NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Nashville Predators extended qualifying offers to eight of their restricted free agents, signaling the organization wants to retain those players moving forward.
Offers were extended to forwards Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Calle Jarnkrok, Taylor Beck, and Gabriel Bourque, defensemen Anthony Bitetto and Taylor Aronson and goaltender Magnus Hellberg.
The offers give the Predators the ability to continue talks with the players to negotiate and come to terms on new contracts before the season starts.
Predators Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton feels they have the right pieces in place.
“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. We have to figure out who fits where and what the price is,” said Hellberg. “Sometimes, that comes at the expense of making hard decisions, but we knew [the qualified RFAs] were all going to be a piece here, and we wanted to make sure we retained their rights.”
One of those key pieces to the puzzle is Craig Smith, who recorded the highest point total of any of the team’s RFAs in 2014-2015 with 44 points (23g, 21a) .
Also in negotiation is Colin Wilson who reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career last season, recording 20 goals and 42 points, both career highs.
“They’ve become core players for us here,” Fenton said of Smith and Wilson. “They’re really big pieces for us, and as we go forward in the summer, we’re hoping to sign them to long-term deals.”
Jarnkrok, Beck and Bourque also skated at the NHL level for the entire campaign in 2014-15, with Beck and Jarnkrok both setting career highs in points.