The Nashville Predators kicked off NHL Free Agency by making a big splash. Nashville signed former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O'Reilly to a four-year contract to set the tone for their summer activity.

On Thursday, O'Reilly met with reporters at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. He opened up about what he saw in the Predators that led to his decision to sign on the dotted line when the free agency market opened.

Live and breathe sports?

🚨 Get viral graphics, memes, rumors and trending sports news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

“I think the veteran players that are here right now, the way they impact the game is so impressive,” O'Reilly said Thursday, via “I think, too, watching last year and the youth, and what they do, there's a great balance of both.”

O'Reilly also told reporters that he believes he can add to this balance of youth and experience. And he has rather high hopes for the team he is walking into. “I think we can take a step and be right there competing for the [Stanley] Cup,” the Predators forward said.

O'Reilly has a track record of coming up big when needed. He won the Stanley Cup as a member of the St. Louis Blues in 2019. That year, he won the Conn Smythe as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The veteran Predators forward split last season with the Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs. In 53 total games, he scored 16 goals and 30 points. With Toronto, O'Reilly added three goals and nine points in 11 playoff games.

The Predators missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs this past season. However, they finished on 92 points, just three points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

That said, the Predators competing for the Stanley Cup this season may be a bit far-fetched. Let's see if O'Reilly can help Nashville take that step and compete in 2024.