Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Katie Baker of Grantland,
The Nashville Predators are notoriously methodical about player development, particularly on defense. It's assumed that would-be Predators will first spend significant time with the team's AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. In the franchise's history, only one player, Scott Hartnell, made the roster in his draft year.
Until now. As if that pressure weren't enough, Jones will also face an additional challenge: playing on his non-dominant side. With a glut of right-handed defensemen on the team, the Predators asked a few of the younger players to work on transitioning to the left during the summer and the preseason. Jones was one. (Although it looks like he might not play on that side tonight.) "I told Ryan [Ellis] and Seth both that if they want to move up in the lineup, a lot of times you might have to do it on the left side," Trotz said. "I think it's easier to get them to do it at a young age. Plus, it helps their mobility, it helps their hands and all that. I did that rather than having, as I call them, the old dogs try to change."
Everyone seems high on Jones right now, but fans are fickle. If Nashville's offensive struggles from last season persist, many will wonder loudly why the Predators didn't draft a scoring forward.
from the CP at NHL.com,
Making the playoffs has become so automatic for the Nashville Predators that they didn't react well to finishing below .500 for the first time in a decade.
They went shopping in a very big way hoping to make sure that doesn't happen again.
The Predators opened free agency signing five of the seven players they added on the first day. Right wing Viktor Stalberg from Stanley Cup champ Chicago is the key addition, and they also added Eric Nystrom, and Matt Hendricks and centre Matt Cullen, who helped Carolina win the Stanley Cup in 2006.
"It shows all the commitment," captain Shea Weber said. "They made those moves, and they addressed the needs we have. They filled some spots, and obviously everyone's going to see what those guys are capable of. And we're going to see what they can do in the locker room as well."
from Josh Cooper of the Tennessean,
Fishing, hockey and bonding.
That’s what the Predators hope to accomplish — not exactly in that order — when they head to Florida for a week of games against the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
“I want to see a very tight-knit team when we come back from Florida,” coach Barry Trotz said. “And three wins.”
For a group that often looked disjointed last season, but prides itself on “team” play, the trip should provide some level of cohesiveness. Some of the team-building activities include a fishing tournament along with some other off-ice events.
“We’re going to keep going over the foundation of our game,” Trotz said. “To me, it’s about creating our organizational foundation. Some guys are good mentors. We’re going to have some fun, we’re going to have some work, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
from Patrick Helper of Predlines,
My question is this. If the Predators miss the playoffs again this year, could it be the last time Predators fans see Trotz behind the bench?
I’m not calling for his head. I’m not trying to start an anti-Trotz movement. I’m simply saying that after last years miss, and the changes that were made to the coaching staff and training staff; there is a possibility that Barry takes the fall if the Predators miss again....
Look at it this way, if Lindy Ruff can be fired, why not Barry Trotz? I can’t help but think it may be Win or Go Home.
from Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck,
The controversial aspect of this plan involves bundling each single-game ticket for a Chicago Blackhawks matchup (Saturday November 16, Tuesday December 17, and Saturday April 12) with the purchase of a ticket to another game. So if you're planning a trip from the Windy City, you can either make another trip to Smashville during the season (a great idea, obviously) or find a way to dispose of that ticket.
Is this a ploy to keep Blackhawks fans from invading Bridgestone Arena en masse, as they have done on a few occasions since they returned to prominence with their 2010 Stanley Cup championship?
Maybe, maybe not. My impression is that it's more about making those out-of-towners open their wallets a little bit extra to make the trip to Smashville.
from Josh Cooper of The Tennessean,
A little more than a year ago, the Predators threw a party in front of Bridgestone Arena.
General manager David Poile, chairman Tom Cigarran and CEO Jeff Cogen sat in the searing heat and praised their decision to match the Philadelphia Flyers’ 14-year, $110 million offer sheet for then-restricted free agent defenseman Shea Weber.
The Predators called the match — six days after Weber signed the offer sheet — “the most important transaction in franchise history.” The big-market Flyers had tried to scoop up Nashville’s captain, and the Predators said no.
A year later, it seems like the right move. It’s hard to believe the Predators would have had their highest average attendance this past season without Weber in the lineup, especially after losing fellow star defenseman Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild in free agency.
Losing Weber, their most important player, also would have forced the Predators into a rebuilding phase instead of retooling mode.
In case you are wondering, that college coach is Red Berenson.
Although the Predators will continue to have trouble scoring goals, and some of the contracts they gave out were rather long, generally they seemed to execute their offseason plan.
They look more like the defensive-minded teams from 2009-10 and 2010-11 that ground out wins and were generally hard to play against.
They also have roster flexibility if they need to make moves in the future. With 15 players listed at forward on the roster going into training camp, there will be a good bit of competition. Complacency won’t be an issue.
-Josh Cooper of the Tennessean with the off-season grade for the Predators. Read on for a break-down of the grade.
Nashville, Tenn. (July 25, 2013) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed forward Nick Spaling to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.
Spaling, 24 (9/19/88), tied for fourth on the team in goals (9) in 47 games in 2012-13, just one shy of his career high set in 77 games during the 2011-12 season. He also set personal bests in average ice time (15:51) and shooting percentage (15.7) a season ago. The 6-1, 198-pound native of Drayton, Ont., has appeared in 226 games for the Predators since the 2009-10 season, amassing 52 points (27g-25a). The Predators are 20-4-1 when he scores a goal and 34-9-3 when he records a point all time.
NASHVILLE (July 10, 2013) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed defenseman Seth Jones, the fourth overall selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract. The base salary of the contract is $925,000, with maximum rookie contract signing bonuses giving him a salary cap number of $3.225 million.
“Seth is a special prospect and we were fortunate to be in position to select him,” Poile said. “As a player, he brings so much to our organization, from size you can’t teach to a skill set that every team hopes to add and a personality and maturity that will allow him to grow and develop with our veteran core and other young players. He has excelled at the junior and international levels and we anticipate him enjoying great success at the NHL level.”
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