Free Agency Day 1

Most years, it seems the Predators are in the passenger seat of the sports car that is the first day of NHL free agency.  Big names would sign for big money elsewhere, little names would sign for big money elsewhere, and we’d be spending a night like tonight talking about depth moves for the organ-eye-zation.

In 2013, the Predators are in the drivers seat.  They’re only going 35 mph in a 35 mph zone, but at least they are in control.

The Predators signed five guys today.  None of them for more than 3.5 mil per year.  So there’s no albatross in the back seat of our car.  That’s a good thing.

Welcome:

Matt Cullen
Viktor Stalberg
Eric Nystrom
Matt Hendricks
Carter Hutton

Carter Hutton, eh?  THE Carter Hutton?  The one with the 13-4 record against Milwaukee over the last two years, and a .938 save percentage and a 1.89 goals against average in those games?  One and the same.

So why did Hutton get the call to back-up Pekka Rinne?

He had a good interview, and the person he needed to impress the most was impressed.

The Goalie Guild caught up with Mitch Korn this afternoon, and posted these tweets:

In Mitch we trust.

And to be honest, I kind of like the move.  For one thing, the Admirals won’t have to play against Hutton anymore, and it looks like the IceHogs are now looking for two new goalies this season.  But if it is determined that Magnus Hellberg is ready for prime time sometime in the middle of the season, they should be able to swap the two out pretty easily.  It’s a low-risk high-reward move, I think.  I figure he’s just buying time until Hellberg is ready anyway.  And that’s okay.

All the Nashville blogs have their takes on why these are great moves or why these moves are terrible.  But the one I’m going to link to I think does a nice job with the big picture.  So check outSam Page’s essay from On The Forecheck here.

You know who probably wasn’t impressed that much with the free agent frenzy?  Austin Watson.  Kevin Henderson.  Taylor Beck.  Four Nashville roster spots just went poof.  I’m counting 13 forwards signed right now, and it’ll be 14 if Nick Spaling accepts his qualifying offer.  Training camp should be interesting.

Former Admiral goalie Jeremy Smith follows the footsteps of the goalie he replaced, and signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets organ-eye-zation.  Hopefully with a little less of the injury bug than Dexshow had.  Dexshow never played a minute for the Blue Jackets, and only five games for their AHL affiliate.  Mike McKenna, who was in Peoria last year, also signed today with Columbus.  Could be a decent tag-team in Springfield.  Good luck, Smitty.

UPDATE:  Defenseman Mike Moore signed with Boston.  So we’ll have a new captain this year.  Unless the Preds sign Scott Ford…in which case, we would probably get to use the ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ line again.

Looking at Capgeek.com, it looks like the Preds did extend a qualifying offer to Daniel Bang.  He’s still listed as an RFA, while other players have been shifted to UFA status.  So we’ll see what his future holds.

So Roundtable — what do you think about the transactions today?  Think Hutton can hold down the fort until Magnus is ready?  Did the Preds do enough to address offense?

15 thoughts on “Free Agency Day 1”

  1. Ok, so none of those new Day 1 FA signees is going to join the Admirals. And none of this year’s draft picks is going to join the Admirals. Juusto Puustinen is gone. Mike Moore is gone. Jeremy Smith is gone. Chris Mueller is gone. Victor Bartley is on a 1-way contract with Nashville, so he’s gone.

    Scott Ford is a great guy, but he’s lost a step or two. Or three.

    Are we staring at the worst Admirals team in years now?

  2. Hutton may come to Milwaukee. I think Spaling and Blum are history.

    The Preds need more offense. So does Milwaukee.

    Watson and Beck each get another full season in Milwaukee. That should help the Ads.
    Please send a D-man with size who can skate, score and QB the PP!!!

  3. Losing Blum is addition by subtraction. Spaling got a qualifying offer. Presumably he will accept that and stay with Nashville, which doesn’t help Milwaukee.

  4. Wow, doom and gloom in July? I doubt that the Predators main goal on day one of free agency was what to do in Milwaukee though their moves may allow Watson to develop more and may even result in Forsberg , Smith, or even Beck getting seasoning time with the Admirals. Smith wasn’t #1 by the end of the season, Hellberg was and I think Hutton only sees time in Milwaukee if there is too much inactivity in Nashville. Moore was injured for half the season and Bartley spent quite a bit of time in Nashville, I’ll give you that we will miss Mueller, but don’t forget that he developed here and the same chance will be given to Henderson. Budish, Cehlin, Shalla, and Rask all got their feet wet last year and should be ready to contribute more. Sissons should make his pro debut and possibly Salomaki, Vainonen, and Leipsic as well. While I don’t see a powerplay QB in the trio of Aronson, Roussel, or Bitetto this is where Nashville will probably step in and help, they always sign 2 or 3 vets that aren’t really destined for a Predators uniform but are in Milwaukee to make sure their prospects aren’t in a losing environment. Don’t be surprised if they add a Curtis Murphy type to play here, just don’t expect that kind of signing to take place before they get their own house in order

  5. You mean Craig Smith? It seems unlikely Craig will be in Milwaukee. And Jeremy Smith now belongs to the Springfield Falcons. No reason to believe Forsberg comes here either. So we have Hellberg, Watson, Beck, and maybe Rask. Raise your hand if that excites you. Anyone? Aronson hasn’t shown us anything. Same for Roussel. Bitetto has to cut down a lot on his mental lapses.

  6. The last couple seasons this team has had to string together incredible strings of wins and luck to keep their playoff streak alive. I think this is finally the year we miss the playoffs. Maybe not a bad thing to get that monkey off our backs. No pieces of a Calder Cup championship team here. Lets’s be what we are: a developmental squad, and a raw one at that.

  7. Wow! Folks I was the one counting the team out last season and they proved me wrong, now we’re lowering next seasons casket into the ground before august! We will have beck, mvg, hendo, watson and cehlin. Don’t forget ekholm and pisukla and liambas will be back as well. I’m not saying we are gonna light the world on fire but keep the faith we’ll get some decent talent coming our way I’m sure of it.

  8. With Stalberg and Spaling in Nashville, that frees up some forwards to play in Milwaukee.

    Ideally, the better the Preds are, the more congested the prospect pool should be for the Ads.

  9. I agree with the sentiment above. We have a weak team this year. Who is going to backup Hellberg? There’s no one in the system and look at the circus they signed to ATO’s when Smith got hurt. MVG is a nice guy, solid player, but not going to the NHL. What have Ekholm, Cehlin or Pisukla shown up? Nothing. Bitetto, Beck, Hendo, Watson, etc are nice development players. I just don’t see more than 1 good line. Who scores the goals? Who stops the other team’s goals? I just don’t see it. I think this could be a miserable season. Worse than losing, this won’t be a fun team to watch.

  10. Wow, talk about downers haha! The Preds just started their development camp. It’s July 9th. The season doesn’t start for 3 months. The Preds most likely haven’t finished signing guys. There’s always the last minute AHL signings with vet-type guys who hold out in hopes of signing an NHL deal. Everyone should calm down a bit!! LOL

    Who backs up Hellberg? Depending on what happens with Nashville, Carter Hutton could (probably unlikely as I’m assuming he’ll be backing up Pekka). The Preds have a couple of guys on their prospect camp – Janne Juvonen, Marek Mazanec, and Juuse Saros. Not sure if they are AHL eligbile yet.

  11. Creed I believe Mazanec is going to play in North America this year, strong chance we’ll see him and either Hutton or Magnus.

  12. Hutton was signed to back up Rinne. Keep in mind that Rinne is coming off a significant injury, so it is quite possible that Hutton AND Hellberg start the year in Nashville. Now Milwaukee is in a real jam in goal. Juuse Saros was just drafted, is young, and needs to develop in Europe (and grow – he’s 5’9″). Marek Mazanec was a 6th round pick and is rated as a D-level prospect by Hockey Futures. Janne Juvonen is only 19 years old. He’s not yet rated at all. Doh! Goal is an area of organizational concern, not just in Milwaukee. Heck, is there anyone at all playing goal in the ECHL/Cyclone’s system? Chet Pickard is no longer in the system.

  13. I bet all the downers here are the same person, using different names. Pretty similar writing style, and obviously hasn’t been paying attention.

    I get it….have low expectations so that you’ll either be right, or pleasantly surprised. We’ve got good coaches, some good returning players who are only going to get better (like Watson), and I think there will be some other draft picks making their North American debuts this season. Salomaki maybe? I’m sure management will sign some other players to round out the roster.

    Keep calm. No need to push the panic button in freaking July. It’s okay to be concerned. But writing off the season in July? You want to go negative on an AHL team in July? Just makes you look kind of sad.

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