Predators Reduce Roster; Fiala and Forsberg Stay Put

The Nashville Predators played in a double-header on Saturday, and took the win in both games against the Florida Panthers. The first contest of the night was won in a shootout with the final score being 2-1. The night-cap of the double header ended in a 4-1 Nashville victory.

The Predators preseason record following the weekend-sweep improved to 3-1-0.

Following the Predators successful Saturday, the Predators reduced their roster to 28 players.

Here is the official press release from the team last night regarding the roster reduction:

“Nashville, Tenn. (September 27, 2014) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has assigned forwards Pontus Aberg, Viktor Arvidsson, Zach Budish, Patrick Cehlin, Felix Girard, Brendan Leipsic, Miikka Salomaki, Josh Shalla, Colton Sissons, Mark Van Guilder and Austin Watson; defensemen Taylor Aronson, Anthony Bitetto, Jonathan-Ismael Diaby, Garrett Noonan, Jaynen Rissling, Mikko Vainonen; and goaltenders Magnus Hellberg and Marek Mazanec to the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals. The team released forwards Triston Grant, Frederick Gaudreau, Michael Liambas and Joe Pendenza; defensemen Mike Little, Jimmy Oligny and Brian Lee; and goaltender Rob Madore from tryout agreements. Nashville also assigned forward Kevin Henderson to Texas (AHL).”

Of the names listed above, there aren’t too many surprises on the list of players sent to the AHL or players released from tryout agreements.

Colton Sissons, Miikka Salomaki, Austin Watson, and Jonathan-Ismael Diaby were perhaps the names atop the list of players who could make the roster directly out of camp.

With Nashville re-signing defenseman Ryan Ellis, that made Jonathan-Ismael Diaby odd defenseman out.

Sissons, Salomaki, and Watson (three-forwards) will be three names to keep an eye on if/when the injury-woes hit the Predators this season. Colton Sissons played in 17-games for the Predators a year ago while Austin Watson played in six-games for the Predators during the 2012-2013 season. Salomaki has yet to see action in Nashville, but the leading point-scorer in Milwaukee last season should get the call-up to the NHL sooner rather than later.

Three of the considered top-six forwards in the Nashville system were sent to the AHL, while the other three remain on the Predators roster and will continue to compete for a roster-spot during training camp; at least until the next cuts are made.

Filip Forsberg, Taylor Beck, and Kevin Fiala are the three young forwards virtually playing for one-spot on the roster, and Beck playing for a new contract as he remains a restricted free-agent.

Forsberg has played alongside Mike Ribeiro and James Neal this preseason, two players who are all but guaranteed spots on the top-line come opening night. With that being said, and with how Forsberg has played, he seems to be the front-runner to make the roster out of camp.

Fiala, the Predators first-round draft pick this summer, is a bit of a surprise name to see on the list. He has already said that if he doesn’t make the Predators roster following camp he would return home to Sweden to continue his development there. Maybe Nashville is holding on to him as long as possible to influence his decision to stay in North America, or maybe he simply is as good as advertised (my thought on the matter).

Beck has played in a total of 23-games for the Predators since being drafted by the team in 2009. Beck’s contract ended following this past season and he still has not been given a new contract by Nashville. His AAV for the past three seasons was just under $900k.

General manager David Poile spoke about Beck earlier in training camp and said that Beck is here to showcase his talent for an opportunity at a new contract. I think it is very important to note that Beck has participated in camp since day-one, which shows that Beck undoubtedly wants to be a part of the Nashville Predators system.

The Predators must cut their roster to 23 players before opening night on October 9; so expect to see five more cuts as we get closer to the drop of the puck.

 

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