Fisher to replace Weber as Captain per Report

NHL: Nashville Predators at Vancouver Canucks

Image Source: Google Images

While the official announcement will be made tomorrow at 12:30PM by the organization, the news of who will become the seventh Captain of the Nashville Predators was released just moments ago.

In an exclusive reveal to The Tennessean’s Adam Vingan, the Predators have handed the ‘C’ to someone that comes as no surprise: veteran center Mike Fisher.

Traded to the Nashville Predators from the Ottawa Senators for a first round draft pick back in February of 2011, Fisher is on the verge of his sixth full season with the team. Though he has held assistant captain for both Ottawa and Nashville, Fisher has never – since being drafted in 1998 – held the status of captain… until now.

While Fisher’s future with the team remains questionable (retirement looms on the horizon), he is undoubtedly the most qualified for the role. He has held a leadership role throughout his tenure with the Predators and, while younger players – such as Josi and Neal – are starting to find their leadership styles, Fisher is still the man to look to when times get tough.

While I would’ve preferred waiting for the official word, it is still good to see Fisher will be seventh captain of the Nashville Predators.

Preds sign Matt Carle to one-year Deal

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Image Source: Tampa Bay Lightning

Keeping everyone on their toes today, the Predators confirmed a second signing this afternoon, this time involving veteran defenseman Matt Carle. Here’s the official word from the Predators:

The Predators newest defenseman, who inked a one-year, $700,000 deal with the club on Wednesday, played for Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette and Assistant Coach Kevin McCarthy from 2009-12, when the three were members of the Philadelphia Flyers organization. Add that to the time spent with Preds Assistant Coach Phil Housley and Team USA at the 2013 World Championship, and the familiarity with those behind the bench can only help Carle find his game once more.

Bought out of the final two seasons of a six-year deal by Tampa Bay, Carle is hoping for a fresh start in Nashville with a blue line that is arguably the League’s best.

Carle is a veteran of 724 career regular-season games – the most of any Preds defenseman – and 127 postseason contests, which include two trips to the Stanley Cup Final, once in 2010 with Laviolette and the Flyers, the other in 2015 with Tampa Bay. The 31-year-old blueliner, born in Anchorage, Alaska, is excited to see what’s next to come in Tennessee.

Carle saw the most statistical success of his career while playing under Laviolette, hitting the 35-plus point mark for three consecutive seasons, including 40 points in 2010-11. With the interest in Nashville already present, a phone call with Laviolette may have sealed the deal.

Drafted 47th overall in the 2003 NHL Draft, Matt Carle was actually Tampa Bay’s highest paid defenseman last season at $5.5M. However, after a disappointing 2015-16 season, the Lightning bought out the remainder of his contract and off to unrestricted free agency he went… and into the arms of the Nashville Predators. At 31-years-old, Carle will be the oldest defenseman on the team, filling the veteran void left behind by Weber and Jackman. Matt Carle should find success under his former coach, which should overshadow his performance last season.

Preds sign Jarnkrok to 6-Year Contract

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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.

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O Captain, What Captain: Who will be the 7th Nashville Predators Captain?

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While checking out at Publix over the weekend, the kid manning the self-checkout station approached me about my P.K. Subban shirt. Yes, I’ve already purchased a Subban “shirtsey” because I am still giddy about this trade. He asked me about who would replace Shea Weber as captain and I mentioned a few options, but ultimately decided it was worth a post.

While this subject has been up for debate since the millisecond after it was announced Weber was shipping off to Montreal, it has been fun to see all the different speculations as to who might be presented with this significant role and title. But first, let’s talk about the roles of captain and alternate captain. While it is easy to assume that the more veteran players would be on the top of the list, that is not always the case. Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche is a prime example that age and (NHL) experience doesn’t always play a major factor when it comes to becoming the captain. Drafted second overall in the 2011 NHL Draft, Landeskog became the youngest captain in NHL history at the age of 19 in 2012. It should also be noted that – though it’s nothing new to Nashville – being a part of one organization for years doesn’t automatically qualify you for the position (or alternate) either. Sorry Leggy.

Yet another option to consider? How about no captain at all. Yes, believe it or not, there are a few teams that spend their seasons without a designated leader. The Edmonton Oilers did not have a captain last season, just a rotation of four alternate captains. And, in a more wild and unlikely (but possible) scenario, there’s the chance that title could go to Pekka Rinne (who will be featured below). Back in the day (1920s-40s), being a goalie plus the captain wasn’t unheard of. Now? Well, the League hasn’t banned net-minders being the captain altogether, but they will not acknowledge this extended title. The last goaltender to be named captain was actually rather recently in 2008 when the Vancouver Canucks bestowed the title to Roberto Luongo. While the league would not allow him to perform on-ice duties or wear the iconic ‘C’ on his sweater, he did sneak a captain’s ‘C’ onto his mask. Luongo held his captaincy from 2008-2010 before handing the title to Henrik Sedin.

I write this all to say that anything is possible as to who may be the next captain of the Nashville Predators, but I have my beliefs that it will be Roman Josi. However, it’s fun to go through all the possibly candidates because… who knows? Plus, I miss hockey.

Possible Captain Candidates:

Josi

 

  • Why he should be Captain: Uh, because he’s Roman Josi? All kidding aside, Josi has shown an incredible amount of skill and poise both on and off the ice. While we’ve known of his capabilities for years, the rest of the league is finally taking notice. After being selected to the 2016 All-Star festivities this year, Josi was finally getting more attention has a competitive contender instead of just Shea Weber’s linemate. Being an integral part of the Predators organization, this would be the time to give Josi the reins and promote him to captain status.
  • Why he wouldn’t be Captain: While I believe Josi has the greatest chance of becoming the next captain of the Nashville Predators, you cannot overlook Mike Fisher’s leadership and contributions to the team. I believe there is a slim chance they may give it to Fisher for a year and groom Josi into the position once Fisher retires.

 

Fisher

  • Why he should be Captain: Fisher has been an alternate captain since his first full season with the Predators in 2011-12. If you were to go by veteran presence alone, then Mike Fisher’s your guy. He is undoubtedly a leader both on the ice and off, thus transitioning into the captain’s role would make complete sense and would come easy to the center.
  • Why he wouldn’t be Captain: As mentioned, Fisher’s role as captain would make total sense, but there is one thing to consider: his possible retirement. Not every NHL player is a Jaromir Jagr and 36-years-old is getting kind of up there in hockey years. That, and being a new father kind of puts other things into perspective on the family front as well (because we all know Carrie’s not slowing down for a while). If he were to retire after the 2016-17 season, that means the process of choosing another captain would be up for grabs after one year. Not a huge deal, as Kimmo Timonen served as captain for one season (2006-07), but why not go ahead and choose someone that has no plans of retiring any time soon? Now, I have no idea when Fisher plans to hang up his skates, but I believe it will be sooner rather than later (he does only have one season left on his contract).

Neal

 

  • Why he should be Captain: Neal has had a leadership role with the Predators ever since arriving to Nashville in the 2014-15 season and quickly became one of the notable faces of the franchise. Though it doesn’t seem like it, Neal would fall under the veteran status within the organization and this could be his time to step up within the team.
  • Why he wouldn’t be Captain: While I don’t really have a reason as to why he would not do well as the captain, I just believe there are two better candidates on the team at this time. It is also important to note that Neal has a bit of a reputation with the officials and that does throw in a hindrance as well.

Alternate Captain Candidates:

I think it’s obvious that, if Roman Josi is named captain, the two alternate captains would continue to be Mike Fisher and James Neal. However, like last season, Roman Josi and Pekka Rinne were names alternates although they did not wear the ‘A’ on their sweaters (no, goalies cannot wear an ‘A’ either). The players below are who I believe would be good candidates for alternate captain:

 

Rinne

 

  • Why he should be an Alternate: As we are all aware, Pekka is a positive dude and holds himself accountable for situations under his control (and even those not under his control). He keeps his cool and, on the rare occasion he does get upset, you know he’s serious. Goal-tending is an unique position that essentially requires you to have some kind of leadership skills and/or qualities; Pekka Rinne’s got that down pat and it is clear that the rest of team looks to him in times of need.

 

Johansen

  • Why he should be an Alternate: Though he’s facing his first full season with the Nashville Predators, I certainly see him as being a part of the leadership group. Johansen, like Neal, has a bit of an edge to him, but it’s an edge that makes him memorable in a good way. Although he is young, he does have the makings for a great leader and Nashville will be his home to perfect those qualities.

Forsberg

  • Why he should be an Alternate: Before the acquisition of P.K. Subban, there’s no doubting that Filip Forsberg was the most exciting player on the team (and he still could be). He’s young, well-spoken, level headed, and it’s clear that the Predators intend to push him as a franchise player.

Subban

  • Why he should be an Alternate: Not only has he held this role with the Montreal Canadiens, but he is also easily the most recognizable and marketable player on the team (before even laces up with the Predators). Enough said.

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  • Why he should be an Alternate: With an intensity on the ice, Ekholm has a knack for standing up for his fellow teammates in their time of need. This devotion to his team signifies a quality a leadership that his former captain was well known for.

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  • Why he should an Alternate: With the trading of Weber, Ryan Ellis has now found himself in almost a veteran position. As someone who has expressed leadership qualities well before his time with the Predators organization, it would only be natural for the 25-year-old defenseman to move up into a more defined leadership role.

So, to summarize all of this, I believe Roman Josi will be the seventh player to be named captain of the Nashville Predators, with Mike Fisher, James Neal, and Pekka Rinne as the alternate captains. Should I have just said that from the get-go? Probably, but then this post wouldn’t have been so much fun (or taken me nearly as long). Do you have the same predictions or are you thinking something completely different? Well, we will all see soon enough.

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Hutton signs deal with St. Louis Blues

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Though we all knew it was going to happen, it is still with a heavy heart that we announce that everybody’s favorite backup goaltender is moving on. Carter Hutton signed a two-year deal ($1.25M 2016-17, $1M 2017-18) with the St. Louis Blues. As mentioned, this testing of the free agency waters by Hutton comes as no surprise, but his on and off-ice presence will surely be missed by Predators players and fans alike.

The running #Heythanksforhavingmeguys tag will have to be passed on to the Blues; hopefully they’ll continue this honored tradition.

 

Preds buyout Jackman Contract

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Image Source: The Tennessean

So who all woke up this morning thinking the Weber/Subban trade was all a dream? Yeah, it’s still hard to wrap your mind around and it’ll be a while before it all sinks in. But, while you continue to process that information, the Predators camp is far from settling down.

Early this afternoon, it was announced that the Predators bought out the contract of veteran defenseman Barret Jackman. Jackman (35), who was signed to a two-year, $4 million contract on July 1, 2015, spent his first 16 years with Central Division rival St. Louis Blues. With this buyout, the Predators now have around $9.3 million in available cap space, which could mean additional assets are on the horizon (free agency starts tomorrow).

Jackman’s buyout came as a surprise to just about everyone as he brought an exceptional veteran presence to not only the ice, but off ice as well. This move, as mentioned above, could signify that David Poile has his eye on someone special.

Though he was part of the organization for less than a year (by one day), Barret Jackman played a significant role with Nashville and its push towards the Cup. I wish him well in his future with the league and/or beyond.

NSH trades Weber to MTL for Subban

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Yes, you read that headline correctly. Just days after winning the 2016 Mark Messier Leadership Award, Shea Weber has been traded in a deal with the Montreal Canadiens for fellow defenseman Pernell Karl Subban, better known around the world as P.K.

For me personally, I am finding myself in a glass case of emotions… On one hand, this is an outstanding trade. Subban is undoubtedly one of the best defenseman in the league and snagging him from Montreal would be insane. On the other hand, in order to snag someone like Subban, you’ve got to have something just as valuable in return. That valuable piece? Either Shea Weber or Roman Josi. As much as we’d all love to imagine having all three together, it’s just impossible on too many levels. And with that, our beloved captain has been traded to Montreal and the rumors of “when will Weber be traded?” have come to an end on this day, June 29th, 2016.

Unlike the laughable trade that came an hour earlier between the Edmonton Oilers and the New Jersey Devils (one-for-one Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson deal), this trade is good for both parties involved. Montreal receives a powerful, veteran defenseman and Nashville gets a younger, more offensive-minded defenseman that will pair well with Roman Josi in return.

Here’s a little info on P.K. Subban from the Predators:

Subban, 27 (5/13/89), is among the most decorated defensemen in the game today. Individually, he won the 2013 Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, was a finalist for the award in 2015, is a two-time First-Team NHL All-Star (2013 and 2015) and a 2011 All-Rookie Team selection. He has helped teams win a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics and a pair of World Junior Championships (2008 and 2009). Over the past four seasons – dating back to 2012-13 – the 6-foot, 210-pound blueliner has amassed 203 points (42g-160a) in 274 regular-season games, third most among all NHL defensemen. He has surpassed the 50-point mark in each of the past three seasons, highlighted by a career-high 60 points (15g-45a) in 2014-15. He has advanced past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his last two appearances in the postseason, ranking fourth among NHL blueliners in points (5g-9a-14pts) in 2014, helping Montreal reach the Eastern Conference Final.

A native of Toronto, Subban started his professional career in 2009-10, being named to the AHL All-Rookie Team and an AHL First-Team All-Star after leading all league blueliners in goals (18) and ranking third in points. The 43rd overall selection in the 2007 NHL Draft (second round) played four seasons with the OHL’s Belleville Bulls from 2005-09, posting 190 points (42g-148a) in 234 games and being named a 2009 First-Team OHL All-Star.

Subban has also become renowned for his charitable contributions, and recently received the 2016 NHL Foundation Award which is presented to “an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community.” In September 2015, he announced a $10 million pledge over a seven-year period to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation (MCHF), and often employs various initiatives to engage the community and raise awareness about those causes nearest to him.

That’s right. If somehow you missed this piece of information about a year ago, P.K. Subban is quite the charitable giver and will be a huge asset to the Nashville community as well. So you get elite defenseman + all around nice guy. Can’t beat that, right?

Shea Weber will be truly missed. Drafted 49th overall in the 2003 NHL Draft by the Predators, Weber has been an integrated figure in the Nashville community and the Predators organization for nearly ten years. It really hasn’t set in that he has been traded, but I am sure as the pre-season festivities begin, it’ll hit us all pretty hard. As a writer, I am supposed to keep my heart out of moments like these, but I am also still a fan. It is hard not to become attached to players; it’s like a friend moving away. It sucks. But alas dear Weber fans, you will be okay. Trust me, you’ll love P.K. Subban.

Forsberg Signs Six-Year, $36M Contract with Preds

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Image Source: Claus Andersen/Getty Images

The deal we’ve all been waiting patiently for has finally been revealed: Filip Forsberg and the Nashville Predators have agreed to a six-year, $36M contract, guaranteeing the 21-year-old Swede will make $6M each season from 2016-17 to 2021-22.

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Nice. Here’s a little excerpt from the Predators on the signing:

“Filip is among the most skilled, dynamic talents we’ve ever had in the organization and is an integral part of our success for the next six years and beyond,” Poile said. “While we have already seen his creativity, hockey sense and puck skills, he has yet to reach the peak of his abilities. We have full confidence that he will continue to blossom into one of the top players in the world.

This is just another example of our ownership group’s commitment to the franchise, our fans and the entire community to build a team that can reach our ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”

Forsberg, 21 (8/13/94), led the Predators in goals (33) and points (64) for the second consecutive season during his sophomore campaign in 2015-16. His goal total tied the single-season franchise record and for 10th in the NHL, while his point total put him among the League’s Top 25. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound winger recently received two first-place nods and finished 10th in voting for the 2016 Selke Trophy – given to the NHL’s top defensive forward – while playing all 82 of Nashville’s contests for the second season in a row.

Forsberg is also a decorated player internationally, having made his World Championship debut for Sweden in 2015, being named one of the country’s three best players of the tournament after ranking second among all skaters in goals (8), and third on Team Sweden in points (9) in eight games. He captained Sweden to silver medals at the 2013 and 2014 World Junior Championships, being named 2014 tournament MVP and Best Forward and to the 2013 tournament All-Star Team; he helped the Tre Kronor claim gold at the 2012 World Junior Championship; he captained his country to a silver medal and was named Best Forward at the 2012 Under-18 World Championship; and earned another silver medal at the 2011 Under-18 World Championship as the team’s youngest player.

Thankfully, the Predators and Forsberg came to an agreement before really dragging it out, giving fans a chance to sigh with relief; unlike when it was time to re-sign Shea Weber (See: Weber Watch 2011). So how is that for a happy Monday, Preds fans?

Preds Select Dante Fabbro in First Round of 2016 NHL Draft

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Image Source: Google Images

With the No. 17 pick in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft, the Nashville Predators selected defenseman Dante Fabbro of New Westminster, British Columbia.

Fabbro, who was named the 2015-16 CJHL Top Defenseman of the Year (due in part to notching 67 points in 45 games played) is committed to Boston University this fall, but the kid has mentioned admiring and “loving the Predators” organization prior to the draft; he also considers Shea Weber a positive role model (who is also a native of British Columbia).

On a more unique note, as pointed out by the Tennessean’s Adam Vingan, Fabbro’s sisters play soccer for Austin Peay State University. There’s your six degrees of Kevin Bacon separation for you.

There’s no denying Nashville loves its defensemen (and excels at producing them) and Fabbro will continue that tradition when he is ready to step into the professional scene. Fabbro is Nashville’s only draft pick in the first round, but the second – seventh rounds will be tomorrow at 9AM CST on NHL Network.

Predators remaining draft picks:

No. 47 – Second Round

No. 76 & No. 78 – Third Round

No. 108 – Fourth Round

No. 138 – Fifth Round

No. 168 – Sixth Round

No. 198 – Seventh Round

 

 

Weber wins 2016 Mark Messier Leadership Award

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Image Source: Google Images

For the third time in the organization’s history, a Nashville Predators player has won an award at the National Hockey League Awards. Now, the organization has had countless nominees, but yes, only three winners in its eighteen years.

Those three guys? Steve Sullivan won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 2009, Mike Fisher won the NHL Foundation Player Award in 2012, and now Shea Weber, winning the Mark Messier Leadership Award earlier tonight.

The Mark Messier Leadership Award is presented to the NHL player who exemplifies leadership capabilities both on and off the ice, including charitable contributions in the local community. Along with Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber created the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund, which benefits the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Weber’s commitment to his hometown of Sicamous, British Columbia also helped win him this award.

Though the league and fans have a hand in deciding who will be the chosen few for this award, the winner is ultimately decided by Mark Messier himself. Messier ultimately decided that Shea Weber was more worthy of his aptly-named award than John Tavares of the New York Islanders and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.

Biased are we, but this award was much deserved by the Predators captain. Congrats to Shea Weber!