On Friday, the Nashville Predators got their first free-agent signing of the offseason. General Manager David Poile announced that the team had signed Defenseman Mark Borowiecki.
Poile and the Nashville Predators have been cleaning house and making preparations in an attempt to reclaim the title of “the hardest working team in hockey.”
They may have moved one step closer to their goal by signing free agent Mark Borowiecki.
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Poile announced that the Predators had signed Borowiecki to a two-year deal worth $4M.
Borowiecki, a nine-year veteran, has played his entire career for the Ottowa Senators.
Throughout his career, he has scored 51 points (15 goals, 36 assists). He also carries the reputation of being a strong penalty killer and hard hitter.
Borowiecki had his best season yet last year, scoring 18 points (7 goals, 11 assists) while also serving as an alternate captain. But offense isn’t the primary part of his game.
This move gives the Predators more depth and grit on the blue line, precisely what Poile is looking for and something that the Predators missed for much of last season.
At 6’1″ and 207 pounds, Borowiecki is a hard-hitting presence on the ice. Since he joined the NHL full time, he has 1,505 hits, ranking him third in all of the NHL since the 2014-15 season.
Borowiecki also has 647 penalty minutes in his career, 585 blocked shots, and averages 14:54 of ice time.
Via the Predators’ official website release, Poile had this to say about Borowiecki.
"“One of our objectives at the start of free agency was to improve our depth at defense and Mark’s signing goes a long way toward accomplishing that. He adds an element of toughness that we were missing on the back end, as well as being a natural leader and strong penalty killer.”"
Depth was definitely missing in the bottom defensive pairing last season. Depending on where Borowicki is slotted in, we could see him make a second defensive pairing appearance with Mattias Ekholm. That would be a deadly combination and would add some fire to a team that is lacking in that department.
Borowiecki’s penalty-killing ability will go a long way with the Predators as well. They struggled with the penalty kill and the power play all last season. Any players who can provide help with the penalty kill will be a welcome addition to the roster.
NHL playoff experience is also something else that Borowiecki possesses. Although it has been several years since the Senators have been in the playoffs, Borowiecki has participated in eight playoff games. Six of those appearances were in 2014-15 and two in the 2016-17 season.
Judging by media interviews with the Predators’ Thomas Willis, Borowiecki is excited to come to Nashville and begin working. It also sounds like he is ready to go to an organization that gives him a chance to win, after the struggles that the Senators have faced the past several years.
A signing of this nature should come as no surprise to anyone. Poile has said since the Predators’ season ended, he would shake things up and add players who can get the Predators back on track.
The addition of Borowiecki gives the Predators something that they have lacked for the past several years, toughness and depth. Borowiecki brings them one step closer to being able to reclaim “the Predator Way.”