Smashville’s Loading Up for the 2024-25 Season

Juuse Saros star of the game.
Photo: NHL.com

The offseason has just begun, and the NHL has been moving and grooving at a nonstop pace since. The Nashville Predators had a solid showing at the 2024 draft, picking up eight new prospects, but kept the momentum moving right into the first day of free agency.

So far, the Predators have resigned or signed six big names for their 2024-25 season rosters, all on multi-year deals, as well as four more players to be added to their AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals.

Resigns

Juuse Saros

Jusse Saros making a save
Photo: NHL.com

Rumors came about a few days ago regarding a massive extension for the fan-favorite Finnish netminder, which was signed, sealed, and delivered today. Saros, 29, signed an eight-year, $61.92 million contract, averaging $7.74 million, that will begin in the 2025-26 season.

Throughout his career, Saros has averaged 2.63 goals against average, a .917 save percentage, and 23 shutouts throughout 350 appearances. He started in all six of this past season’s playoff games against Vancouver, finishing with 2.02 goals against average and a .900 save percentage. This extension solidifies the Preds backend for the future.

Alexandre Carrier

Alexandre Carrier celebrating goal
Photo: NHL.com

The second resigning of the day was defenseman Alexandre Carrier, 27. Carrier finished this past season with 4 goals, 16 assists, and a +7 rating, making a career total of 10 goals, 52 assists, and a +39 rating. He has never finished with a minus rating in his four years as a full-time NHL player.

For a three-year, $11.25 million contract, $3.75 million AAV, he’s a great depth blueliner and will hopefully continue to grow in his position this season and beyond.

Free Agency Signings

Steven Stamkos

Steven Stamkos traveling
Photo: NHL.com

Two-time Stanley Cup champion and former face of the Tampa Bay Lightning has decided to join the Predators for the next four seasons. Stamkos, 34, signed a $32 million contract ($8 million AAV). General Manager, Barry Trotz, added three key leaders during FA last season and has continued that trend this season. Stamkos adds depth, experience, and leadership that was unmatched by any other free agent on the market this year.

Stamkos played 79 games this past season, scoring 40 goals and 41 assists, adding to his career total of 1,082 games played, 555 goals, and 582 assists, for a total of 1,137 points.

This would typically be the blockbuster deal of the day, but the Predators added two others to their lineup that have solidified them as hopeful contenders heading into next season.

Jonathan Marchessault

Jonathan Marchessault winning Conn Smythe Trophy
Photo: NHL.com

Marchessault, 33, one of the Vegas Golden Knights original misfits, is heading to Nashville next season. He signed a five-year, $27.5 million contract ($5.5 AAV). Marchessault won the cup with VGK in 2023 as well as earning himself the Conn Smythe that same night.

Marchessault played all 82 games this past season, notching 42 goals and 27 assists for 69 total points, adding to his career total of 638 games played, 230 goals, 257 assists, for 487 points. His scoring depth is something the Predators desperately needed during the playoffs this past season.

Brady Skjei

Brady Skjei after Hurricanes game
Photo: NHL.com

The third of the big three FA signings was two-way defenseman Brady Skjei, 30, formally of the Carolina Hurricanes. After sending defenseman Ryan McDonagh back to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Predators needed a new backbone to their blueline and Skjei is the perfect fit for the job. His contract is a seven-year, $49 million contract ($7 million AAV).

Skjei played an average of 21:16 per game this past season. He also had a career year, finishing with 13 goals, 34 assists, and a +15 rating, adding to his career total of 68 goals, 179 assists, and a +21 rating throughout his 609 games.

Scott Wedgewood

Scott Wedgewood
Photo: NHL.com

Backing up Saros next season will be veteran goaltender, Scott Wedgewood. Wedgewood, 31 signed a two-year, $3 million contract ($1.5 AAV).

In his time with the Dallas Stars, he started in 28 games this past season, finishing with a career-high 16 wins. Wedgewood ended the season with a 2.85 GAA and a .899 save percentage, adding to his career numbers of 2.98 GAA, a .906 save percentage, and six career shutouts.

AHL Additions

2024 Nashville Predators AHL Additions
Photo: NHL.com

Nick Blankenburg

As an undrafted defenseman, Blankenburg, 26, started his career with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He played in 55 games with the club since the 2021-22 season, recording 6 goals and 12 assists. In his 24 games with the Cleveland Monsters, he recorded 3 goals and 10 assists. He signed a two-year, $775,000 contract at the NHL level that is a two-way during his first season and a one-way during his second.

Vinnie Hinostroza

Hinostroza, 30, originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012, has bounced his way around the league before signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins last year. He recorded one goal and two assists in his 14 games in Pittsburgh, as well as 16 goals and 9 assists in 42 games for their affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, which was the most among the team forwards. Hinostroza signed a two-year, two-way contract worth $775,000 at the NHL level.

Jake Lucchini

Jake Luccini, 29, signed a two-year, two-way contract worth $775,000 at the NHL level. As an undrafted center, Lucchini has spent his career playing for a few AHL teams. In his 267 AHL games, Lucchini has recorded 70 goals and 90 assists.

Matt Murray

The last signing of the day was the undrafted goaltender Matt Murray, 26, not the two-time Stanely Cup Champion Matt Murray but the other Murray. He signed a one-year, two-way contract worth $775,000 at the NHL level. In his 71 games for the Texas Stars, he owned a 37-26-7 record, a .907 save percentage, and has five career shutouts.

GM Barry Trotz certainly made a splash during the first day of free agency this year. The Predators look a lot deeper than they were a week ago, which can hopefully translate into another successful season for Smashville.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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