The Nashville Predators may end up losing prospect Yakov Trenin if they aren’t willing to give him a one-way contract. The 23-year old’s agent posted a picture of Trenin with a SKA St. Petersburg jersey earlier today, and then followed up with Adam Vingan of The Athletic to explain that they would not accept a two-way deal. The agent, Shumi Babayev, told Vingan that the chances are not great of him returning to Nashville, though he hasn’t technically signed in the KHL just yet.
Trenin, a second-round pick from 2015, finally broke into the NHL this season after several years in the minor leagues. Russian-born but drafted out of the QMJHL, he ended up playing 21 games for the Predators in 2019-20 and scored six points. Trenin’s entry-level contract is set to expire and he obviously believes he deserves more than just the two-way deal many prospects have to accept with little NHL experience. With little leverage as an arbitration-ineligible restricted free agent, Trenin’s only real out would be heading to Russia. Even then, the Predators could retain his rights with a qualifying offer, one that would be a two-way contract worth just $787,500 at the NHL level.
Of course, this could be just a negotiating tactic if Trenin hopes to stay and compete for a roster spot next season on a Nashville team that will be looking for cheap options upfront. His waiver-exempt status will expire after this season, meaning even if he does sign a two-way deal he could very well end up at the NHL level all year. An interesting young player that dominated the AHL level this year, it seems unlikely that the Predators would risk him to waivers in order to send him down even if he’s not playing every night for them.