Nashville Predators boost Milwaukee Admirals with four free agent signings

General Manager Barry Trotz announced four two-way contract signings to help strengthen Milwaukee Admirals roster and provide veteran presence.
Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs
Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

The first day of NHL free agency was quite busy for Nashville Predators General Manager Barry Trotz, as he made a huge splash with four major signings in Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Marchessault, Brady Skjei, and Scott Wedgewood. 

Not only was he able to strengthen the Predators roster and increase their odds of winning the Stanley Cup next season, but he was also able to add four more additions to the AHL affiliate Milwaukee Admirals roster. 

The Predators have added forward Vinnie Hinostroza, forward Jake Lucchini, defenseman Nick Blankenburg and goaltender Matthew Murray. All four are getting $775,000 at the NHL level.

Trotz adds depth to the Admirals after catapulting the NHL squad

The Admirals had another amazing season under Head Coach Karl Taylor, but fell just short of making the Calder Cup Final after getting knocked out in the Western Conference Finals by the Coachella Valley Firebirds for a second straight season. Their season was not a failure however, as they set a franchise record win streak with 19-straight wins. This was also the AHL’s second-longest stretch in league history. 

It is clear that the development of the younger players in Milwaukee has been very strong, and Trotz seems adamant about using Milwaukee to its full potential by strengthening its roster and players that could potentially be called up throughout the season.

Hinostroza is 30-years-old and played in 14 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins and 42 games with their affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He led all forwards on his AHL team in points.

Hinostroza will bring a great veteran presence to the Admirals who are already a very young team even by AHL standards. He will also be an experienced asset to call up to the Predators if need be, as he has 374 career NHL games under his belt.

Lucchini also brings that veteran presence, as he played 40 games for the Wild this past season. He will be another player that is able to step into a role on an NHL team if injuries or other trades occur. He is very solid on the power play and is able to make quick plays in transition, which will be very helpful for an Admirals team that struggled on the power-play this past season.

Blankenburg is a few years younger than both Hinostroza and Lucchini, and brings a very different energy than the previous two players mentioned. He brings a more physical presence and is a great defensive player which can be an asset at both the NHL and AHL level, as Milwaukee already has some very solid goal scorers. 

The Milwaukee Admirals are no strangers to goaltender Matt Murray, as they faced him several times while he played for the Texas Stars. Murray finished the 2023-24 season with a .896 save percentage for the Texas Stars, and played one NHL game for the Dallas Stars where he shut out the Minnesota Wild. Murray will be a great backup for current Admirals starter, Yaroslav Askarov after the loss of Troy Grosenick.

Overall, these moves are very beneficial to not only the Milwaukee Admirals roster that is still strong and hungry for a Calder Cup, but also as assets for experienced call ups if needed for the Nashville Predators.