I have a couple of little things to discuss today. One being the Preds current roster and the other a rumor I heard last night that will have all of you Pred fans saying, "What if that didn't happen..."
The first issue if the Preds current state of thing regarding the roster. It seems, based on David Poile's comments at the Skate of the Union event, that the Preds may indeed go with what they have. Mr. Poile's comment was, "We've got a lot of these younger forwards and it's their time to jump in, to fit in, and make a contribution." (via the full video of the event over at PredsOnTheGlass )
Now, giving the young guys a chance is always exciting. The competition coming this September at training camp is likely to be fierce. As much fun as it is to see these young guys get a chance, it does cause concern for me. As of right now in regards to the forwards, at the Predators official website (which has been redesigned by the way) you have Ben Eaves, Ben Guite, Patric Hornqvist, Ryan Jones (who still has not agreed to terms with Nashville as an RFA yet), Peter Olvecky, and Antti Pihlstrom (although every indication is that he will be playing in Europe this season). Those are the guys currently listed there that I have penciled in. Meaning, they may or may not be called upon for a bigger role. Eaves, Guite, and Olvecky all have 2-way contracts. Hornqvist had a very rough first season and really needs to rebound. Ryan Jones is a realistic option at the 2nd line if he agrees to terms and Predators head coach Barry Trotz puts him on that 2nd line.
Of course we will get to see whether or not guys like Colin Wilson, Nick Spaling, Cal O'Reilly, and Michael Santorelli can make their roles in Nashville a permanent thing. I'm getting to the point soon so bear with me.
On defense, the Preds website has Hamhuis, Suter, Weber, Klein, and then just Alex Sulzer (who has a 1-way contract this season) listed. This leaves at least one spot available which means we will have guys like Teemu Laakso, Cody Franson, and maybe even Jonathon Blum competing at camp to make the big club. Klein has played a total of 81 NHL games which makes this upcoming year a sophomore year essentially. Sulzer has a total of 2 NHL games. So half of the defensive core will be less than experienced.
Now to the point. I feel like a broken record on this issue a little bit because I preached it so much near trade deadline. It's all about depth folks. I have never seen a season where at least one key player didn't miss at least a month of playing time. I think we all saw last season the depth issue come to light. I warned about it at the deadline, and I'll be nervous about it again if the roster stays as is right now. To me, the Preds still need to find a veteran forward and D-man. This is just to insure that should an injury occur (and they always do) the Preds will be able to push forward without much difference than before. I like the idea of getting a chance to watch these young guys just as much as anyone else. To finally see what these guys can bring is a lot of fun. To have a successful season though, I'd like a little insurance. So drop into the comments and give me your take on the current roster as well.
Now onto the rumor that more than likely is the reason you really stopped by the blog. Last night I was given some interesting info. I was told that the Preds were very close to signing Alex Kovalev this offseason. In fact, they were so close that they had an agreement, had a press release ready, and yet, at the last minute, something changed. Obviously, the Ottawa Senators disrupted this one. The rumor goes that the Preds had an agreement near 4 million for one year, and the the Sens came in at the last second and went for 2 years at 5 mil per.
Like I said, this is a rumor, but let me add that I have full faith in this info. From this day forward, I'll believe the Preds were very close to adding Kovalev. Talk about a what if scenario. It is nice to see the Preds were willing to open up the wallet and go after that top 6 forward we all crave to see complete the top 2 lines in Nashville.
*EDIT* Our friend Dirk over at On the Forecheck has posed a good question. Was this before or after Sully and Wardo re-signed? I'm checking into that now and will update when I hear back.
*UPDATE* My source believes (but is not 100% sure) it occurred after the re-signing of Sullivan and Ward. Also, I got my numbers wrong and the contract was more near 4 million. That's my mistake. Sorry folks.
Look forward to the discussion.
Till next time,
Questions, comments, and criticisms can be sent to [email protected] if you wish to contact me personally.