Barry Trotz Spends First Weekend As GM Signing Six Players

Barry Trotz. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators new General Manager Barry Trotz spent his first weekend as GM signing six players in free agency.

On July 1, the first day of NHL free agency, Trotz signed Ryan O’Reilly, Cody Glass, Anthony Angello, Troy Grosenick, Gustav Nyquist and Luke Schenn.

These major moves come as the Preds finished hosting the 2023 NHL Draft as well as trading Ryan Johansen and buying out Matt Duchene‘s contract.

“The harsh reality is that we moved two very good players out,” Trotz said in a press conference. “Both of them have been high contributors to the Preds organization, not only on the ice, but off the ice… They’re good, good, good people,” he added. “In the change that we did make, we wanted to fill [the void] with more good people.”

Probably the most notably move Trotz made was signing for St. Louis Blue and Stanley Cup Champion O’Reilly to a four-year, $18 million contract.

“Ryan O’Reilly’s a serial winner, a Stanley Cup Champion, a Selke winner,” Trotz said. “He’s been MVP in the playoffs. I’ve worked with Ryan at international events like the World Cup of Hockey. He’s been on Olympic teams. He reminds me of a Joe Pavelski-type of guy that continues to produce. People follow him, and everybody around him is better. And for our young guys and our culture, that was a critical piece for us.”

Throughout his 14-year NHL career, he’s won the Selke Trophy (2019), Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (2014) and been named to the NHL All-Star Game. This past season, the 6’1, 207-pound center recorded 30 points (16 goals-14 assists) in 53 games with St. Louis and Toronto and added nine points (three goals-six assists) in 11 postseason appearances, helping lead the Maple Leafs to a first-round victory over Tampa Bay.

O’Reilly had 10 points (12 goals-seven assists) in 40 games to begin the campaign before a trade to Toronto ended his five-year tenure with St. Louis; following the acquisition, he produced at nearly a point-per-game rate, owning four goals and seven assists in 13 regular-season appearances for the Maple Leafs.

Schenn was also a large move for the Preds to add some big and solid defense. He signed with Nashville for three-years, and $8.25 million.

He is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Tampa Bay Lightning (2020-2021) and finished the 2022-2023 season skating for the Toronto Maple Leafs, recording one goal, 60 hits and 13:18 of average ice time in 15 appearances. Prior to being acquired by Toronto at the trade deadline, the 6’2, 225-pound blueliner closed out a two-season stint with Vancouver, where he had 21 points with 18 assists in 55 games for the Canucks in 2022-2023. Schenn suited up in 11 postseason games for the Maple Leafs, helping lead them to a first-round victory over the Lightning while tallying one assist, 54 hits and 17 blocked shots.

“We have one of the greatest defensemen in the National Hockey League right now in Roman Josi,” Trotz said. “I don’t like sometimes when Roman takes some big hits. Luke will make sure that those big hits won’t be coming too often.”

Nashville signed Nyquist to two-year, $6.37 million contract. He recorded 27 points (11 goals-16 assists) in 51 games split between Columbus and Minnesota in 2022-2023, then added five assists in six postseason games for the Wild. A veteran of 703 NHL games with Detroit, San Jose, Columbus and Minnesota, the Halmstad, Sweden native has amassed 428 points (175 goals-253 assists) a career-high 28 goals in 2013-2014 and 54 points (27 goals-27 assists) in 2014-2015, both with the Red Wings.

Prior to becoming a full-time NHL player, the 5’11, 176-pounder spent parts of four seasons with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, being named to the to two AHL All-Star Games, the 2012 AHL All-Rookie Team and the 2013 First All-Star Team while winning the 2013 Calder Cup.

Trotz signed longtime Preds prospect Glass to two-year, five million dollar contract. He spent his first full season at the NHL level in 2022-2023, amassing 35 points (14 goals-21 assists) in 72 games with the Predators, all career highs. After opening the season with three points  in his first 16 appearances, he recorded 32 points (13 goals-19 assists) in his final 56 games, the fourth-most points on the Predators in that time span.

Glass was also second on the Predators in power-play goals with six, a career high. Following the NHL campaign, the Winnipeg, Manitoba, native joined Canada at the 2023 World Championship, where he posted four assists in 10 games en route to the Gold medal. In his first season with the Nashville organization in 2021-2022, Glass led the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals in points with 62 (14 goals-48 assists and 66 games played).

The Predators signed both Angello and Grosenick to a two-year, two-way contract worth $775,000. Angello  spent the final 17 games of his 2022-2023 regular season with Milwaukee (AHL) after being acquired from St. Louis in March, posting seven goals and 12 points. He went on to record three points in 16 Calder Cup Playoff games, helping the Admirals reach the Western Conference Final.

Grosenick appeared in six games during the 2022-2023 season with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, going 3-2-0 with a 3.32 goals-against average. The 6’1, 181-pound goaltender returns to the Predators organization after spending parts of three seasons with Milwaukee from 2017-2020, posting a 47-27-9 record in 86 games. In 2019-2020, Grosenick finished sixth in the AHL in wins (20), eighth in save percentage (.920) and ninth in goals-against average (2.29) as he and Connor Ingram won the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award, given to the goaltenders on the team with the fewest goals-against per game during the regular season, helping lead Milwaukee to the league’s best record.

Steven Boero