Out with the old, in with the new. At least that’s what Nashville Predators GM David Poile has on his mind this week.
With free agency fast approaching, Nashville has opted to place 6-foot-7 defenseman Hal Gill on waivers and not qualify both Matt Halischuk and Jonathon Blum.
If Gill is claimed by another team (cross your fingers), it would clear $2 million off the books for Poile next season. I like the chances of him getting claimed, but if he doesn’t, the Predators would then have to decide whether to buy him out or let him play for Milwaukee.
Matt Halischuk, a crowd favorite, will not be qualified and gains unrestricted status for the opening of free agency. Halischuk was most known for his workhorse style and playing ‘the Predator way’. Unfortunately, that can also be said about the majority of forwards on Nashville’s roster.
With the inevitable debut of rookie sensation Seth Jones, Poile decided not to tender Blum, allowing Nashville’s first-round pick in 2007 to test the free agent waters starting Friday. It wouldn’t make much sense to negotiate a new deal to a guy that would only serve as organization depth, so this move makes the most sense.
What does not make sense, however, is how Nashville has contractual control over all three players and will let them walk without any type of return. Gill, Blum and Halischuk all carry some value and would warrant mid-to-late round picks.
The possibility of Poile buying out Gill (if not claimed) is apparently a very real one, which is the most baffling of all. Nashville traded a second-round pick for him just over a year ago, and there are plenty teams that could use the blueline help.
If the San Jose Sharks are willing to trade a sixth-round pick for Scott Hannan, I believe Nashville could do much better with the talent leaving their organization this week. However, clearing this money off the books leads me to believe Poile may actually make an impact signing on July 5. Stay tuned.