NEWARK – Following Sunday’s NHL Draft, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile gave an update on some topics unrelated to the draft itself.
Unrestricted free agent forwards Brandon Yip and Chris Mueller will not return to the Predators. When you throw goaltender Chris Mason into that mix, none of the Predators’ three UFAs will be re-signed. Also, restricted free agent defenseman T.J. Brennan’s position with the team may have been impacted by the draft selection of Seth Jones.
“He’s a player that played all year in the NHL coming out of the lockout and wants to play in the NHL. We would probably like to get him on more of a two-way contract,” Poile said. “That’s undecided at this time but it’s probably a little more problematic by drafting Seth Jones.”
The decision to draft Jones also changes things on the forward front. Since the defense is set and the Predators didn’t get a forward at fourth overall, they may be more aggressive in the trade market or free agency to improve the forward position.
The most notable free agent on the market will be former Tampa Bay Lightning star Vincent Lecavalier, who was bought out of his huge contract last week. Nashville was not among the many teams that met with him in New York this weekend, but their interest in the veteran center may go up.
“We haven’t really talked about Vinny a whole lot. The reason is we were really waiting for the draft,” head coach Barry Trotz said late Sunday. “I know David has contacted the agent and we’ll see what happens. I don’t know where that is going to go. That’s probably something we’ll discuss when we back to the hotel or tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Poile also gave an update on Sergei Kostitsyn, who has been recently rumored to be signing in the KHL and leaving the Predators with one year left on his contract.
“I talked to his agent. They’ve been in negotiations with (Avangard) Omsk. It’s not finalized at this time. That’s all I know,” said Poile, who mentioned he gave Kostitsyn the green light to pursue the KHL opportunity.