Preds lose Neal to Expansion Draft

James+Neal+2017+NHL+Stanley+Cup+Final+Game+j8Xq5WDmEEnl

Image Source: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Well, as soon as it was announced that Calle Jarnkrok was protected by Nashville to leave Neal exposed to the Expansion Draft, we knew it would be coming. We could easily argue both sides of the coin, but let’s be honest: losing James Neal is a difficult pill to swallow. Even with young guns like Pontus Aberg and Colton Sissons out in the water, exposing a veteran power forward with a ton of gas still left in the tank was just too tempting to pass up for the Vegas Golden Knights. The loss of James Neal will free up $5M in cap space for the Predators, but that doesn’t take the sting out, does it?

We will have more information from the organization once it becomes available.

 

Advertisements

Preds release NHL Expansion Draft Protected List

PicMonkey Collage

UPDATE: More players have been added to the exposed list as of 11:20AM CST.

After pushing the release of the lists back by thirty minutes, the NHL officially allowed us commoners to see who teams protected… and who they did not. By no surprise, the great debate between James Neal and Calle Jarnkrok has left the Real Deal exposed along with a few others that were expected.

Exposed Players:

  • James Neal
  • Matt Irwin
  • Colton Sissons
  • Craig Smith
  • Colin Wilson
  • Cody McLeod
  • Yannick Weber
  • Marek Mazanec
  • Pontus Aberg
  • Cody Bass
  • Vernon Fiddler (UFA)
  • Mike Fisher (UFA)
  • P.A. Parenteau (UFA)
  • Adam Payerl
  • Mike Ribeiro
  • Miikka Salomaki
  • Trevor Smith
  • Austin Watson
  • Harry Zolnierczyk
  • Taylor Aronson
  • Anthony Bitetto
  • Stefan Elliott
  • Brad Hunt
  • Andew O’Brien
  • Adam Pardy
  • Petter Granberg
  • Jaynen Rissling
  • Scott Valentine

Protected Players:

  • Viktor Arvidsson
  • Filip Forsberg
  • Calle Jarnkrok
  • Ryan Johansen
  • Mattias Ekholm
  • Ryan Ellis
  • Roman Josi
  • P.K. Subban
  • Pekka Rinne

If you are freaking out about Neal (or anyone else) being exposed, as I mentioned in my previous post, that doesn’t automatically mean he’s headed to Vegas. Now that the exposed players have been released, teams can negotiate trades between the Golden Knights to attempt to protect these particular players. However, David Poile will more than likely have an uphill battle when it comes to negotiating with Las Vegas General Manager George McPhee (see Erat/Latta for Forsberg trade).

Wondering about Nashville’s other players? Here’s the list of the Predators’ exempt players from the Expansion Draft:

  • Kevin Fiala
  • Frederick Gaudreau
  • Vladislav Kamenev
  • Juuse Saros

UPDATE: It has now been acknowledged that Pontus Aberg, Mike Fisher, P.A. Parenteau, Vernon Fiddler, and Petter Granberg are not exempt from the expansion draft. It is important to note that Fisher, Fiddler, and Parenteau are all free agents, which means Vegas could go ahead and sign these players (the rest of the league has to wait until July 1st). However, if Vegas were to sign one of Nashville’s free agents, that would count as their expansion draft pick leaving the rest of the exposed players (like Neal, Watson, and Aberg) to stay with Nashville.

To see who the other teams in the league protected and exposed, here is the list from the NHL. So, what are your thoughts? Do you think GMDP can manage to work out a deal to save Neal? Whatever the case, there is no denying that George McPhee has the best seat in the house for this expansion draft and is soaking up every second of it.

Save

Jarnkrok makes Preds protected list

callejarnkrokanaheimducksvnashvillepredatorszl7b2iadndel

Image Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

While the notion has been floating in the back of our minds since the announcement of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, those backing the Nashville Predators were focused on more in-the-moment matters as of late. Alas, the time as come for all (current) thirty teams to expose a player to the Expansion Draft whether they were ready to or not. While some teams opted to trade around, the Predators either remained silent on the matter or couldn’t get one sorted out. Either way, the expansion draft is not going to necessarily be kind to Nashville, though there are ways to lessen the blow.

Although names like Colin Wilson and Craig Smith have been tossed around, ultimately it seemed as if it came solely down between Calle Jarnkrok and James Neal. While Neal’s contract will be more extensive (expensive) in the future, one could offset that case with his dependability (and goal scoring). But, as we all know, it isn’t all about goals… I guess. Another reason why David Poile is the GM and not me.

Long story short, Adam Vingan of The Tennessean reported earlier this afternoon that Calle Jarnkrok’s agent stated that the young center was on Nashville’s protected list from the expansion. While the Twitterverse collectively freaked out (understandably), that does not ultimately mean that James Neal will be donning a Golden Knights jersey come this October. However, we will all find out just who was exposed and who was protected tomorrow morning at 10AM when the NHL reveals the protected list.

As you mull that over, let’s remember some key dates coming up in the extremely near future:

  • June 18: Protected List revealed to public @ 10AM
  • June 20: New Adidas jerseys unveiled
  • June 21: NHL Expansion Draft & NHL Awards
  • June 21: 2017-18 Home Openers Announced
  • June 22: 2017-18 Schedule Released @ 2PM
  • June 23 & 24: NHL Draft
  • June 26: Deadline for RFA Qualifying Offers
  • June 26-July 3: Preds Development Camp
  • July 1: Free Agency Begins
  • September 7: Preds Rookie Camp Opens
  • September 14: Training Camp Opens

Preds make history; advance to Western Conference Finals

cut

Image Source: NHL.com

Though Nashville had the chance to punch their ticket to the Western Conference Finals on Friday night, perhaps they purposefully lost that game just so they could seal the deal at home… one can dream, right? Whether that was Nashville’s original intent (wink, wink) or not, the Predators managed to fight off the feisty St. Louis Blues with a 3-1 win to take the series and advance to the third round, the first time in franchise history.

But let’s be honest; it wasn’t exactly the prettiest advancement ever. St. Louis wasn’t going to go down without a fight, and that was proven in Game 5 on Friday. Nashville’s performance in Game 5 was evidently still present in the first period, as the boys in gold had more issues than one, including connections on passes among other things. The first period would end with St. Louis up 1-0, thanks to an earlier wrister from Paul Stastny.

Perhaps Nashville just needed the first period to collect themselves (or Laviolette peeled the paint off the walls during that first intermission), but the Predators looked much more uniformed in the second period. Roman Josi would tie the game at 1-1 and put the home team on the board just 35 seconds into the second period. his fourth of the playoffs. Both teams would hang onto that tying score into the third period.

You know that whole “win a period, win the game” scenario? Yeah, that’s what both teams faced going into the third period. It came down to who was more desperate, to be honest. Another paint peeling by Laviolette set Nashville off on fire, with Ryan Johansen scoring his second goal of the playoffs, giving both the Predators and the home fans something to get extra loud about (along with a 2-1 lead).

Straying just a bit off topic, it is a beautiful thing to hear NHL bigwigs and announcers compliment Nashville and its fans; especially on how loud the Bridgestone Arena can get. I’ve sort of summed it up this way: When you combine a bunch of SEC football fans together, it can get a bit deafening. This is a predominately college football fan region; if you get a bunch of Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, Ole Miss, etc. fans loving a unifying sport, it’s going to get loud. College football fans – especially those in favor of the Southeastern Conference – are a unique breed, and hooking them on a game like hockey? It’s bound to be wild.

Back to the game at hand, and with the fans backing them from that point on, Nashville held their own, regaining the confidence expected of a team up 3-2 in a series. Holding onto Johansen’s one goal lead, the Predators would hang on from that point on until Calle Jarnkrok’s empty-netter goal with one minute remaining.

For the first time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators have advanced to the Western Conference finals… and the city’s heart is on fire for this team. The amount of support the Predators have received during these playoffs is outstanding. Between the celebrity sightings, the Titans players getting “hype” for their fellow professional sportsmen, to the all-star anthem performances, it’s been phenomenal for this team and its city. And for all those fans who couldn’t get a ticket tonight? There were hundreds stationed outside the arena watching on a jumbo screen. Let’s also not forget who came out to pump up the crowd and team before puck drop tonight…

#DoItForKevin, y’all.

Whether you’ve been faithful since the beginning in 1998 or you are just entering the hockey atmosphere, be proud, Preds fans. Be proud of this team and what they have overcome to get here. 16th out of 16 teams and they are the first to advance to the conference finals? That’s playoff hockey for you, baby. Nothing is given. Anything can happen.

Since the Oilers just defeated the Ducks 7-1 to force a Game 7 in the series, it’ll be interesting to see who Nashville will end up facing in the conference finals. So here’s the question: Who would you rather face? The young, spritely team lead by McJesus or Ryan Kessler?

BONUS:

Carter Hutton told Pekka Rinne during handshakes: “Go all the way, buddy.”

Michael Haley Suspended for barrage on Calle Jarnkrok

C70IdeiX0AEkLRX.jpg_large

Photo Source: USA TODAY Sports

The Department of Player Safety just announced that San Jose forward, Michael Haley will be suspended for one game (without pay) for his retaliation attack on Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok during Saturday’s match. Here’s some of the official word from the NHL:

The incident occurred at 12:56 of the third period. Haley was assessed a match penalty. Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Haley will forfeit $3,472.22. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

While some would argue that Haley’s “cheap shot” should warrant more than just one day of suspension, Calle Jarnkrok was active is yesterday’s practice and should be in the lineup for tonight’s bout against the New York Islanders. And Jarnkrok’s hit on Haley should not be overlooked either. Watch the video below to see the entire incident:

 
Calle Jarnkrok is by no means a dirty player and this was certainly not intentional boarding by any measure, but it is understandable why a player with 14 fights this season would fly off the handle after such a hit. Because of his gut reaction, Haley was ejected from the game and ultimately suspended for San Jose’s game tomorrow against the New York Rangers. After seeing a few Sharks fans a little upset (on Twitter) that Jarnkrok did not get called for boarding, it is important to note that while he was getting checked for a broken nose, Kevin Fiala served his boarding penalty for him. So there goes that argument.

Preds defeat Canucks in OT Stunner

c13oa-ixcaat1mj-jpg_large

Image Source: NHL Public Relations

Overtime. More specifically, 3-on-3 overtime. Nashville’s nagging nemesis. Since it was introduced last season, the Predators have had a difficult time finding success after regulation ends. But last night, Calle Jarnkrok decided to change that 0-3 OT record (not including SO losses) to 1-3… with 1.5 seconds left in OT.

But let’s first talk about the game before this overtime craziness. While the score sheet notates that there were no goals recorded in the first period, don’t tell that to Filip Forsberg. Early in the first, Forsberg blasted one by Ryan Miller, but was immediately waved off by the officials as being played with a high-stick. After a quick review, it was still determined to have been played with a high-stick and the score remained at 0-0.

Austin Watson, on the other hand, made up for the missed goal just 35 seconds into the second period for his third goal of the season. Mike Fisher (14) and Roman Josi (16) assisted in giving Nashville the lead early into the second.

Nashville would maintain that lead until Miller was pulled towards the end of the third period. And guess what? That extra attacker move proved successful for Vancouver, as Brandon Sutter slipped the puck by Rinne to tie the game. With 49 seconds left. Woof.

It’s no surprise that most Preds fans feared the worst as time ticked down to zero in regulation. Again, overtime hasn’t exactly been Nashville’s strong suite (to put it nicely). Needing these points, the Predators would have to figure it out or push it to a shootout.

One advantage Nashville had over Vancouver last night was its overall game. It wasn’t hard to see that the Predators were the stronger team throughout regulation, but when it comes to overtime, that doesn’t really matter. However, Nashville did take that momentum into overtime, with it looking like the Predators would win it early with a goal from Roman Josi. However – yet again – Nashville’s goal was waved off, this time due to goaltender interference by Viktor Arvidsson.

When it seemed like all hope was lost, Roman Josi and Calle Jarnkrok sent the crowd into a victorious roar. Rushing down the ice, Roman Josi made the methodical pass to Jarnkrok who “put the biscuit in the basket”.

Glory. Pure glory. Of course, now Nashville will have to beat Vegas off with a stick (no Swedes in the expansion draft). With this amazing GWG and OT goal, Jarnkrok knocked off a few franchise records, too:

But let us not forget the guy who should’ve gotten a shutout last night: The Eraser himself. Rinne stopped 29 of 30 shots-on-goal, including some pretty close calls from the Sedin twins:

Last night’s performance was a step in the right direction for Nashville in order to keep the playoff hopes alive. However, was this an example of what’s to come or was it just another bout of inconsistency? You can find out tomorrow as the Predators welcome in the 22-17-5 Boston Bruins. A win against Boston could finally push Nashville down the path they’ve been struggled with all season.

Jarnkrok pushes Predators over Blues 3-1

callejarnkroknashvillepredatorsvcoloradoejebgf4yksul

Image Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Show of hands as to how many of us thought the first winning streak would come in mid-November? Okay, so there’s no doubt we all thought Nashville would have at least more than one back-to-back set of wins by now, but that is just one of the fun things about the regular season. Perhaps it is due to the fact that there was so much hype coming into the season regarding this team that, without perceived perfection, fans can’t help but think the 2016-17 season is doomed. Well, good news; it isn’t. We are on game 13 of an 82 game season. Nashville is fine.

Granted, that doesn’t make the 5-5-3 record Nashville is totting around anything to be gloating about. But the team has been addressing its issues and last night’s win against the 7-5-3 St. Louis Blues could be chalked up as a testament to this improvement.

While the first and second periods looked a bit out of sync (which allowed Jaden Schwartz to tally his third goal of the season), it took a wrister from Calle Jarnkrok at the end of the second period to give the home team some confidence. Jarnkrok’s wrister, assisted by Colin Wilson & (surprise) Matt Irwin, was his first of the season.

When the Predators hit the ice for the third period, the group looked much more put-together and, dare I say, like a well-oiled machine. After a clean connecting pass from Mike Ribeiro, James Neal collected his fourth goal of the season with a secondary assist from Pontus Aberg (who notched his very first NHL point). Not even a minute later, Calle Jarnkrok picked up his goal of the night (and season) at 4:50, slipping it past former Predators goaltender, Carter Hutton. Nashville would hang onto the lead for the remainder of regulation, giving the Predators their first winning streak of the season.

Pekka Rinne continues to be “the eraser” that he is, but he needs the rest of his team to jump on that consistency train. Personally, I am not worried about this team just yet. As I stated, last night’s tilt was game 13 of 82; Nashville has time to figure out what the issues are and get them fixed. However, they can’t put that on the back-burner and coast to the playoffs by any means.

Nashville welcomes in the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday for a special Hockey Fights Cancer Night at 7PM. Anaheim’s current record is 7-5-3 and sits second in the Pacific Division, just two points behind Edmonton. While the win over St. Louis certainly boosted some much needed morale around Nashville, a continued streak over Anaheim could be what sets the Predators on a track of success.

Save

Preds sign Jarnkrok to 6-Year Contract

Jarnkrok

Moments ago, the Nashville Predators announced that they and Calle Jarnkrok’s camp have agreed to a 6-year, $12M contract. Here’s the official word from the team:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Tuesday that the club has signed forward Calle Jarnkrok to a six-year, $12 million contract. The contract will pay him $1.7 million in 2016-17, $1.8 million in 2017-18, $2.1 million in 2018-19, $2.2 million in 2019-20 and 2020-21, and $2 million in 2021-22.

Jarnkrok, 24 (9/25/91), appeared in all but one of Nashville’s 2015-16 regular-season games, more than doubling his previous career high in goals (16), as well as setting personal bests in assists (14) and points (30). The Gavle, Sweden, native also ranked second on the Preds in game-winning goals (4) a season ago, and saw his year-over-year average ice time increase by 3:17. In 167 career NHL contests since joining the Predators via trade on March 5, 2014, Jarnkrok has amassed 57 points (25g-32a) and played in all 20 of the team’s postseason contests, recording three assists.

Detroit’s second choice, 51st overall (second round), in the 2010 Entry Draft, Jarnkrok has represented Sweden in five international competitions in the last eight years, winning a gold medal at the 2013 World Championship and earning a bronze at the 2014 World Championship. Prior to making the jump to North America for the 2012-13 season, the 6-foot-1, 186-pound forward helped Brynas win the 2012 Le Mat Trophy as Swedish league champions on a team that also included Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm, and was a finalist for the 2011 Swedish league rookie of the year (won by Ekholm).

As exciting as this is, there is speculation that Jarnkrok – unless protected by the organization – has a significant chance for being picked up by Las Vegas when it’s time for them to put together their team. But let’s not discuss those speculations and just enjoy the beauty that is the mane of Calle Jarnkrok.

tumblr_ngnuqaJAfp1qg71cno1_500.gif

Off-Season Presser: Who’s In, Who’s Out

Nashville Predators v New Jersey Devils

Image Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

While Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay duke it out and St. Louis and San Jose press on, here in Nashville our thoughts are focused on off-season changes. General Manager David Poile and Head Coach Peter Laviolette met with the media today to address trials and tribulations of the 2015-16 season, post season, and what should be expected from the organization through the off-season and into the next season.

Both Poile and Laviolette addressed the disappoint Game 7 loss against the San Jose Sharks, but praised the city of Nashville for the passion shown for the team throughout the playoff push:

While the disappointing loss still stings just a wee bit, most have moved onto more pressing matters such as the status of certain players. From the presser today, this is what we know:

  • Paul Gaustad will not be returning. A 34-year-old UFA, it was only a matter of time before Gaustad was replaced with a younger center.
  • Colton Sissons may be that replacement. Totted as Gaustad’s “heir apparent” in the conference today by David Poile, Sissons notched four goals and two assists this past season, which earned him some playoff time as well.
  • Eric Nystrom will either be bought out or traded. Yes, the Nystrom Show will have to find another host (and another name) next season. While in his first season he notched 21 points (15 of which were goals) in 2013-14, the past two seasons haven’t been as fruitful (just 19 points combined). Needless to say, Poile would like to attempt a trade with another organization, but will not hesitate to buy out the 36-year-old to free up space for someone younger.
  • Poile would like to keep Carter Hutton. Well yeah, me too, Poile (thanks for having me guys), but thinking from a hockey standpoint, it may be time to bring up either Marek Mazanec or Juuse Saros to possibly become – dare I say – Pekka’s replacement. It wouldn’t be the worst decision ever if Poile and Hutton’s agent can come to an agreement, but anything more than a year might be pushing it for the young guns lying in wait.
  • Contract negotiations: Calle Jarnkrok. David Poile mentioned that he hopes to begin contract negotiations with Jarnkrok “right away”. Jarnkrok, who was Nashville’s gain in a trade with Detroit for David Legwand, has proven his worth within the organization; perhaps it’s because he’s Swedish. Swedes are good. I mean, the kid missed one game in the regular season and totaled 30 points. Saying he’s worth having around is truly an understatement.
  • Contract negotiations: Filip Forsberg. Well, there’s no doubt somehow, someway, David Poile and Filip Forsberg will come to an agreement on a contract this off-season… and possibly a lengthy one at that.
  • Gabriel Bourque has an update. Yes, Gabriel Bourque. Injured back in November, Bourque has been working hard to get back into the lineup but a persistent UBI has kept him sidelined. Per Poile, Bourque has seen some improvement (noted that he could’ve hit the lineup if the Preds had made the Western Conference Finals) and hopes to find him a place with the team in the future.
  • Cody Bass will be re-signed. With Nystrom and Gaustad out of the future picture, Bass will be needed to fill that void on the fourth-line. Not exactly known for being a huge scorer, his presence is certainly felt both on and off the ice in positive aspects, so – as mentioned – he will be needed in the near future.
  • Ribeiro has some work to do. David Poile noted that Mike Ribeiro will need to have the “summer of his life” this off-season. I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Poile.

So, there you have it. Hopefully that was enough Predators information to last you for a little while until your cravings start to hit again. If you aren’t too familiar with the off-season, it stays rather busy. The 2016 NHL Draft will be held on June 24-25, which will bring plenty of buzz before and after the picks are in.

Preds defeat Hawks 3-1

1395632701002-usatsi-7830484

Source: The Tennessean

Let’s start by discussing how successful this road trip has been for the Predators, shall we? After the devastating loss at home against Los Angeles last Saturday, the Predators needed all the help they could get going into a three-game road trip to Canada and Chicago. Sitting pretty in a Wild Card position, Nashville was going to need as many two-point games as they could muster, and Montreal, Chicago, and even second-to-last in the league Toronto weren’t going to go down without some kind of a fight.

Back-to-back games are tough on any team, but Nashville made it look easy by first coming away with two points in a shootout against Montreal (yes, the Predators made it through an overtime) 2-1. Pekka Rinne has been playing exceptionally well, along with his cohort Carter Hutton. Of course, the highlight of this particular game was Craig Smith and his… well, Craig Smithy-ness and then his redemption SO goal.

Moving onward to Tuesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs (who are battling with the Edmonton Oilers for last in the league) have already beaten the Predators once this season, claiming the two points in Nashville in a 2-1 SO victory back on November 12th. After a little jawing between Cody Bass and former Predator Rich Clune, the Predators notched a 3-2 victory over the floundering Maple Leafs.

Apparently, Rich Clune was not happy that Bass is wearing his former number. I guess Nashville was supposed to retire it after you were waived?

Riding high on their two victories in Canada, it was time for the Predators to face a divisional opponent and not just any divisional opponent – a divisional opponent that has had the upper-hand on Nashville this season. The Predators have loss seven straight games in the United Center so there’s no doubt there was some tension going into last night’s game. Chicago, who is ten points ahead of Nashville and is one point behind tying Dallas for first in the Central Division, wasn’t expecting to lose this game. So much so were they to win, the NBC Sports broadcasters chose to cover the Blackhawks instead of both teams (before anyone says anything, I am aware the Blackhawks were the home team, but come on. It’s on a neutral network. At least try to cover both teams equally).

Pekka Rinne was a force to be reckoned with last night, something we haven’t seen from him in a long time. When I say a long time, I mean he’s starting to find that “Pekka-esque” groove again, which has been absent due to injuries over the last few years. Since allowing Carter Hutton more ice time, it has almost given Rinne a rejuvenated feel. That, and with Hutton finding his fire, it is great to know that, no matter who is in the goal for that given match, it will be well defended.

Viktor Arvidsson is certainly making a name for himself with the big boys, getting Nashville on the board last night to tie the game after Seabrook’s initial goal. The young Swede notched his seventh goal of the season, his second in just five games.

Pekka Rinne would keep the prying Blackhawks at bay until around 1:30 left in regulation when another young Swede would come to the rescue and give Nashville the 2-1 lead. That Swede? Calle “Ironhook” Jarnkrok.

His twelfth goal of the season, Jarnkrok has become a threat in his own, being in the right place at the right time in most situations. For this goal, Mike Fisher setup the initial chance, which Jarnkrok easily took advantage of for the game winning goal.

Extending the Swedish dominance was Miikka Salomaki, who sunk the empty-netter to give Nashville the 3-1 lead and the overall victory as time expired.

Being a divisional rival, a league and division leader, knocking off the Blackhawks in their own arena should be a huge morale boost for the Nashville Predators; there’s no way it couldn’t be. The Predators hit their slump mid-season, but it has seeped into their playoff chances for sure. It’s now or never to kick it into gear and start collecting points. Some might say, “but they already have a wild card spot”. Yes, but that isn’t permanent and there are plenty of other teams who want that coveted spot as well. Plus, who wants to just settle with okay?

Nashville is back home Saturday for a rare 2PM puck drop against the 35-19-9 St. Louis Blues. This will be another game that Nashville will need to push hard for the two point victory.