PREDATORS NEWS UPDATE: Nashville Predators Sorting Out Logjam In Their Defense Corps, With The Departure Of Ryan McDonagh.

Just consider what the Nashville Predators defense has been through in the last 12 months: landing Luke Schenn in free agency in 2023; Tyson Barrie’s trade request being leaked; Jeremy Lauzon setting a record for the most hits in a single season; Alexandre Carrier avoiding a trade at the deadline; and Marc Del Gaizo making his NHL debut.

Perhaps some people weren’t surprised, but I didn’t think Ryan McDonagh would be dealt this summer. I assumed he was a part of the long-term blueprint that Barry Trotz, the general manager, would keep expanding upon.

Rather, Trotz obtained a valuable 2025 second-round draft pick and freed up further cap room. All of this is done without keeping any of McDonagh’s two-year, $6.75 million yearly cap hit.

Moving on from a veteran before they see a sharp decline in their play is a smart move, and it’s important to free up that much cap money so the front management can use it to acquire impact forwards this offseason.

At $6.2 million, the Predators have the fourth-most expected cap space, per According to Alex Daugherty of The Tennessean, Trotz added that it wasn’t so much about clearing cap space as it was about agreeing to McDonagh’s trade request to return to Tampa Bay.

Whatever Trotz’s main motivation, it does open up cap money to enhance the roster in a large way, and finding more pure scoring for the forwards is perhaps more important now that they lost to the Vancouver Canucks in their first round series. For the Predators, finding shots on goal was an impossible feat.

At the absolute least, a smart move on Trotz’s part to honor a veteran’s wish to rejoin a team with whom he has many fond memories and which is nearing the end of their illustrious NHL career.

The Lightning originally acquired McDonagh in the 2022 summer as part of a salary cap dump. In the transaction, the Predators gave up Philippe Myers and Grant Mismash. Myers, who is presently playing for the Lightning’s AHL affiliate in the Calder Cup Playoffs, will be a UFA this offseason.

Mishmash has never played in an NHL game and does not currently have a team in the NHL.

What the defense of the Predators looked like after McGuirk

What repercussions will this McDonagh transaction have, then? During the previous season, McDonagh spent approximately 440 minutes playing on the top pairing with Roman Josi. He also spent 232 minutes playing with Alexandre Carrier and 373 minutes with Luke Schenn.

Put another way, the Predators’ defensive group was a work in progress throughout the season, but without McDonagh, someone will definitely need to significantly improve in 2024–25. Trotz even made a suggestion that he wants to provide younger players with a possibility to advance and an opportunity.

Everything is dependent on Carrier’s performance in free agency.

Carrier recorded a career-high 137 blocks, leading the Predators in shots blocked per 60 at 5.99. As he gets closer to turning 28 in the fall, there is still more to be desired from him offensively. He had sparks but witnessed a decline in his performance from his first season in 2021–2022.

Should Carrier exercise his free agency options and Tyson Barrie departs as anticipated, you would have unexpectedly lost three of your right side’s starting defensemen in one offseason.

That’s a lot of change on the roster for just one job to fill. I find it difficult to accept that there isn’t a strategy to  do everything possible to re-sign Carrier

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