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From July 1

Forwards Steve Sullivan and Joel Ward? The Predators are still holding out hope.

That's what things looked like Tuesday night, only hours before the NHL's unrestricted free agent market was set to open at 11 a.m. today.

Predators General Manager David Poile said Tuesday that Nashville was unlikely to re-sign either Fiddler or Zanon. Both players had spent the past three seasons with the Predators and both had hoped to return, but deals could not be struck.

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Here's some good insight about the current state of the Preds by one of their bloggers.

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Brandon-Felder/The-Current-State-of-the-Preds-Roster-and-the-Top-6-Forward-That-Got-Away/94/22309
The first issue if the Preds current state of thing regarding the roster. It seems, based on David Poile's comments at the Skate of the Union event, that the Preds may indeed go with what they have. Mr. Poile's comment was, "We've got a lot of these younger forwards and it's their time to jump in, to fit in, and make a contribution."

Now, giving the young guys a chance is always exciting. The competition coming this September at training camp is likely to be fierce. As much fun as it is to see these young guys get a chance, it does cause concern for me. As of right now in regards to the forwards, at the Predators official website (which has been redesigned by the way) you have Ben Eaves, Ben Guite, Patric Hornqvist, Ryan Jones (who still has not agreed to terms with Nashville as an RFA yet), Peter Olvecky, and Antti Pihlstrom (although every indication is that he will be playing in Europe this season). Those are the guys currently listed there that I have penciled in. Meaning, they may or may not be called upon for a bigger role. Eaves, Guite, and Olvecky all have 2-way contracts. Hornqvist had a very rough first season and really needs to rebound. Ryan Jones is a realistic option at the 2nd line if he agrees to terms and Predators head coach Barry Trotz puts him on that 2nd line.

Of course we will get to see whether or not guys like Colin Wilson, Nick Spaling, Cal O'Reilly will appear in Predators Jerseys,Cal O'Reilly, and Michael Santorelli can make their roles in Nashville a permanent thing. I'm getting to the point soon so bear with me.

On defense, the Preds website has Hamhuis, Suter, Weber, Klein, and then just Alex Sulzer (who has a 1-way contract this season) listed. This leaves at least one spot available which means we will have guys like Teemu Laakso, Cody Franson, and maybe even Jonathon Blum competing at camp to make the big club. Klein has played a total of 81 NHL games which makes this upcoming year a sophomore year essentially. Sulzer has a total of 2 NHL games. So half of the defensive core will be less than experienced.

Now to the point. I feel like a broken record on this issue a little bit because I preached it so much near trade deadline. It's all about depth folks. I have never seen a season where at least one key player didn't miss at least a month of playing time. I think we all saw last season the depth issue come to light. I warned about it at the deadline, and I'll be nervous about it again if the roster stays as is right now. To me, the Preds still need to find a veteran forward and D-man. This is just to insure that should an injury occur (and they always do) the Preds will be able to push forward without much difference than before. I like the idea of getting a chance to watch these young guys just as much as anyone else. To finally see what these guys can bring is a lot of fun. To have a successful season though, I'd like a little insurance.
 
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