Questions arose over the futures of Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen following the Nashville Predators’ first-round elimination by the Carolina Hurricanes.
The duo are both on long-term contracts with an annual average value of $8 million. However, they haven’t provided the Predators with sufficient offensive bang for those big bucks.
ESPN.com’s Emily Kaplan and The Athletic’s Joe Rexrode recently mused over the status of those underperforming forwards. They wondered if Predators general manager David Poile might leave one or both exposed in this summer’s expansion draft.
Kaplan suggested it could take offering up a sweetener to entice the Seattle Kraken into selecting Duchene or Johansen. That could involve sending them a draft pick or a prospect. The Kraken, however, could balk at their hefty annual cap hits.
Poile could also look into the trade market to offload one of them. Cap Friendly indicates Duchene and Johansen lack no-trade protection.
A change of teams might do Duchene or Johansen some good. They put up good numbers in the past and could do so again under a different system or a deeper roster.
Their contracts, however, remain difficult to move under a flattened salary cap for next season. Poile woud have to retain some salary in the deal. Even then, he’d probably have to package either guy with a draft pick or a promising young player.
The Predators GM could try to get creative. Perhaps he’ll find a third team willing to broker a deal by absorbing a portion of the cap hit in exchange for a pick or prospect. That’s how the Columbus Blue Jackets were able to trade Nick Foligno and David Savard at this year’s trade deadline.