A few days after signing Olli Jokinen to bolster up the Nashville Predators down the middle, they lost arguably their best center for 4-6 months. According to a statement from GM David Poile, Mike Fisher sustained a ruptured Achilles tendon during a training session and underwent surgery Thursday, July 3. Without Fisher, here is how I see the lines heading into October.
Viktor Stalberg – Olli Jokinen – James Neal
Craig Smih – Calle Jarnkrok – Colin Wilson
Gabriel Bourque – Matt Cullen – Filip Forsberg/Colton Sissons
Eric Nystrom – Paul Gaustad – Rich Clune
Looking at the team that will play the initial 4-6 months of the year as it stands, there is no shot that they will make the playoffs in 2015. So what do they have to do to get back into the playoff hunt?
There have been reports of Nashville’s interest in Philadelphia Flyers’ center Vincent Lecavalier. With Nashville desperate for a top-6 center to play alongside James Neal, Lecavalier may just have to be the guy.
Flyers almost had a deal worked out with NSH to trade Lecavalier but Preds dont want his cap hit for 4 yrs
— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) June 30, 2014
Legwand signing in OTT shifts Lecavalier focus by Flyers back to NSH. Unless Flyers absorb 50% of contract …no deal
— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) July 4, 2014
Another option is Derek Roy. Roy, 3 years younger than Lecavalier, had 11 less goals, but tied him in points with 37. Although Roy’s contract will have a lesser effect on the salary cap, Nashville needs more natural goal-scorers. Whomever Nashville acquires, Poile will likely not hesitate to pull the trigger.
Nashville Adds Volchenkov
Lost in the Fisher news is the signing of defenseman Anton Volchenkov to a 1-year, $1 million contract. Volchenkov, 32, is entering his 12th season in the NHL and has accounted for 107 assists and 126 points in 650 games. Last season, Volchenkov played in 56 games for the New Jersey Devils totaling 8 assists.
“Anton provides a strong veteran presence that will complement our young, talented defensive corps nicely,” Poile said in the press release. “He is a physical, left-handed shooting defenseman who can match up with top-line forwards and effectively kill penalties.”
After signing Jokinen, Poile hinted at the possibilities of looking for a veteran defenseman to add more depth. Volchenkov, a left-handed shooter, made sense. He will join Victor Bartley, Mattias Ekholm and Roman Josi on the left-hand side. Due to Bartley and Ekholm’s inexperience, it is likely that Volchenkov will play alongside Seth Jones on the second pairing.
The 6’1″, 225lbs Moscow, Russia native is known around the League for his shutdown abilities and shot blocking. Nashville has lacked a shot blocker since trading Hal Gill prior to the trade deadline in 2012.
Colin Fitts is a Nashville Predators staff writer and is a credentialed media member of the Chicago Wolves. From Nashville, Tennessee, Colin majors in journalism and public relations at Columbia College Chicago. Follow him on Twitter, @FittsTHW. Email: 22fitts [at] gmail [dot] com.