The Nashville Predators were pretty active this afternoon. They’ve signed two players to contracts. The first came for right winger Max Gortz on a three-year entry level contract. That was promptly followed up by the re-signing of goaltender Carter Hutton on a two-year contract.
The deal for Hutton is one that I think is greatly deserved. When Pekka Rinne went down at the start of the season it started a mad scramble of who can plug the Nashville net. Hutton? Magnus Hellberg? Marek Mazanec? Devan Dubnyk?
If you ask me, the best thing that could have happened to Hutton was the move for Dubnyk because from that point forward he really seemed to step up big. He played in 40 games, won 20 games, had a 2.62 goals against average, a 0.910 save percentage, and recorded his first career NHL shutout in his second to last start of the season.
What does this signing means for the likes of Hellberg and Mazanec? I believe this shouldn’t be viewed as a negative for them as much as it should a positive. While Mazanec had a decent season between the AHL and NHL – he still could benefit from more time here in Milwaukee. As for Hellberg, anything could be better for him than what he’s endured this season. Thinking about a goaltending tandem of Maz and Mags in Milwaukee for next season, with both staying healthy, could be great for the Admirals and both young netminders in the system.
Now, about this Gortz kid. He was the Predators sixth-round selection in the 2012 NHL Draft and has played his entire career to this point in Sweden. Per the official press release:
Gortz, 21 (1/28/93), started the 2013-14 season with Farjestad (SHL), before transferring to Frolunda (SHL) on Dec. 9, 2013. The Hoor, Sweden native led Frolunda – and tied for third among all skaters in the 2014 SHL Quarterfinals – in points (5) and goals (3). The 6-3, 200-pound right winger has 70 points (37g-33a) in 106 career Swedish junior league games with Malmo and Farjestad, and 30 points (19g-11a) in 108 SHL games with Farjestad and Frolunda, while posting seven points (3g-4a) in 18 career SHL postseason contests, and 14 points (8g-6a) in 15 career Swedish junior league playoff games.
Nashville’s eighth choice, 172nd overall (sixth round), in the 2012 Entry Draft, Gortz helped Sweden win the 2012 Under-20 Four-Nations Tournament, tying for the team lead in points (1g-2a-3pts), and earned a bronze medal at the 2010 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge.
The Swedish contingent in Milwaukee is growing. It wasn’t even a week ago when the Predators brought in another Swede on an entry-level deal in Johan Alm.
Thoughts on today’s moves from the Nashville Predators? What do you think the re-signing of Carter Hutton means for Magnus Hellberg and Marek Mazanec?