The Nashville Predators are heading into a new era of their franchise in more ways than one. For the first time, David Poile is not the team's leader in the front office. That honor now belongs to Barry Trotz, who served as the franchise's first head coach.
Speaking of the head coach, that's different now too. John Hynes was fired earlier this summer after three and a half seasons behind the bench in Nashville. Former Predators forward Andrew Brunette is now the team's leader in the locker room.
All of this turnover was done in an effort to return the Predators to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Nashville missed out on postseason hockey for the first time since 2013-14. New voices and perspectives were needed. Now, it's time for the team to prove something.
All that said, this type of organizational turnover inherently produces some rocky sailing. That's not to say the Predators are bad or will fall off a cliff. Rather, it means the team is likely to wheel and deal to bring in guys the new regime really loves.
With this in mind, here are three Nashville Predators players who could find themselves on the trade block this upcoming season for one reason or another.
Fabbro entered the NHL with a ton of buzz around him. A former first-round pick, many saw the 25-year-old blueliner as a future star. Especially given the luck Nashville has had in producing star defensemen. However, things haven't worked out too well.
Fabbro has gone from a promising star to potentially the odd man out with the Predators. The team signed veteran Luke Schenn in NHL Free Agency, adding depth to the bottom of their defensive group. With Schenn, Jeremy Lauzon, and Alexandre Carrier, it's hard to see where Fabbro fits.
Fabbro has one year remaining on his current deal before Trotz has to decide whether to extend him. The Predators GM needs to see something that gives him confidence the 25-year-old can still become a star. If that doesn't happen, Fabbro is certainly a potential trade candidate for the team.
The Predators acquired Barrie at the trade deadline last season in a deal with the Edmonton Oilers. Nashville traded away longtime defenseman Mattias Ekholm and the Oilers were in a dollar-in-dollar-out situation. It also helps Nashville that Barrie is a good hockey player.
Barrie scored 13 goals and 55 points combined this past season. He did this while playing a whopping 85 games. The 32-year-old became the eighth player in NHL history to play 85 games in a single season. And he became the first player since Rem Murray in 2002-03 to do so. Ironically, Murray ended that season with the Predators.
Barrie likely won't play 85 games this upcoming season. But he is on an expiring contract, which opens him up to the possibility of a trade if Nashville falls behind other teams in the playoff race. At $4.5 million, a healthy and productive Tyson Barrie is not a bad player to have if you need offense.
This one might stir Predators fans up, but it's worth noting either way. Saros has established himself as a fantastic goalie in the NHL. The 27-year-old took over for franchise icon Pekka Rinne during the 2020-21 season. And he has absolutely thrived since becoming the primary option in goal.
Over the last three seasons, Saros has recorded a .920 save percentage and a 2.59 goals-against average. Going back even further, the Finnish puck-stopper has never posted a save percentage below .910 in any season of his career. These are unbelievably elite numbers. And in the NHL, elite goalies do not grow on trees.
Saros is currently under contract for the next two seasons. The 28-year-old makes just $5 million in salary. Of course, the Predators will try with all their might to extend him. But if nothing comes to pass, moving Saros and allowing top prospect Yaroslav Askarov to grab his opportunity might be the move Nashville has to make.