NHL Rumors: Predators Linked To 4 Big-Name Pending UFAs

 The Nashville Predators are expected to be big players this summer, as GM Barry Trotz is looking to make a big splash and improve his team significantly. 

They have now been linked to at least four big-name pending unrestricted free agents—if the players make it to July 1st. In some cases, their incumbent teams are still working to re-sign and extend some of these names:

Brady Skjei / Brett Pesce

The Carolina Hurricanes blueline impeding UFA tandem are high on a lot of teams' lists if they make it to July 1st. In Pesce's case, that's almost a certainty. But the Preds, according to insider Pierre LeBrun in The Athletic, would be in on both of them. 

One team to keep an eye on if Skjei and/or Pesce go to market is the Nashville Predators. They need to replace Ryan McDonagh, and I believe they would inquire and try to sign one of those two Carolina D if they go to market.

Pesce is a right-shot d-man, who focuses largely on his own end of the ice, and from all accounts, there will be no extension for him in Carolina before Monday. Skjei offers quite a bit more offense, from the left side, and would cost more to sign, at least $1M more annually. Pesce is looking at a contract north of the $6M per year mark, while Skjei could land in the $7.5M range. 

Chandler Stephenson

The Predators need to boost their offense as well, and Stephenson would be a nice play to bring in. They are said to have interest in the Vegas Golden Knights center. 

After being underpaid for the last four seasons at a $2.75M AAV, this will be the 30-year-old center's big chance to cash in as a UFA. The Vegas Golden Knights might not be able to offer him what he's looking for, as they're under a cap crunch, and have Jonathan Marchessault as their top priority to re-sign. 

Steven Stamkos

This would be the biggest splash of all for the Preds, if they could pull off this coup. The Tampa Bay Lightning, of course, are still trying to re-sign their longtime captain and franchise icon, but if he gets to July 1st, we've heard that Nashville will be all over Stamkos.

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