Nashville Predators’ General Manager David Poile adds more toughness to the roster by signing Defenseman Matt Benning.
One of the first things Poile said he wanted to accomplish once the free agency signing period began was adding a couple of defensemen to the Nashville Predators roster.
Poile took another step towards his goal of adding the element of toughness to a team that was sorely lacking in that department. On Friday, he signed his second defenseman by adding Matt Benning.
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Benning has been in the NHL for four seasons, playing in 248 games. He has played his entire professional career with the Edmonton Oilers.
In his time with the Oilers, Benning scored 61 points (15 goals, 46 assists). His best season was in 2017-18 when he tallied 21 points (6 goals, 15 assists).
Benning also played in all four Stanley Cup Qualifier games against the Chicago Blackhawks, picking up an assist. Benning played in 12 playoff games with the Oilers during the 2016-17 Stanley Cup playoffs as well.
While Benning isn’t much of a scorer, he brings that depth and toughness that we have often talked about. But according to an article by the Nashville Predators’ Brooks Bratten, in addition to playing a tough and competitive game, Benning is always looking for ways to add more.
"“Since then, [I’ve just been] adding things to my game, trying to get up in the rush more, produce a little bit more… But I’m extremely excited to join a D corps that’s spectacular already.”"
These defenseman signings to add depth and toughness are precisely what the Predators needed to do as the third defensive pairing has needed an overhaul for quite some time.
Retirement claimed veteran Dan Hamhuis back in August. Free agency claimed Korbininian Holzer and Yannick Weber.
Jarred Tinordi is the sole remaining defenseman who spent time in that third pairing, but with Benning’s and Borowiecki’s signings, that may change as well.
Via the Predators’ official website release, Poile had this to say about Benning.
"“At 26 years old, Matt’s best years are still ahead of him and we look forward to those coming in Nashville. He has the ability to play against the opposition’s top lines, in addition to getting involved in the offense. His physicality and skating ability round out our defensive corps nicely.”"
Poile and the Predators seem to be getting themselves on the right track during the free agency signing period. Poile is addressing the issues that have plagued the team since their 2017 Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
Addressing the needed roster eliminations and cutting payroll to save salary cap money points us to a big signing that may be on the horizon. It may take a year or two for these changes to bear fruit, or they may not make a difference at all.
For now though, Poile is finally shaking up a roster that has been stagnant for quite some time, and the changes are exciting.