It’s no secret the Predators have dug themselves into a deep rut, so it comes as no surprise that Nashville would make some changes on the roster front to freshen and revitalize the fast approaching finish line to the playoffs.
With Brian McGrattan back with the Calgary Flames and Hal Gill and Brandon Yip recuperating on the IR, the Predators found themselves in a position to give life to a lifeless group of guys.
Insert Bobby Butler, Zach Boychuk and Victor Bartley: Nashville’s new Three B’s.
Okay yay! The Predators actually took the initiative to make a change up this lackluster bunch, but what do these three guys have to offer that may bring the momentum back to the Predators? It’s already looking like these three will be in the lineup this weekend, with Bartley possibly making his NHL debut, so let’s take a look a these three newcomers:
Let’s start with Victor Bartley, who is no stranger to the Nashville Predators organization. How so? He currently is a free agent on Nashville’s farm team, the Milwaukee Admirals. It’s no surprise that Nashville would finally call one of the hopefuls up, and, between he and Taylor Beck, Bartley was a no-brainer. Victor is currently in the Top 20 of AHL defensemen, with twenty-six points (7 goals, 19 assists) in 54 games. Sounds fantastic to any Predators fan, but though the game is relatively the same, the NHL is a whole new territory; similar to how significantly different the NHL and KHL are. A kid can be hot and at the top of his game in the minor league then get called up and just can’t quite get the hang of the NHL scene.
But hey, let’s not be Debby Downers, shall we? Bartley is good – he has proven that already. He’s paid his dues in Milwaukee and will not disappoint to only be sent back down. These kids know the opportunity doesn’t rear its head often and snuggling into a roster spot is a no-holds-bar kind of situation.
Oh, and did we mention he likes to dance to Gangnam Style?
Our next B is Zach Boychuk, who Nashville picked up off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. Boychuk was a standout in the 2008 NHL Draft, being picked up by the Carolina Hurricanes 14th overall in the first round. Boychuk is now the third Top 20 first round pick of the 2008 Draft to join the Nashville Predators, along with Colin Wilson (7th overall) and Chet Pickard (18th overall). Boychuk hasn’t had too bad of a season, holding onto 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) in just 37 games while he was with the Hurricane’s farm team, the Charlotte Checkers.
Here’s a video of him with a camera on his head:
Our final B is Mr. Bobby Butler, who Nashville claimed off of waivers from the New Jersey Devils late Monday morning. Nashville’s first waiver claim of the week had a few people scratching their heads, as Butler hasn’t made much of an impact to brag about. He does, however, possess the ability to hang onto the puck – nice puck-handling skills – which, if could not benefit Nashville in the long run, will help the Admirals greatly. In all honesty, Butler was more of a farm team trade to begin with, but his presence could rattle a few veteran feathers into remembering they are disposable, too.
Here’s a video of a nice goal while he was with the Senators. Oh hey! He knows Gill!
What the Predators gain with these new faces? None of them have made a huge impact on the game – if they had, would they have been on waivers? – but they are a threat to the veteran members on the team; especially Bartley. Perhaps the Predators are giving the rest of the team a gentle wake up call that, despite nestling comfortable into a cushy roster spot, there are plenty of younger, more eager talent chopping at the bit to nab that roster spot.
Perhaps the veterans have nestled too comfortably into their roster positions. This, my friends, is what we call a rude awakening. The Nashville Predators are about to get one before the ship to the playoffs leaves them standing on the end-of-the-season shoreline.