The Nashville Predators acquired a forward on Thursday, just not that forward.
While Matthew Tkachuk remains with the Calgary Flames for the time being, the Predators signed Nino Niederreiter to a two-year, $8 million contract, adding a five-time 20-goal scorer to their top six.
The 29-year-old winger scored 24 goals and 44 points last season, finishing as Carolina’s third-leading goal scorer and ranking fifth among forwards in scoring. He totaled 69 goals and 137 points over 234 games in Carolina.
Why it makes sense for Nashville
A strong two-way forward with excellent forechecking ability who can drive plays offensively, Niederreiter could round out the Predators’ second line with Ryan Johansen, a playmaking center, and Philip Tomasino, an ascending young goal scorer.
Niederreiter also has a history with Johansen and Mikael Granlund. He was a WHL teammate of Johansen’s with the Portland Winterhawks during the 2009-10 season. He also played with Granlund for six seasons with the Minnesota Wild, tallying 110 goals and 228 points in 434 games.
Niederreiter’s addition doesn’t take the Predators out of the Tkachuk sweepstakes necessarily, but it does make acquiring the 24-year-old forward a little more challenging.
Trading for Tkachuk would likely involve signing him to a contract worth more than $9 million per season, and the Predators only have $4.094 million in cap space after signing Niederreiter. They’re awaiting a salary arbitration hearing with Yakov Trenin, which will take place Aug. 2. His projected salary is in the $2 million range.
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