Thursday, June 30, 2011

Free agency begins; Preds face questions ahead

Let the frenzy begin! The free agency period begins on Friday at 11:00 a.m., and the race for unrestricted free agents get underway. The headline player for unrestricted free agents this year is Brad Richards, but there are several players that have offensive talent.

The Nashville Predators have had an eventful week to say the least. RFA's Sergei Kostitsyn, Cal O'Reilly, Nick Spaling, and Matt Halischuk may be granted unrestricted free agency status if the NHLPA has their way. Nashville claims to have done everything properly, but the NHLPA has filed a grievance and an arbitrary hearing will take place shortly.

As far as the free agency goes, there is one clear need for the Nashville Predators: goal-scoring. That's been the theme with this team for the last few years. Defensively, the Predators are an above average hockey team. They have arguably the best defensive pairing in the NHL, and have one of the best goalies in the league as well. All that's missing is the offensive punch to go along with their excellent defensive play.

Will Nashville acquire a major scoring threat this year? My answer, until proven otherwise, is no. This question is asked every year, and every year it seems that it goes by unsolved. It's a glaring need this year, as the Preds are extremely strong in all other aspects of the game. Top six forwards like Scottie Upshall and Tomas Fleischmann are what the Preds need to go for.

It doesn't necessarily have to be Upshall or Fleischmann, but there is a need for a player like that. Nashville certainly has many things to worry about during the off-season, but they also have to spend money to get to the cap floor of the league.

It's going to be a busy day around the NHL to say the least. Hockey Night in Nashville will have updates on the blog, and via Twitter, all day. Follow us at @hockeynightNSH and check in throughout the day to see what players go where.

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