Nashville Predators Roster Shift Continues with Tommy Novak Recalled

Thomas Novak #82 of the Nashville Predators skate against the New York Islanders at the UBS Arena on December 09, 2021 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Thomas Novak #82 of the Nashville Predators skate against the New York Islanders at the UBS Arena on December 09, 2021 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Expect more of this roster shifting to continue as the Nashville Predators recalled Tommy Novak from the Milwaukee Admirals on Monday ahead of their matchup with the Edmonton Oilers.

Novak leads the Admirals in points with 26 points in 25 games. He last played an NHL game for the Nashville Predators nearly a year to the day on December 17, 2021 when he scored a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks.

A strong rookie season for Novak got derailed by landing on the Covid protocol list and he just never was able to get back into the NHL lineup. After putting in the work and being a main catalyst for the Admirals this season, he rightfully is getting another opportunity with the Predators.

Novak had four of his seven NHL points last season via the power play. He was an effective puck mover as a rookie and is versatile by playing either wing or center.

Nashville Predators Roster Blender

If you look at the Predators’ current center situation, it’s a little dicey. Cody Glass and Ryan Johansen are your top-six centers as of late with Mikael Granlund getting the demotion to the bottom-six.

In Saturday’s loss to the Avalanche, the Predators went with Juuso Parssinen and Mark Jankowski as their bottom-six centers. Very little offense was generated, thus the call-up for Novak ahead of the NHL’s roster freeze that happens at midnight and runs until December 28.

Does Novak fit in initially as a center or winger? Hynes has decided to move him into a major role centering Mikael Granlund and Filip Forsberg, per Emma Lingan:

To be completely realistic, don’t expect Novak to be some magical fix to this team’s offensive nightmare. However, at this point Hynes is desperately trying to find a remedy for a team that ranks 29th in goals per game and has two power play goals since November 21. That’s a 2-for-29 clip.

Novak should be in, Smith should be out. If not Smith, then it will probably be Jankowski, whom I think hasn’t actually been that bad. Either way, I agree with sending a message to the locker room that this play is unacceptable, and no one’s roster spot should feel secure unless you’re Roman Josi or Filip Forsberg.

Injuries have ravaged the defensive core, but the hope is that Alexandre Carrier is close to returning. Otherwise, the Predators might be with just five defenseman for the Oilers game:

To take it even further, there are some other prospects who should be considered for future call ups in the not-so-distant future. I’d consider left winger John Leonard (leads Admirals in SOG), Egor Afanasyev (a core piece to your long-term future), and Philip Tomasino (only for top-six minutes).

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Buckle up because this ride hasn’t even reached the bumpiest point yet. It’s probably going to get much rockier, but at least let’s go through that ride with younger and more hungry players who have something to prove.

Novak was re-signed over the offseason to a two-way deal worth $750,000. Like many prospects in his same position, he’s out here to prove to the Nashville Predators front office he should be in the long-term plans.

The Nashville Predators are back home on Monday to take on the Edmonton Oilers for the third time this season. The Predators have lost eight-straight to the Oilers and last won in the series back in 2019.