What New-Look Nashville Means for Milwaukee

Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok are among Nashville Predators prospects who may miss out on starting roles at the start of the NHL season. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

In the course of two weeks Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile completed what he set out to do at the start of the preseason: overhaul the team’s center ice position.

As stated in my earlier post, with the additions of Olli Jokinen, Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy, the Predators have all sorts of options to play center: The injured Mike FisherMatt CullenPaul GaustadCraig SmithColin WilsonCalle JarnkrokColton Sissons, and now the inclusion of Ribeiro, Roy and Jokinen.

So what does that mean for the likes of Jarnkrok and Sissons? Not to mention prospects such as Filip Forsberg, Austin Watson, Pontus Aberg, still unsigned restricted free agent Taylor Beck and any other two-way Predator/Milwaukee Admirals forward? There is no way around the fact that this is a bit of a slap in the face.

In his press conference this morning, Poile mentioned some potential Predators roster plans that would have Jarnkrok included:

Then again the good news is that there is always next year for the prospects sent down to Milwaukee, or maybe even just beyond the trade deadline when the Predators may have more than a few job openings. Nashville now has an attractive list of players that are on short-term deals. Five centers: Fisher, Cullen, Jokinen, Ribeiro and Roy. Defenseman Anton Volchenkov. And two-way players Joe Piskula, Mark Van Guilder, and Kevin Henderson. They are all set to become unrestricted free agents at season’s end.

It’s pretty clear that life in Nashville and Milwaukee for 2014-2015 just got a lot more competitive.

My thought is that Jarnkrok will still make Nashville in some capacity, while Sissons will likely have to wait his turn to move on up. The player’s whose NHL hopes might have been hurt the most by these transactions might be Austin Watson, who has now really slipped down on the depth chart. Nashville’s first round pick Kevin Fiala also harbors hopes of making the Predators this season, though that seems a little far fetched.

Certainly, there are going to be some pitched battles in training camp and in Nashville’s preseason games this season, and that’s something Predators coach Peter Laviolette and Admirals coach Dean Evason have to be looking forward to.

So Roundtable: How do the final Predators/top Admirals roster spots stack up? What battles are looking forward to most at training camp, and where do you think the dust will settle?

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