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Nashville Predators Training Camp Questions?


When training camp for the Preds opened there were 61 players vying for a spot on the roster. On Friday, the first cuts took place and nineteen players were sent home. A second cut was made on Saturday that slimmed the roster further. The cuts leave thirty-three players trying to earn a spot on the final twenty-three man Opening Day Playing Roster.

Even with so many names remaining, there are not a lot of roster questions left to be answered. A typical twenty-three man roster includes fourteen forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders. The Preds currently have twelve forwards signed to one-way NHL contracts and it is unlikely any of them would end up in the Milwaukee. The last two active roster spots for forwards should go to Rich Clune and Filip Forsberg. While Clune signed a two-year extension over the summer, it has yet to kick in, so he will be playing in the last year of a two-way contract this season. His contract status and the added grit of Eric Nystrom and Matt Hendricks make it possible that Clune could start the season in Milwaukee. However, it is unlikely he would have received an extension if Nashville did not intend to have him continue his abrasive role on the fourth line. Forsberg finished last season in Nashville and displayed flashes of the promise that made him a first-round pick. The Pred’s off-season additions should allow Forsberg to be eased into the lineup without too much pressure on him offensively.

There is only a little more drama on the defensive side of the roster. The Preds have four defenders on one-way contracts heading into this season: Shea Weber, Kevin Klein, Roman Josi, and Victor Bartley. While there hasn’t been a definitive statement made, Seth Jones appears ready to jump to the NHL. The question with him will be who he partners with. Ryan Ellis should also earn a roster spot. Ellis has 64 NHL games under his belt and is the most experienced option remaining. He is also in the last year of an entry-level contract and will need to prove he belongs if he wants to be resigned. The remaining spot will likely come down to a battle between Joonas Jarvinen, Joe Piskula and Mattias Ekholm. Jarvinen has no NHL experience and has only spent one season in North America but he plays a more physical game than Piskula and Ekholm. Piskula has the most NHL experience (only ten games) but offers less offensive upside than Jarvinen and plays less physical. Ekholm may have the best opportunity to earn the roster spot. He has more offensive upside than the other two and, at 6’4″, is still a big body on the blueline.

On the Goaltending front, Pekka Rinne will see the bulk of the work and all indications are that Carter Hutton will serve as the primary back-up for this season.

Scott Gardner is a Staff Writer at Predlines.com and can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @scottcgardner. For the latest updates in Predator news, follow @PredlinesNSH

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  • Alex Kelley

    What are your thoughts on Carter Hutton? I had never heard of the guy when we signed him and had to resort to googling his career AHL and NHL statistics. His track record in both leagues is not very impressive and that’s putting it nicely. The one preseason game of his that I followed, he got lit up. I’m wondering if you have any thoughts as to why the Preds are so convinced that he’s our “guy” to back up Peks. Why not Jeremy Smith?

    • Scott Gardner

      I’m not convinced Hutton is the long-term solution at this point but his numbers were almost identical to Smith’s in the AHL last year. Signing Hutton to a one-year deal allows Smith and Hellberg (who I think is a long-term answer) another year to each play 40 games in the AHL instead of 12-15 in Nashville. The Preds dont sacrifice a year of their development and have a hungry Hutton looking to earn another NHL contract or a shot at a starting job elsewhere.

      • Anonymouse

        That’s an interesting take, considering Jeremy Smith is in the Blue Jackets organization.

        • Scott Gardner

          Should have said Mazanec in the second sentence, still meant Smith in the first one. Thanks.

        • Alex Kelley

          I wasnt even aware Smith switched teams. Good catch. At the end of the day, Carter Hutton did give up over three goals a game on average during his little stint in the ECHL. Thats cause for concern for me since the talent level is no where near comparable.

      • BullMoose

        It’s pretty obvious that the organization doesn’t even think Hutton is a long-term solution seeing as how he’s only in Nashville on a 1-year contract.

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