Predators, it’s not coming from Novak’s representatives, but I asked a couple of other teams what do you think the ball park here is, and that’s where it came in.”

Added Trotz: “The number would have to be right, the term would have to be right. Tommy Novak is a homegrown player and I want homegrown players as much as possible. But at the same time, they have to be at the right price.”

So, what does a Novak extension look like?

Based on recent contracts signed by centers who are either close to Novak in age (26) or have comparable point production (30 goals, 82 points) in a similar number of games (127), Novak’s sweet spot appears to be between $3.5M and $4M per season.

  • Colorado’s Ross Colton, who was 27 when he signed his four-year, $16M deal ($4M AAV), had 47 goals and 83 points in 190 games.
  • New York’s Filip Chytil, who was 24 when he signed his four-year, $17.75 million ($4.4375M AAV) deal had 64 goals and 138 points in 327 games.
  • Florida’s Eetu Luostarinen, who was 25 when he signed his three-year, $9 million ($3M AAV) deal, had 29 goals and 78 points in 212 games.
  • Winnipeg’s Gabriel Vilardi, who was 24 when he signed his two-year, $6.875 million ($3.4375M AAV) deal, had 41 goals and 78 points in 152 games.

According to Friedman, multiple teams have inquired about Novak because some have serious doubts about whether the Predators can actually re-sign him.

In recent weeks, the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning, among others, have all been linked to Novak at one point or another.

If Novak, who’s fifth on the team in scoring, and the Predators can’t hash out a deal in the next week and a half, it certainly seems like former third-rounder will be shipped off for extra draft capital. However, if that were to happen, it doesn’t completely close the door on a potential reunion down the road.

“We could move [him] and collect an asset and see what happens where he goes, what kind of year he has,” Trotz added. “And we could revisit it maybe at the free-agent market if the team that acquires him doesn’t re-sign him.”

Follow Michael Gallagher on X/Twitter @MGsports_

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