The Nashville Predators find themselves at a critical crossroads in the history of their franchise and what they do next could very well determine how the next few years will play out. There are those who have argued that the team should fully commit to rebuilding their roster but, thus far at least, Predators general manager David Poile has refused to commit to such a plan.
That could all change this season however with the future of star forward Filip Forsberg very much undetermined. The threat of the franchise forward walking to unrestricted free agency is now an ever growing possibility, one that at least one journalist believes is destined to end in a trade for the Predators. Recently the Tennessean's Gentry Estes, a man who admittedly would be in the pro-rebuild camp, professed his belief that Forsberg will be playing for a new team before the season has concluded.
As much as their fans may not want to hear this: Unless this season’s team proves better on the ice than anyone expects, it's logical to think there’s a good chance Forsberg is wearing another uniform before the end of the 2021-22 season.
There are reasons to believe that this is the direction the Predators could be headed in. Just recently Poile showed signs making significant changes to his roster when he dealt both Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Ellis, moves that did not necessarily sit well with every player in the Predators locker room. The fact that both men were dealt for prospects and draft picks could very well indicate that Poile is considering the possibility of a roster rebuild. Trading Forsberg before the trade deadline, likely again for prospects and/or draft picks, would make the most sense in that scenario since he will no doubt be seeking a long term deal on his next contract.
Forsberg himself has been quick to brush off questions about his ongoing contract negotiations, a sign that perhaps there simply isn't much to report.
Of course all of this could change very quickly if this roster shapes out to be a serious Stanley Cup contender this season. In that scenario the Predators would be much less inclined to part with their star forward prior to the deadline.