NHL Nashville Predators

5 Possible Free Agent Targets For the Nashville Predators

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Nashville Predators Free Agency: 5 Possible Targets

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of year again when all teams not fortunate enough to be playing for Lord Stanley’s Cup are forced to regroup and address their main issues.

The Nashville Predators are no exception, coming off their worst season in over a decade. It’s the same old story as well. Their needs: scoring, scoring and oh yeah, more scoring.

With recent news that Segei Kostitsyn might dart for the KHL, the Predators are more vulnerable than ever at both wings. Considering that Nashville is one of the youngest teams in the league, David Poile might have to be uncharacteristically active in this year’s free agency and seek out a true veteran presence.

Although scoring is obviously important, it’s imperative that any key signings are solid two-way players and affordable. The cap floor has lowered this season so Nashville is not forced to sign players like years past. But in order for the Predators to return to the postseason, it may be necessary to compete with the heavy spenders this summer.

News broke earlier this week that Poile would not be re-signing backup goaltender Chris Mason either. As the only option from within currently under contract is Magnus Hellberg, it is very likely that a veteran backup is signed at the bare minimum.

The Preds appear to be just fine at the blue-line. Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Kevin Klein and Ryan Ellis all appear to have the top four D spots on lock-down. Hal Gill, Jonathan Blum (RFA), Victor Bartley and rookie Mattias Ekholm will all spend time manning the final two defense spots.

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Michael Ryder, RW (Age: 33)

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Michael Ryder was acquired from the Dallas Stars midseason and continued to score at a rapid pace for the Montreal Canadiens. Ryder is not afraid to put his body on the line for his team either, as he blocked 50 shots during the 2011-12 campaign.

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Jason Labarbera, G (Age: 33)

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

In order to replace the departing Mason, I believe Poile will give Jason Labarbera a call. Jason was spectacular in 2013, as he had a .923 SV percentage and a 2.64 GAA.

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Bryan Bickell, LW (Age: 27)

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

In a couple of days, it is likely that Bryan Bickell will be one of the few players on the market to have two Stanley Cups. Forbes also posted an article on Saturday claiming that Bickell is the most underpaid player in the league. Just like the last time the Chicago Blackhawks won the cup, it is likely they will lose a good majority of their under-payed role players. Perhaps Nashville is the lucky suitor?

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Brenden Morrow, LW (Age: 34)

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This is probably wishful thinking. Brenden Morrow will be at the top of everyone's wish list this summer despite being on the older side of 34. However, Morrow would be a solid veteran presence under Barry Trotz.

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David Clarkson, RW (Age: 29)

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

David Clarkson is probably my favorite winger in this year's free agent class. He's not afraid to be physical and is an accomplished goal-scorer, finding the back of the net 30 times in 2011-12.