Off the Podcast 16: Central Division Shake Up

Thomas and Pat host in a new location.

Thomas and Pat talk about some of the trades before round 1 of the draft (2:00)

The P.K. Trade (6:47).

Focus on central division free agency moves (16:50).

Phil Kessel and his hot dog obsession/ live podcast?? ( 34:52)

Top 10 remaining free agents (39:00)

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Gustav Nyquist: Free Agent Profile

Well, now that the big boys have been talked about, let’s talk about the kind of big boys? Nyquist just finished his 8th season in the league, and the majority have been with the Red Wings, but at the deadline this year he was sent to San Jose to try and finally bring a cup to the city. They were so close too, you could say that they now have the Blues, after their crushing defeat to St. Louis in the Western Conference final.

Nyquist really tops out as a 2nd or 3rd line complimentary winger. While he has some offensive ability, he does best when he is not the primary scoring option on a line. While that doesn’t seem ideal, Nyquist will snag you 20ish goals a season which is enough to attract a number of teams, and he is higher up on the list of that second tier of free agents. The first tier is pretty clear, Artemi Panarin, Joe Pavelski, Matt Duchene, and Sergei BobLongRussianName. And while those are the clear-cut dimes, the nickels aren’t so bad.

Nyquist is an excellent skater who was a natural center but has adapted really nicely on the wing. He is very questionable on defense, and very small but he also has amazing skill and offensive ability that he has no problem showcasing at times in the season. The key word though is at times. While he could be a really nice boost for any team it seems that he is one of the most likely players to be overpaid this season. The potential impact he would have on the Preds is a middle six winger who is either a player that the fans love or a player that the fans hate…. depends on where we are at during the season.

Artemi Panarin: Free Agent Profile

Let me start this off with a prayer to the hockey Gods…. “dear hockey God’s, please do not let Chicago create the cap space to resign “The Breadman” Artemi Panarin. He has hurt Preds fans too many times in that ugly red and black jersey. We like that they suck now. Sincerely the Nashville Predators Fan base.”

I don’t think much has to be said about just how good Panarin is. While he has been extremely vocal about wanting to live near a beach, he should check out the nice clean beaches of Percy Priest Lake in Hermitage, TN. According to Twitter, the water is crystal clear. But seriously, While Panarin wants to live near a beach, it would not be surprising to see him skip out on a beach in order to chase a ring.

Just because I feel obligated to share these stats with you, the reader, here you go. When Panarin came into the league, his presence was immediately felt when he scored 61 goals and 90 assists in his first 2 seasons…. ha! rookie numbers…. literally. After being swapped by Chicago for Brandon Saad for some reason, Panarin got even better scoring 55 goals and 114 assists. While goals are more important than assists, there is no question that he just keeps better and better.

Players like this don’t usually hit the open market. Panarin is an elite winger who can change the course of a game at any time his skates are on the ice and the puck is on his stick. While he isn’t the biggest guy on the ice at 5’11 and 170 pounds, that hasn’t stopped him from doing some seriously crazy stuff. If he were to join the Preds, he would create an opportunity for Nashville to mix and match lines but would ultimately signal the end of the JOFA line. But hey, maybe we could score a powerplay goal.

I’d expect Panarin to sign the largest contract to ever be handed out in Free Agency. I don’t know what that number is or who it was paid too, but I stand by this statement. That my friends are what you would call a “spicy hot take”

Joe Pavelski: Free Agent Profile

San Jose is probably expecting to keep their captain, especially after a western conference finals appearance. But the aging American may have other things in mind. It looks as if he may try to join another team in hopes of finally lifting the cup sooner rather than later.

While he has not visited the Preds, the teams he has visited are very similar to Nashville. Dallas, Tampa Bay, and Chicago are all teams that look to go deep this next season and Pavelski certainly could help them. All three of these teams could use the goal-scoring ability as well as the leadership that accompanies Pavelski. As far as this year’s free agency class is concerned, Pavelski may be one of the most underrated targets.

Pavelski is possibly one of the most clutch players in the league. As well as having an accurate shot, Pavelski also is an excellent playmaker when he is hot. However, he can go cold just as quickly as he gets hot. Pavelski is also a stud in the faceoff circle and can play any position on the forward lines which is a valued commodity in the league. He has very mediocre skating by today’s standards but that doesn’t hold him back too much.

Minus the 06-07 season and the lockout-shortened 12-13 season, Pavelski point production usually sits somewhere are .70 PPG which is not bad at all. Especially when you consider the fact that the majority of his market is made up of teams that are already looking to be contenders.

The biggest red flag that I can think of is his age. At age 34, Pavelski is most likely looking for a retirement contract, but not just a one- or two-year deal. His AAV will most likely be around 7-8 million a season and as he gets older that will hurt more and more.

Ryan Dzingel: Free Agent Profile

Ryan Dzingel is one of the many key players from Columbus who will be hitting free agency this summer. Similar to Duchene, Ryan Dzingel left Ottawa during the trade deadline as he was viewed as one of the players that could help Columbus finally make it past the first round.

Dzingel started the season hot in Ottawa, scoring 22 goals and 22 assists in 57 games. At that pace, it looked like Dzingel was going to be one of the hottest free agents available as he was set to hit the unrestricted market. That would’ve made Ottawa unable to keep up with the other teams pursuing him. so they did what they do best. They traded Dzingel to Columbus for Anthony Duclair, and two second-round picks.

The move to Columbus did not benefit Dzingel as much as it did Ottawa. Some would say that he potentially lost a lot of money due to his slip in production. Dzingel went from 44 points in 57 games, to 12 in 21. Which is not terrible for joining a new team late in the season, but his struggles to find a groove continued into the playoffs….in fact, they got worse. Dzingel only managed to score one goal for the Blue Jackets in nine playoff appearances. It would not be a stretch to say that would damage one’s market interest.

Dzingel’s market, however, should remain high. After the drop-in price, we know that Ottawa will be in the hunt, along with really any other team that could use a boost on the second line. So that narrows it down to about 31 teams. Well, maybe not Columbus since it didn’t work out, but they can’t lose everyone right?

Overall Dzingel is a player who can play on either wing as well as center. That alone drives up his price. Dzingel also, however, lacks the “ideal” size at 6’0 and 190 pounds but is a strong skater that works hard. Not to overuse the comparison but Preds fans know what that combo brings as Viktor Arvidsson is a small player who is a strong skater that works hard and look at how he is doing.

Matt Duchene: ​Free Agent Profile

A name that has been consistently mentioned with the Predators when it comes to trade or free agency rumors. Duchene is a skilled center who at times has been the primary trade target for a number of teams, and other times…. less than that. We are talking about a game changer who lacks consistency. A player who followed up a point per game campaign with a .67% point per game percentage (PPG%).

However, it’s not all bad. Duchene is an extremely fast player with an explosive shot and pinpoint passing. When he is used on the wing, that’s when he really uses his speed to get a step or two up against the defender. While this type of play is consistent with the direction that the league appears to be going, it does open him up to the potential for injuries as Duchene plays the game intensely.

While his lowest of lows came in Colorado at one point looked like the Cleveland Browns of the NHL when it comes to taking advantage of talent…. after all, for a second, the words “Nathan Mackinnon” and “bust” were mentioned together. Duchene has completely turned things around since leaving. In his last four seasons in Colorado, Duchene appeared in 249 games for the Avs, but only produced a total of 165 points. That’s a whopping total of .66 (PPG%). Which is not consistent with Duchene’s brand or the price tag.

Since leaving, however, Duchene appears to have found his stride. In his last 141 games which were split between Ottawa and Columbus, Duchene has scored 119 points. While still not the point per game pace that would be ideal, a .85 PPG is nothing to scoff at, especially if your name is Kyle Turris.

Obviously, a prime veteran center of Duchene’s skill set would be a welcome sight in Nashville, who needs a replacement star after trading P.K. Subban for a bag of chips. While the market is limited in Star talent, Nashville needs to make sure that they do not overspend since Roman Josi is due a substantial pay raise.

PK Swaps Preds jersey for New Jersey

Editor’s Note: Off the Pipe Hockey would like to issue a clarification. We did not mean to include all Predators fans as being of one mind. We would like to make an omission for Preds fan, Cindi Holland. She is not happy with the trade.

All in good fun Cindi!

The thing that fans have been asking for, for months has finally happened. P.K. Subban has been traded! To the Devils, for two seconds, Jeremy Davies, and Steven Santini…. Yes, really. That is all.

The valuation of Subban was interesting. There is no doubt he is a star and has the potential to change the course of a game at any time. but, 9 mil a year is a heavy price tag that comes along with the high-profile turnover machine. Don’t get me wrong, I like P.K. but if it walks like duck and talks like duck….

The nice thing about one of the seconds is that it was the #34 pick in this year’s draft which is notably deep. The team ended up trading that pick almost immediately to the flyers for the #45 and #65 pick which will let them better take advantage of the depth present this year. While the Preds did also get a defensive prospect in the original trade, Steven Santini has not stood out much. The former second-round pick in 2013 has failed to play in even half of a full NHL season and in his best season, scored only 10 points in 36 games. That makes me think that one of the highly rated defensive players on the board has caught Poile’s eye.

The last piece in the trade was Jeremy Davies. A 2016 7th rounder. Davies doesn’t have a lot of flash to him but statistically speaking, he is extremely consistent. In 111 games in the NCAA, Davies has put together 94 points over his three seasons. Worst case scenario, Davies pans out as a solid player in the AHL who could be used for injury depth.

Now for the big part, The Preds were able to shed P.K. Subban’s contract without having to retain any money for the remainder of the contract. That is extremely uncommon, especially in a salary dump trade which is what this one was, usually, money has to be kept…. For instance, Phil Kessel with Toronto and Dion Phaneuf with Ottawa. Both those teams had to continually pay part of the contract in order for the other team to agree. That’s not the case here.

That means that the Preds are free to make a huge play at signing a star. Matt Duchene is without a doubt the target. Duchene has big-play potential all of the time and could take the Preds to the next level. With both the Preds and Duchene having a lot of interest in that move. It could happen quickly after the start of free agency. In addition to that, this now also adds money in the bank for the team to use on locking down Roman Josi who will likely seek a big raise after playing on one of the most team-friendly deals if not the most team-friendly deal in the league.

If the Preds do sign Duchene, I expect there to be more trades which follow, they can’t expect one of Bonino or Turris to play on the fourth line can they? Especially at that money? No, not going to happen.