The Nashville Predators and General Manager David Poile have apparently pulled a fast one regarding free agent Mikael Granlund.

After declaring they were all but done free agent shopping a couple months ago, the Predators are rumored to be signing Mikael Granlund to a one year deal. Granlund, a 28-year-old Finnish winger, was thought to be headed for free agency this past fall.

Then this report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman earlier tonight:

This signing would give the Predators 11 total forwards under contract for the 2020-21 season, with one RFA (Luke Kunin) left to sign. Typically the Predators enter training camp with 13 forwards on their roster. This means there may be even one more signing to come, though they could also look to their prospect pool to fill that role (as they’ve alluded they will do).

At a press conference in October, David Poile seemed to indicate that Mikael Granlund, along with Craig Smith, would not be returning to the Preds the following season. Smith ended up signing a three-year, $9.3 million deal with the Boston Bruins, but now it appears Granlund is returning to the Preds.

A Granlund return might rewrite narrative

If true, this would be a dramatic turn of events for the Preds and Granlund. After trading Kevin Fiala to get Granlund in February 2019, Granlund was slow to adjust to Peter Laviolette’s system. Then, after Laviolette was fired last January, he was also slow to adjust to John Hynes’ system.

It seemed like Granlund and Nashville would part ways after the 2020 season, with the Preds ending up with egg on their face, having came out the clear loser in the Fiala for Granlund deal.

But not so fast, my friend.

If Friedman’s report is true, the Preds would end up shaving nearly $2 million from Granlund’s 2020 cap hit to have him back. A $3.75 million forward with the scoring history of Granlund– he had back-to-back 60+ point seasons with the Minnesota Wild in four years ago– would be a steal. Assuming he is able to return to that form, the Preds might have found a diamond in the rough.

In their own backyard, no less.

And if that happens, David Poile can re-write the narrative on that Kevin Fiala for Mikael Granlund trade. Maybe it won’t be a win for the Nashville Predators, but he might be able to at least call it a wash in the long run.

— Featured image via Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports —
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