The Nashville Predators announced a handful of moves today that will affect the lineup for three crucial games before the trade deadline.
The first move was removing center Paul Gaustad from injured reserve and putting him back on the team’s active roster. Gaustad has missed extended time this season, with this marking the end of his second stint on IR. He led the NHL in faceoff winning percentage before his most recent injury and was a key member of the penalty-killing unit, so the team is going to be glad to get him back.
Returning Gaustad to duty would have put the Preds over the roster limit of 23 active players, so the team moved defenseman Scott Hannan to IR. Hannan was first injured two weeks ago but remained active, and he was supposedly cleared to return to action yesterday, but it appears he’s had a setback. As soon as he recovers he’ll be eligible to return, since his movement to IR is retroactive to more than seven days ago.
Hannan’s move to IR is unfortunate for him but good news for the Nashville Predators, since the team doesn’t have to make immediate decisions on any of its AHL call-ups like Taylor Beck or Chris Mueller, both of whom have been contributing in their limited ice time.
Forward Craig Smith has returned to the team after his conditioning stint with the Milwaukee Admirals. Smith had one goal and four assists in his four games with Nashville’s AHL affiliate. Technically his return isn’t a roster move, since he remained active during his conditioning assignment.
Finally, Mike Fisher is joining the team on its road trip. Fisher was injured late in last night’s blowout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. He blocked a shot with what appeared to be his hand or forearm and immediately left the ice for the locker room. He didn’t return. According to the Tennessean’s John Glennon, Preds coach Barry Trotz said Fisher didn’t break any bones.