The Nashville Predators rounded out their defensive corps for the 2013-2014 season by signing blueliner Anton Volchenkov to a one-year deal.
Signing the 32-year-old veteran to beef up the blue line was expected after comments made a few days ago by Nashville General Manager David Poile. The GM explained that he wanted to add another dynamic to his relatively young defensive depth chart before the start of the new campaign.
“In my mind we’ve got 13 forwards, six NHL defensemen–so I could use another defenseman–and you want to create some depth and flexibility if you can,” Poile said Thursday. “We’ve talked about adding more of a veteran presence on our defense. We’re not there yet, but we’ll see.”
Volchenkov comes to Nashvile on a one-year deal worth $1 million–a very reasonable price for a defenseman that has suited up for more than 600 NHL games. From the Predators perspective, the former New Jersey Devil also brings a left-handed shot that will work well with Seth Jones on the second defensive pairing.
“Anton provides a strong veteran presence that will complement our young, talented defensive corps nicely,” Poile said this afternoon. “He is a physical, left-handed shooting defenseman who can match up with top-line forwards and effectively kill penalties.”
Below is the Predators official press release on the signing:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed free-agent defenseman Anton Volchenkov to a one-year, $1 million contract.
Volchenkov, 32 (2/25/82), has suited up for 650 games for New Jersey and Ottawa (where he played with both Matt Cullen and Mike Fisher) since the 2002-03 campaign, posting 126 points (19g-107a) and 424 penalty minutes. Since 2005-06, the 6-1, 225-pound blueliner has the second-most blocked shots among all skaters (1,395) and the 10th-most hits among defensemen (1,313). The Moscow, Russia native has also appeared in the playoffs seven times in 11 NHL seasons, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final on two occasions – in 2012 with New Jersey and 2007 with Ottawa – and to Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final as a rookie with Ottawa in 2003. In 85 career postseason contests, Volchenkov has 17 points (4g-13a) and 58 penalty minutes.
Ottawa’s first selection, 21st overall (first round), in the 2000 Entry Draft, Volchenkov is a two-time Olympian, representing Russia at the 2006 Torino Games and 2010 Vancouver Games, and has a pair of international gold medals to his credit, winning the 2009 World Championship and 2002 World Junior Championship.