Predators hope to strike a deal with Kraken before Expansion Draft

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The Nashville Predators are hoping to work with the Seattle Kraken prior to the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.

“I’ve had a couple of conversations with them,” Predators general manger David Poile said on the “Darren, Daunic and Chase” podcast July 1. “Ideally if we could strike a deal so there’s certainty as to who we would lose, I would probably do that.”

The Expansion Draft will be held July 21, and the Kraken will select one player from each NHL team except the Vegas Golden Knights, who are exempt after entering the League in 2017-18. Teams can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters (forwards or defensemen) and one goalie. All first- and second-year professionals and unsigned draft choices are exempt.

Poile said some of his discussions with Seattle GM Ron Francis were a reason the Predators traded forward Viktor Arvidsson to the Los Angeles Kings on July 1. Nashville received a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft rather than risk losing him to Seattle for nothing.

“In my conversations with Seattle, if Viktor Arvidsson was not protected, he would have been taken by Seattle, so that’s who we would have lost,” Poile said. “We now have a second and a third (draft picks), that’s pretty good compensation for Viktor that hopefully we can turn into some good players pretty soon.”

Poile said he’ll continue to speak with Francis to get a better idea of what player the Kraken could choose.

“I think he likes certain defensemen on our team, I think he likes certain forwards on our team, so we need to have more conversations,” Poile said. “It may not guarantee that we do anything with them, but … if I could make a deal that I liked with him, I would probably prefer that.”

Poile said trading Arvidsson and the Expansion Draft could be the start of a busy offseason for Nashville, which finished fourth in the Discover Central Division (31-23-2) and reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the seventh straight season. They lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in six games in the Stanley Cup First Round.

“A lot of teams are talking to each other and trying to have a little bit of makeover or changes to their team,” he said. “And we’re certainly one that wants to make a couple of changes to our team.

“I was really happy with our second half of the season (20-7-1 in final 28 games) but yet, we weren’t good enough to beat a team like Carolina, so I think that we have to have some growth in our team. I think we need to go in a little bit different direction. I’m not saying we’re going to make a whole bunch of changes but I think it’s time to make some changes.”

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