Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
"I can just watch you guys on TV this year and enjoy it," the Nashville Predators veteran general manager chuckled Sunday after pulling off an impressive trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs that landed him Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli.
Not that the Maple Leafs didn't do well, too, because GM Dave Nonis deserves full marks for pulling a first-round pick his way as well as prospect Brendan Leipsic -- two good assets. Plus the Leafs can also flip Olli Jokinen for a draft pick before March 2.
But for the Central Division-leading Predators to add a top-four blueliner of Franson's ilk plus versatile top-nine forward Santorelli, suddenly you have to consider the possibility that the Preds aren't simply going to get stomped on by a team like the Blues or the Blackhawks in the second round.
What's apparent more than ever is the Preds have the talent and the depth to take a long playoff run of their own.
Nashville, Tenn. (February 15, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Sunday that the team has acquired defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Nashville’s first-round selection in the 2015 Draft, and forwards Brendan Leipsic and Olli Jokinen.
“In preparation for the 2015 playoff run, our goal was to add a veteran defenseman who could play in all situations and a proven forward who could move up and down lineup based on the situation,” Poile said. “We were fortunate to do this in the same transaction with players who are in the prime of their careers more than two weeks before the Trade Deadline in order to give them more time to contribute and gel with their teammates.
"Both Cody and Mike were drafted, developed and began their NHL careers here. They know our organization and still have former teammates and friends on the roster. We are fully confident that they will seamlessly fit into our team.”
“Cody brings size, offensive ability and the capacity to play in all situations to our lineup,” Poile said. “He is the perfect component to round out our defensive corps and give us eight proven NHL defensemen.”
“Mike is a versatile player that can move up and down the lineup based on the situation,” Poile said. “He has fantastic speed, is excellent in the face-off circle, and can play all three forward positions if called upon. He is an excellent complement to our existing group of forwards.”
from John Glennon of The Tennessean,
So what might interest the Predators over the next few weeks? Here are some positions and names that might make sense:
Defensive depth. The Predators have a very talented and offensive-minded defensive corps when everyone is healthy, but outside of Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Anton Volchenkov, there's not a lot of experience on the blueline.
Nashville would be well-served to add at least one quality defenseman, most likely a player with size who is good in his own end and can log a decent amount of minutes. Some players that might fit the bill are Ottawa's Marc Methot, Colorado's Jan Hejda, Carolina's Andrej Sekera and Arizona's Zbynek Michalek.
Center depth. The Predators have fared well offensively with their one-two punch of Mike Ribeiro and Fisher, but scoring becomes more challenging in the postseason and it would be good to have more options in the middle. Along the same lines, injuries have to be expected in the playoffs, another good reason more is better.
It would be pretty challenging to find a No. 1 center at the deadline. But some players that could supplement Ribeiro and Fisher are Arizona's Antoine Vermette, Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly (if he's on the market), Colorado's Daniel Briere and even former Predator Mike Santorelli, now with Toronto.
Tyler Myers barely put some sweat on his new Winnipeg Jets sweater when late in the game, he decided to stand in front of a Shea Weber shot. And why quick to learn why that’s a bad idea.
Below, Myers talks post-game, saying his leg went dead but he is ok. Myers also talked about playing for the Winnipeg Jets.
from Darren Dreger of the Dreger Report,
There has been much speculation on Nashville's interest in Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Cody Franson.
However, general manager David Poile is as much or more interested in one of Toronto's forwards to strengthen his lineup. Poile isn't looking to add a major piece and risk disrupting what he has up front, but there could be a fit with centre Mike Santorelli or winger Daniel Winnik. Poile and Leafs GM Dave Nonis met in Nashville on Thursday night, but neither appears to be in any rush to make something happen.
The Maple Leafs did have some discussions with Santorelli's agent J.P. Barry about re-signing the pending unrestricted free agent, but the Leafs have not made an offer to extend. It's believed Santorelli is looking for a three-year term with a minimum of $3 million per season to stay in Toronto.
read on for Evander Kane and Mike Richards talk...
from Mike Organ of The Tennessean,
The Predators have skated into a brighter spotlight this season.
Their dramatic improvement over last season has been a natural attention-grabber, but other factors have contributed to a new level of respect for the franchise locally and nationally.
“They’re getting more attention because it’s such a surprise for them to be where they are,” USA Today hockey writer Kevin Allen said. “And also there is the storyline of (Peter) Laviolette replacing Barry Trotz, who everyone had such great respect for. He’s moved on and you go from a defensive coach to an offensive coach. The story is intriguing.”
At the NHL All-Star break, the Predators (30-10-5) lead the Central Division and are second in the Western Conference and overall NHL standings.
The story is intriguing, Allen said, not because Trotz failed to move the Predators into a more prominent position, but rather because he laid the foundation for them to evolve to where they are mentioned among the league’s best teams.
from Eric Stromgren of the Tennessean,
Predators coach Peter Laviolette gave an earful to linesman Don Henderson as he left the Bell Centre ice after a 2-1 overtime loss to Montreal on Tuesday night.
Laviolette was venting about Craig Smith's tripping penalty on Lars Eller 2:34 into overtime, which turned into a four-on-three power play and the game-winning goal from P.K. Subban in the final game before the NHL's All-Star break.
"I don't think the last penalty was a penalty at all," Laviolette said. "Our guy had a heavy stick. There was no tripping."
continue for more on the game...
Here is a short video of Laviolette walking off the ice and giving it to the officials and at one point you can hear him say "Montreal typical"...
Below, although not a great view, you can see the OT penalty called against the Predators....
Watch as Predators fans stand up and cheer on their former coach, Barry Trotz, as he returns to Nashville for the first time coaching the opposing team.
from Mike Johnston of Sportsnet,
The hearts of Nashville Predators fans collectively sank when it was revealed Thursday that Pekka Rinne could miss up to five weeks with a sprained knee....
If the Predators were desperate to acquire a goalie for a short-term fix they could potentially look at Buffalo Sabres netminders Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth, both of whom are expected to garner interest leading up to the trade deadline. They could also see what Martin Brodeur’s status is with the St. Louis Blues.
It likely won’t come to that, though, because the Predators have two capable backups – Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec.
Here’s a closer look at the two men responsible for filling in for Rinne after spending most of their NHL careers in his shadow:
via the Nashville Predators,
During the third period of the Nashville Predators 5-1 victory on Tuesday night, goaltender Pekka Rinne sustained a sprained knee which will cause him to miss the next three games and All-Star Weekend, the club announced Thursday. Rinne’s status will be re-evaluated and updated after the NHL All-Star Break.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org