The Nashville Predators rookie camp officially wound down with the future Preds sweeping their two game series against the Florida Panthers prospects. In case you haven’t heard the good news, the Predators won Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon by 5-0 and 5-1 scores, respectively. The Predators domination of the Panthers should come as no surprise, as Nashville does have the number one ranked farm system in the National Hockey League, according to Hockey’s Future. The Panthers farm system is ranked 11th overall, still above average.
Despite the Predators scoring touch, lead by the likes of Taylor Beck, Blake Geoffrion, Ryan Ellis and Chris Mueller, and despite the near perfection in net by goalies Chet Pickard and Anders Lindback, the victories were overshadowed by a violent elbow to the head of Linus Klasen by Chris Clackson.
Klasen is a top prospect with a real shot at making the roster out of camp, at least until Wednesday night. The Tennessean reported that Klasen didn’t have to go to the emergency room, but suffered lacerations on his chin and tongue. He is set to be re-evaluated by the team’s medical staff on Friday.
For Clackson, the road to the NHL may have got a lot more difficult. The 22 year old was at the Panthers camp on a tryout basis. Last year, the Pittsburgh native played for Western Michigan in the NCAA and laced them up for Adirondack of the AHL for two games. In 35 games he scored 6 goals and added 6 assists for 12 points, with 48 penalty minutes. Check out the business finance major’s career stats on the Western Michigan’s hockey homepage.
Oddly enough, after graduating out of a league where fighting is banned, Clackson clearly decided that the way to the Panthers bench was through playing a physical game. Shortly after the puck dropped on game 1 Wednesday night, Clackson, who stands at 6’0 and weighs 205 pounds, fought Predators prospect Ryan Flynn. Of course, everyone now knows what happened to Klasen with only a few minutes left to play.
The forward was scratched from Thursday afternoon’s rematch between the two teams. Furthermore, as the Panthers main training camp is set to begin tomorrow, Dale Tallon invited 12 of the 28 rookies to camp.
Clackson was not one of them.