First off, thanks to everyone who has shared so far in the previous post. I’ve enjoyed reading your responses, and I love the passion and loyalty that many of you have had with this team over the years.
So here’s today’s news — the Preds have signed defenseman Jack Hillen to a two-way deal. He’s 25 years old, 5’11, and has the distinction of being an undrafted free agent that went straight to the NHL as soon as his college season at Colorado College was done. He played two games with an assist and four penalty minutes that year. He split time the next season with Isles (40 games) and their AHL team in Bridgeport (33 games). He was an Islander exclusively the last two seasons, and comes to the Preds organization with 175 games of NHL experience. He was -5 defensively last year on the team that gave up the second most goals in the Eastern Conference. You can probably twist that stat to make an argument that he’s better than the stats suggest, or that he was part of the problem.
Why was he available? He wasn’t given a qualifying offer from the Islanders. They are also in a position where they have some kids on the cusp of the NHL level, and the Isles had more stock in them than him.
Tough to say if he’ll be ticketed to Milwaukee…but he gives the Predators some more depth and some more options in case they aren’t quite ready to rush Ryan Ellis or Roman Josi to the big time yet.
And in other news….while the AHL still figures out how to schedule their games without the benefit of four-games-in-five-days stretches, the Admirals did announce their pre-season schedule today.
Friday September 30th @ Kern Center VS Rockford
Saturday October 1st @ Hoffman Estates VS Chicago
I always get excited for these games, not just because it’s our first taste of live hockey after such an eternal summer, but I enjoy watching the guys who come in to the AHL training camp trying to make a good impression with the coaching staff in hopes that their phone will ring later in the season when injuries and callups inevitably take their toll.
So these are the first dates to put on your calendar. Make it so.