Player News - Predators

Date: Team: Pos:

The Nashville Predators won't rule out the possibility of Kevin Fiala making the team's opening game roster.

At the same time, they want to exercise some caution after selecting him with the 11th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. For his part, Fiala gets that this might be a process. "My goal is NHL, and I want to do it right now. But I think step-by-step, and if I don't do it this year, I'm going to work hard and do it step-by-step and hopefully do it next year," he said. Fiala has plenty of offensive upside, which is something the Predators are desperately after.
Jul 11 - 10:00 AM

The Nashville Predators hiring of Peter Laviolette could benefit Filip Forsberg.

Laviolette is expected to put more of an emphasis on offensive play than the Predators have had in recent years, which should play into Forsberg's strengths. "I've heard a lot of good things about him and talked to a couple of guys that he has coached before. They told me good things too, so I'm looking forward to working with him this season," said Forsberg. "I'm just trying to play the type of game I've always been playing and have been pretty successful with so far. Hopefully that's a game he likes and wants to have on his team in the future." He had 15 goals and 34 points in 47 AHL games in 2013-14. He also had five points in 13 NHL contests, but he was limited to 11:24 minutes per game.
Jul 10 - 9:50 AM

Mattias Ekholm has agreed to a two-year contract with the Nashville Predators.

Ekholm was a restricted free agent and had filed for salary arbitration. His cap hit will reportedly be just below $1.1 million. He had a goal and nine points in 62 games in 2013-14.
Jul 9 - 9:58 AM

Anthony Bitetto has agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with Nashville.

Bitetto had 36 points and 85 penalty minutes in 73 AHL games in 2013-14. He was taken by the Predators in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Jul 8 - 1:41 PM

Mike Fisher suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon while training.

Fisher will miss the next four-to-six months as a result. In other words, Fisher isn't expected to return until November at the earliest and he might end up missing half the season. Even if he does end up missing just the first month, this will probably have a significant impact on his offseason training regimen, so we wouldn't be surprised if he struggles once he is back.
Jul 7 - 5:17 PM

Anton Volchenkov has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Nashville Predators.

Volchenkov became a free agent after the New Jersey Devils bought out the last two seasons of his six-year, $25.5 million contract. He's a defensive defenseman that will probably end up on Nashville's third-pairing.
Jul 7 - 4:55 PM

Columnist Larry Brooks feels this summer should serve as a wake-up call for Michael Del Zotto.

Not only did Nashville not bother to qualify Del Zotto, but he is still looking for work a week into the unrestricted free agent market. It wasn't long ago that the Rangers were giving Del Zotto top-four minutes, but now he needs to prove that he's worthy of simply playing in the NHL. He should eventually find a team that's willing to give him a one-year "show me" contract and then the pressure will be on for him to bounce back.
Jul 7 - 9:47 AM

Veteran center Olli Jokinen says he decided to join the Nashville Predators as a free agent because of their new coach's offensive-minded approach.

Peter Laviolette purshed for Nashville to pursue the 35-year-old. "Obviously with the excitement and the passion about the game and ideas of how he (Laviolette) was going to coach this team, that was one of the biggest reasons I decided to come here," Jokinen said. "Speaking with him, I got excited. I wanted to start playing tomorrow." Jokinen has never played for Laviolette, though his best years in Florida came when Laviolette was a divisional foe as the Carolina Hurricanes' coach. "I think playing against his teams, as a player you were like ‘I’d love to play for this guy. I’d love to play for his teams,’ " Jokinen said. "His teams have always been high-tempo with good skating and they create a lot of chances and a lot of offense. At the same time his teams were hard to play against. They were very organized and stuck with their game plans." Jokinen had 18 goals and 25 assists last season in 82 games with the Jets.
Jul 6 - 9:47 AM

James Neal sees the Predators as his opportunity for a fresh start.

"Your emotion gets the better of you," said Neal. There were things that have happened in my game that you regret. I have to change and be better for it. I've changed as a player, I've grown as a player. I'm still young, I have a very long way to go. Mistakes happen and I'm going to be better for it and move forward and not let that stuff happen again." He has some character issues and the tendency to run around on the ice, looking for trouble when things aren't going his way. If he can take that aspect out of his game then he will be better for it. Neal has an excellent release and one-timer, which he used to score 40 goals in 2011-12. He has surpassed the 20-goal mark in each of his six NHL seasons. Repeating that feat in Nashville will be more difficult, but he has the tools to do it.
Jul 5 - 6:37 PM

Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm, who is a restricted free agent, has registered for salary arbitration.

He is coming off his entry-level deal with the Predators, which carried a $900,000 cap hit. Ekholm appeared in 62 games last season and he contributed nine points.
Jul 5 - 2:08 PM

There is a good chance that Olli Jokinen could be the Predators number one center this upcoming season.

If that should come to pass, he would almost certainly play alongside newly-acquired James Neal which would increase his fantasy value from what it was last season. Nashville GM David Poile alluded to the possiblity of Jokinen skating on the top line. "Arguably you could say we are putting him in a more important position than he has been in the past couple of years," Poile said. Keep an eye on how the Preds use Jokinen in training camp.
Jul 5 - 11:20 AM

Nashville signed defenseman Joe Piskula to a one-year, two-way contract on Friday night worth $550,000 at the NHL level or $150,000 in the AHL.

The 29 year-old Wisconsin native spent most of last season with Milwaukee in the AHL, accumulating three goals and 23 points in 73 games to go with a +20 rating.
Jul 4 - 8:27 PM

Nashville feels the addition of Olli Jokinen gives them roster flexibility.

GM David Poile envisions using him at center, but he notes that Jokinen can play on the wing as well. He can contribute offensively and he provides leadership. "With all the young players we have here, I think adding that veteran forward presence was the right thing to do," Poile said. "I was in full concert with Peter Laviolette on this decision."
Jul 3 - 12:56 PM

Olli Jokinen has agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Nashville Predators.

Jokinen is far from an ideal choice to serve as a top-line center at this stage of his career, but the 35-year-old was serviceable with the Jets last season. He had 43 points and 62 penalty minutes in 82 games in 2013-14. If the Predators end up putting Jokinen on the same line as James Neal, which is entirely possible given their options, then Jokinen might surpass the 50-point mark.
Source: NHL.com
Jul 2 - 6:21 PM

The Nashville Predators weren't able to fulfill their objective of signing a top-line center on July 1.

They need someone to match up with James Neal after acquiring him from the Pittsburgh Penguins. "To me it's about signing the right player at the right time for the right price," Predators GM David Poile said. He added, "July 1 is the starting point. In the past, we've signed free agents well past the July 1 date and there may be some other options to pursue, and we're going to continue to improve our team when the correct opportunity presents itself." However, there isn't much talent left on the market to grab. Certainly no one that's a clear cut number one center is available as an unrestricted free agent at this point, although there are some fallback options like Mikhail Grabovski left.
Jul 2 - 10:47 AM


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