The Nashville Predators added a new face to the organization on Wednesday evening signing 23-year-old defenseman Jake Livingstone to a 1-year Entry Level Contract. He played three seasons at Minnesota State University picking up 80 points in 111 games.
It was down to a couple of teams but he decided on the Predators. Minnesota State Head Coach Mike Hastings said Livingstone is set to fly out to Nashville at 7 a.m. on Thursday and join the Nashville Predators after their game in Pittsburgh.
The Nashville Predators have nine regular-season games remaining for the defenseman to potentially come into the fold and make his debut.
“The progress he made both on and off the ice since day one up until now was significant,” Hastings said. ” He’s had a knack to play well in the most important times of the season.”
An example Hastings pointed to was a regional matchup in Loveland, Colorado in his freshman year down by one goal in a regional game versus Quinnipiac.
“He takes it up between the dots and drives wide, the goaltender was pulled, makes a play and we tie the game and win it in overtime. He had an impact on our program from that point on as we won our first NCAA Regional game at this university. That showed of him on how well he plays at the most important time of the year.”
According to Cap Friendly Livingstone’s cap hit is $2,001,667 with a signing bonus of $95,000.
Prospect Analyst for Daily Faceoff Steven Ellis wrote the following back on March 24 about Livingstone.
“The 23-year-old is viewed as one of the best free agents on the market, someone with good two-way hockey sense and a solid 6-foot-3 frame. When he wants to, Livingstone can absolutely light you up with a punishing hit and he puts some significant power behind his shot.
He’s about to turn 24, so what you see from him is what you’re getting, but he should have no issue cracking an NHL roster full-time next year.”
Ellis said another team taking a look at the defenseman was the Vancouver Canucks and potentially the Boston Bruins.
Livingstone is coming off a 35-point season in 39 contests and was named to the CCHA First team following the 2022-23 campaign. He was named the conference’s Defenseman of The Year for the second consecutive time and during the year was named the CCHA’s Defenseman of the Week four times.
Hastings said as an assistant captain Livingstone was one of the guys who were leaned on down the stretch during his time with the program.
“He continued to be the guy that managed our core on the end of that bench and that maturity is going to serve him well as he moves on into his pro career,” Hastings said.
Among skaters in the CCHA Livingstone finished fifth in assists (17), eighth in points (22), blocked 28 shots, 2.35 shots per game, and scored two game-winning goals.
Livingstone concluded this season by winning the Mason Cup versus Northern Michigan University in overtime 3-2, he picked up a primary assist on the game-tying goal in the third period at 19:02 scored by Christan Fitzgerald.
If the Mavericks had lost that game they wouldn’t have clinched a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
“If there’s a better word to describe his game a bit is poise,” Hastings said. “He stepped up and made a play to help get us to overtime. He held on to a puck and waited for lanes to open up and then delivered the puck on the net. I think there were so many opportunities in that game that he impacted our opportunity in a positive way to continue our season.”
He now becomes the 19th skater to sign an NHL deal coming out of Minnesota State.
The one thing Hastings appreciated in Livingstone’s time at Minnesota State was his learning curve never stopped.
“Being in an organization like Nashville, and their history of defensemen, I think is a great marriage because he’s somebody that’s a student of the game and is willing to do the hard things to get better.
Physically remade his body here in two and a half years. He was never satisfied with where he was at and when you’re a coach you like guys that are okay looking in the mirror and understanding what they need to do to get better and they’re willing to do the work.”
During his time as a Maverick, Livingstone was a part of teams that went 85-24-2, played on three MacNaughton Cup championship teams, two Mason Cup championship teams, qualified for three NCAA Tournaments, two Frozen Fours, and earned one trip to the national championship game in 2022 against the Denver Pioneers.