It was only a matter of time. The Predators have finally started to click on many levels and within all of the given lines, but with Mike Fisher and Matt Cullen on the verge of returning, someone would be having to take a backseat or ship out altogether. Rich Clune has seen maybe five minutes of ice time during this season, with the remainder of that time spent on the Scratched list. Though Victor Bartley has also been sitting pretty on that list, enforcers tend to get the boot before players who don’t spend their time patrolling the ice (the same can be said for the Calle Jarnkrok argument). If you were at all a fan of former Predator, Brian McGrattan, you knew that, by seeing Clune’s name listed under scratches game after game was going to end poorly.
Cullen suffered an upper-body injury back in the pre-season against Tampa Bay, but yesterday he skated amongst the top line with Craig Smith and Derek Roy. With that, Cullen was deemed ready for activation from the IR, meaning some roster changes were needed to make the room. The first move? Placing Rich Clune on waivers, with the intent that he clears as so he can be assigned to Nashville’s farm team, the Milwaukee Admirals. The second move? Viktor Stalberg being sent down to Milwaukee on a conditioning assignment. Due to an injury caused in the pre-season and missing the first three games of the season, the organization felt Stalberg would do better getting some ice time amongst the AHL.
The Milwaukee Admirals – with the welcoming of Stalberg and potentially Clune – now has a full house, which will cause them to do a little shifting of their own. The Ads, who are currently undefeated at 6-0-0 and sitting pretty at the top of the AHL Western Conference, may have a challenge on their hands, but we’re sure they’ve got this down to a science.
After much talk, the Predators officially announced this afternoon that Filip Forsberg would be loaned to Team Sweden for the 2014 World Junior Championships, which are scheduled to begin on the 26th. Sweden, who have already established themselves as a contender for gold, will only reap the benefits of adding Forsberg to their lineup.
Last year, Forsberg notched three goals and two assists in just six games, though Sweden would finish in second behind Team USA (and Seth Jones). This year, we suspect he will see even more success with his homeland team.
Here is the official release from the Nashville Predators:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has loaned forward Filip Forsberg to the Swedish National Team for the 2014 World Junior Championships, taking place Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Malmo, Sweden.
Forsberg, 19 (8/13/94), has posted five points (1g-4a) in 12 games with Nashville, and eight points (3g-5a) in seven games with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals in 2013-14. The Ostervala, Sweden native helped Sweden win gold at the 2012 World Junior Championships, and captained the Swedes to a silver medal at the 2013 World Juniors, being named to the tournament’s All-Star Team in the process.
As you may recall, Filip Forsberg was just recently removed from the IR and sent down to Milwaukee to get some ice time, but some time with a more familiar setting my do the trick of getting back into the swing of things. However, in his first game back on Friday, Forsberg scored two goals and the Milwaukee Admirals won 4-0.
Wowza. What an unexpected surprise for Nashville, wouldn’t you say? Though I would’ve loved to rush to the blog to get this story out sooner, my employer wouldn’t have appreciated me cussing under my breath at my phone as I fought to get WordPress to work on my phone.
Though you know the story by now, the Predators made a surprise move on the last day of the Trade Deadline in the form of trading both Martin Erat and Mike Latta to the Washington Capitals for a forward by the name of Filip Forsberg. *I beg your pardon? We traded Erat and Latté for who?* Well, we hope that now that most of the story and facts have trickled out, we can get you the full blown information here. Let’s take a look at what Mr. Poile did today and was it worth the loss of a veteran like Erat?
Well, from what we gather in a nutshell: Yes, yes it was.
Filip Forsberg was selected 11th overall by the Capitals in the 2012 Draft, the third Forward to be drafted. Let us also mention that the young Forsberg, born on August 13, 1994 (I feel old), has no relation to Peter Forsberg who played for Nashville for a brief time in 2006. The 18-year-old is not currently with the Capitals, though; he isn’t even floating around their Farm Team. Honestly, he isn’t even in North America at all. No, Forsberg is currently in Sweden (where he hails), filling a roster spot with Leksands IF of the Swedish Elite League. With 15 goals and 18 assists in just 38 games, Forsberg looks like the offensive powerhouse that Nashville has longed to acquire (Hey, Radulov…).
Though he hasn’t proven himself in the NHL yet, it was a risk Poile and Co. were willing to take in order to take Nashville to a Stanley Cup. The young Swede has already signed a 3-year entry level contract and is cleared to play in North America now, if he chooses. Though he has one game left in Sweden, it is not for certain if he will make the jump to the NHL this season or next, but believe us, he’ll be wearing the Predators gold soon. David Poile made the comment today that he does want to see him in the lineup soon.
So, if this prospect is so good, why did the Capitals let the 18-year-old go for a 31-year-old vet?
Truth is, Washington gave up on him. Okay, there was more than that, but that is the reason in a nutshell. He hasn’t seen a second of NHL ice time and risking him for a veteran like Martin Erat wasn’t a tough decision for Washington. Plus, they acquire Michael Latta with the trade, who has been a standout for the Milwaukee Admirals as of late. Though Latta will probably hit Washington’s FT, Erat will join alongside Alexander Ovechkin and former Predator, Joel Ward.
More news trickled out as the trade announcement had been made; one that shook Predators fans to the core. Per David Poile in his press conference to the media, Martin Erat had expressed his interest in being traded. Still sore from the Ryan Suter debacle, fans were not ready to hear that Marty Erat, who has been with the team for twelve years, spoke with Poile two weeks before the Trade Deadline about waiving his ‘no-movement clause’ and search for greener pastures. It was clear Erat was no longer happy here in Nashville, which is a shame, but Nashville was “moving on with a younger team” and he doesn’t “have 6- to 7 years to wait for it [Stanley Cup] to happen”.
You can’t hate the guy for being unhappy and for being honest. Poile expressed his displeasure that the Predators and Martin Erat had to come to an end in a negative way, but I wouldn’t say Erat is leaving in a negative light. He expressed his displeasure and Poile honored his request, nothing more, nothing less.
We wish Marty all the luck in the world with Washington and hope he finds a better fit with Ovie and Wardo. It’s hard to see a leader and veteran like Erat wish to leave and, as a fan, it makes you wonder what went wrong. Why was he so unhappy here? Well, everyone has their own opinion as to why Erat may have been unhappy – as do we – but from his own mouth, he and Nashville were no longer on the same page. His lack of performance this season proved his displeasure here, and that you cannot dispute.
As for Mike Latta, we were looking forward to the feisty enforcer in Nashville, but alas, that ship as sailed to the Hershey Bears (Washington’s FT). He was drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2008 NHL Draft (72nd overall) and has made a name for himself while with Milwaukee as a fan favorite.
Ecstatic, isn’t he?
From fellow teammate and Preds prospect, Magnus Hellberg
To gain is to lose, and in order to aquire the future of the Nashville Predators organization, we had to let go of the past; a part of the foundation that his held Nashville together for twelve long years. It is hard to see Erat go, but again, to gain is to lose. Once Filip Forsberg has joined the Predators, fans will see that David Poile made the right move to push the future of the Nashville Predators towards the ultimate goal: the Stanley Cup.
We wish you well, Martin Erat.
We wish you well, Mike Latta.
Welcome to the greatest team in the league, Filip Forsberg.
“Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has assigned forward Matt Halischuk to Milwaukee (AHL) on a conditioning assignment. Halischuk remains on Nashville’s active roster during the conditioning stint.
Halischuk, 24 (6/1/88), has one assist and six penalty minutes in 16 games for the Predators this season. He last appeared with the Admirals during the 2010-11 season when he amassed 23 points (11g-12a) in 37 games.”
Sound vaguely familiar? It should. Brian McGrattan was sent to Milwaukee for a conditioning stint, in which he was placed on waivers then picked up by his former team, the Calgary Flames.
Now don’t jump to conclusions – Just because Halischuk is being sent on the same route McGrattan was, doesn’t mean he’s going to be placed on waivers (but don’t put it out of your mind altogether).
Though Halischuk isn’t exactly the bright, shining star like some of his fellow teammates, his presence didn’t go unnoticed and has been a connecting piece to the overall puzzle that is the Nashville Predators. However, in times like these, pieces that kind of fit just aren’t going to take the place of pieces that fit perfectly. If they want to see the playoffs, the Predators have to find the perfect pieces, not just ones that “kind of fit there” for now. Sadly, Matt Halischuk is one of those pieces.
Again, don’t get us wrong – Halischuk has had his shining, impressive moments, but they just aren’t the numbers the Predators need right now. Hopefully, ice time in Milwaukee will get him fired up and ready to return to the NHL action. Or, maybe that will get him ready for a trade… or waivers…
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:
Victor Bartley… along with the local news channel crew…
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.
Looks like Trotzy is trying out some new lineups in hopes of a boost some offensive action i.e. goals and maybe – going out on a limb here – a win or two.
Here are the new lines:
Colin Wilson – Mike Fisher – Martin Erat
Brandon Yip – David Legwand – Gabriel Bourque
Nick Spaling – Craig Smith – Sergei Kostitsyn
Matt Halischuk – Paul Gaustad – Rich Clune
Huge step forward for Colin Wilson who, not even a year ago was trying to claw his way out of Trotz’s doghouse. Huge step backwards for Sergei Kostitsyn who, as we all know, just isn’t quite getting the whole “shoot the puck because you can score” concept. Colin is creative on the ice, which may just be exactly what the Preds need to get a move on in this season.
Trotz has also thrown around the idea of bringing up a few prospects from Milwaukee, but no confirmation as of yet.
The Predators take on the defending Stanley Cup champs, the L.A. Kings, tomorrow night at 9:30 CT.
Shootout. The third in just five games. The Predators are 0-3 on the shootout thus far.
After the Ducks’ embarrassing 5-0 shutout against the Canucks the night before, it is not surprising the Ducks weren’t forgetting what time the game started tonight. However, unlike Thursday in St. Louis, Nashville came out strong, though both sides stayed evenly matched when it came to shots on goal throughout the game. The Predators played much better and much more level-headed compared to Thursday, but the Ducks just weren’t going to suffer two nasty losses in a row. Both teams were licking the wounds of a shutout, but only one could savor sweet victory. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game in the Golden State:
Paul Gaustad returned to the lineup after missing the last two games. Jonathon Blum and Brian McGrattan remained on the scratched list, along with Matt Halischuk.
Brandon Yip struck gold first with a backhanded goal past Viktor Fasth, who made his NHL debut during tonight’s game. Yip’s first goal of the season was unassisted.
The Predators would hold down the fort throughout the remainder of the first and for all of the second, except for Bobby Ryan notching his first goal of the season with just over 30 seconds left in the second to tie the game.
David Legwand would seal his second goal of the season at 10:09 in the third with a backhander, assisted by Kevin Klein (second assist) and Gabriel Bourque (first assist).
Daniel Winnik would respond moments later with his fifth goal of the season, a tip-in past Pekka to tie the game once again.
Overtime proved to be a heated match, but neither side could find the sweet spot to end the game, thus throwing the game into a shootout, the Predators’ apparent mortal enemy.
NASHVILLE – Martin Erat – SAVE
ANAHEIM – Ryan Getzlaf – SAVE NASHVILLE – Mike Fisher – SAVE ANAHEIM – Corey Perry – GOAL NASHVILLE – David Legwand – SAVE
Penalties, yet again, plagued the Predators tonight. With Nashville’s four and Anaheim’s two, the Predators gave the Ducks more chances to advance. Luckily, the Ducks just couldn’t nail that powerplay goal. Here are the four guys who like the box a little too much:
1. Nick Spaling – 6:28 1st Period – Slashing
2. Craig Smith – 16:56 1st Period – Throwing Stick*
3. Brandon Yip – 9:16 2nd Period – Boarding
4. Hal Gill – 5:17 3rd Period – Tripping
*Rule 10.3 – “A player will be penalized if he throws, tosses, slides or shoots a stick to a teammate on the ice.” Yea, it’s real.
Patric Hörnqvist suffered a lower-body injury tonight during the third period, first from taking a Shea Weber slapshot to the leg and another hit against the boards from Ryan Getzlaf. Per Coach Trotz, Patric will be out indefinitely and most likely will be on a plane back to Nashville to be examined by the team doctors. Although a tremendous loss for a struggling team, Patric’s healing time may lead to more opportunities for players such as Colin Wilson.
Craig Smith looks like he has made his way into Trotz’s infamous “dog house”, with a very noticeable lack of ice time with one shift in the second period. There will be no sending him to Milwaukee, however, as that would expose him to waivers. After his senseless penalty, Smith may not see the ice for a while. Colin Wilson’s heart may be smiling, as he is most notable for being Trotz’s go-to player to punish.
Rough beginning to the season for the Preds, but don’t jump ship just yet, fellow Preds fans. Though Nashville does not have the luxury of an entire season to gain momentum, they still have time, if they push themselves to victory. It can be done, but they cannot take their time. Do not turn on Peks, either. Though he hasn’t quite reached his typical Finnish phenom status, he isn’t the problem. Yes, shootouts are not his strong suite, but he is not the only factor that leads to a shootout scenario.
The Predators wander out to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes on their turf, another game that could prove rough for the Predators. Then again, they may pull some confidence from midair and nab a much-needed win. Preds and Coyotes match up Monday, January 28 at 8 PM.
FINALLY! A POST WITHOUT EXPLAINABLE EXCUSES! Ahh, just kidding; the Preds didn’t do that bad during the last two games, but how refreshing it is to write the first winning post of the season! And against the power couple that is Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, no doubt!
The Predators started out a bit iffy tonight, similar to last night’s start with the Wild showing the upper-hand. Showing no fatigue from last night’s shootout loss to the Blues and the late night plane ride, the Preds kept par with Minnesota, inevitably holding strong for the win. Here are the highlights from tonight’s first win of the season:
Paul Gaustad traveled to Minnesota with the team and even took to the ice during practice this morning. However, his upper-body injury is still on the mend, so he, Jonathon Blum, and Brian McGrattan were your three scratches for the night.
Gabriel Bourque, who played a substantial role during last year’s playoffs, boarded a plane from Milwaukee at 7AM this morning to join the team in St. Paul. Bourque did not originally join the team at the end of the lockout due to an injury, healing while with the Admirals.
Chris Mason was given his chance to hit the ice for the Predators once again since 2008, getting the nod as starting goalie against Niklas Backstrom. Pekka Rinne, after a rough two games at home, took a needed break, although many were weary of Mason’s preparation against a 2-0 opponent.
Minnesota started out on the feisty side, keeping the action centered around Mason and the Predators’ zone. At 6:02, Dany Heatley knocked one past Mason, his third goal of the season.
The Wild’s early strike stirred the pot for the Predators, waking them up near the end of the first period with a wrist shot at 16:31 from Nick Spaling, his first goal of the season, to tie the game. Kevin Klein and Brandon Yip both picked up their first assists of the season.
The second period remained quiet on the goal front, but not on the defensive and offensive front. The Predators put up more shots on goal during the second (10 to Minnesota’s 7), and Chris Mason made some key and valuable saves to avoid sending the Wild into the lead.
The majority of the third period had most Predators fans wondering if they were going to see yet another shootout (three in a row?!), with both sides taking an even amount of eleven shots on goal during the period. However, Martin Erat nailed the magic backhand past a misplaced Backstrom to put the Predators up 2-1 for his second goal of the season at 11:45. Unassisted, we might add.
The Wild would pull Backstrom to give them an extra hand, but a last minute slashing penalty on Pierre-Marc Bouchard ended up backfiring on the Wild, giving the Predators the upper-hand and David Legwand’s first goal of the season at 19:43 on the powerplay. His snapshot was assisted by Nick Spaling.
The game was full of penalty action, both on the Predators and the Wild. Thankfully for the Predators, none of their penalties had a reprocution of a goal in favor of the Wild, but the latter can be said for Minnesota. Here are your Predators that wanted some alone time in tonight’s game:
The Zach Parise/Ryan Suter pairing have proven to be a power couple in just two games, but it was proven tonight that they are flawed and are not invincible. Though Roman Josi and Shea Weber have not meshed as well as Suter/Weber once did, the season is still young and, though it is a shortened season, the Josi/Weber pairing has time (not too long) to mesh and maybe, just maybe, we’ll forget all about that “Ryan Suter” character.
Let us not forget backup goaltender, Chris Mason. The Wild were brutal on net when they were in the crease, giving both the Preds defense and Mason a run for his money for not being a lanky, 6’7″ Finnish phenom. Mason blocked 28 of 29 shots on goal; though you can argue Peks has stopped many more than that while balancing on his right pinkie, Mason revived a few reluctant fans (and analysts) who just weren’t sure about how he could stack up to both Pekka and former backup goalie, Anders Lindback. After tonight’s performance, it looks like Chris Mason has measured up and surpassed even our critiques.
The Predators are off tomorrow night, but face the Blues in St. Louis on Thursday night. After tonight’s reviving win, will the Predators take that momentum across the West?