Tommy Novak on the Trading Block? Predators’ Deadline Decision Looms

The Predators and Novak have been trying to come to terms on a contract extension since training camp, and despite their efforts, they have been unable to reach an agreement so far. With Novak on an expiring deal, and considering the Predators face the dilemma of having nine players set to become unrestricted free agents and three more as restricted free agents at the end of this season, it would make sense for the team to trade him for assets at the deadline rather than letting him walk in free agency for nothing. Novak’s situation is particularly pressing, given he’s poised for at least a modest raise from his current $800,000 salary, further complicating Nashville’s current and future salary cap scenario.

Novak would most likely bring the Preds a significant return in a trade. The 26-year-old centerman has demonstrated his worth by nearly averaging a point per game in the NHL, despite predominantly playing on the Predators’ 2nd and 3rd lines. His production has been impressive since joining the Preds full-time, with Novak racking up 43 points in 51 games last season, and he is currently in remarkable form. This level of productivity underscores his potential massive value on the market, especially considering his affordable contract and the skillset he would bring to a contender.

The Predators are at a crossroads with Novak. Holding onto him without securing a contract extension would risk losing him for nothing in Free Agency and overlook the opportunity to capitalize on his market value. Given the Predators’ need to manage their roster effectively amidst the looming free agency of several players and the emergence of promising players like Afanasyev, Pärssinen, and Tomasino, who will need roster spots, trading Novak emerges as a logical step. He represents the ideal acquisition for a contender looking to bolster their lineup at the deadline due to his skill level, impact on the offensive game, and his contract’s financial flexibility. Novak could seamlessly slot into the 2C or even the 3C role on a deep contender, making him a desirable option for teams aiming to enhance their championship aspirations.

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