The Nashville Predators have made some roster moves this afternoon. Matt Cullen has been removed from the team’s injured reserved and will be active for the team’s upcoming six-game road trip. To make room for this, the team has placed Rich Clune on waivers in the hopes that he clears and is able to reach the Milwaukee Admirals. In addition, Viktor Stalberg will be coming to the Admirals as part of a conditioning assignment as he recovers from a lower-body injury.
Press Release via Nashville Predators:
The Nashville Predators will activate forward Matt Cullen off of injured reserve, making him available for the team’s upcoming road trip that begins Wednesday night in Edmonton.
Cullen skated on a regular forward line at Monday’s practice, setting him up for his first game action since suffering an upper-body injury Sept. 24 during a preseason game against Tampa Bay.
“We’re anxious to get Matt back in the lineup, as he is a veteran who can contribute in a number of situations,” General Manager David Poile said.
To make room for Cullen’s addition to the roster, the club has placed forward Rich Clune on waivers, with the intention of assigning him to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.
“Rich is a character guy in our locker room,” Poile said. “We are hopeful that Rich will clear waivers and be available for recall in the future.”
The Predators have also assigned forward Viktor Stalberg to Milwaukee on a conditioning assignment. Stalberg suffered a lower-body injury during training camp, missing the entire preseason schedule and first three games of the regular season. He has skated in five games this season.
“Viktor has had some unfortunate injury trouble during his last two training camps,” Poile said. “We want Viktor to have some time in Milwaukee to fine tune his game and we look forward to having him back in Nashville.
“Both Rich and Viktor have seen limited playing time this season at the NHL level and we feel that they will benefit from the additional ice time that they will receive in Milwaukee.”
These moves leave the Predators with 22 skaters – 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders – in advance of Wednesday’s game at Edmonton, the first of a season-long, six-game, 12-day road trip. Nashville’s primary developmental affiliate, the AHL’s Admirals, receive a further influx of talent to a team that has already started with a franchise-record six consecutive wins to start the 2014-15 season.
“Having to send Viktor and Rich to Milwaukee exemplifies the depth we now possess in the organization,” Poile said. “We have a great deal of flexibility at the forward position, which should benefit us moving ahead.”
The question will be whether or not Clune clears waivers in the first place to reach Milwaukee. Should he do so, I’m doubting his ability to factor in all that much to the team’s current setup much the same way Mike Liambas didn’t factor into the team’s last two games whilst healthy.
With Stalberg also en route to Milwaukee, it pushes Liambas on the outside again to make it into upcoming games. The way the Admirals have been playing it seems as if the rich will be getting richer with another offensive minded talent, an NHL one at that, joining the team in the midst of a franchise record best start to a season.
So, what would this end up meaning for the likes of Clune and Liambas? Should we end up seeing the Nashville enforcer and Twitter extraordinaire – it could mean that Liambas would end up with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL purely from a “this role is now taken” standpoint.
UPDATE: Rich Clune has cleared waivers and will be assigned to the Milwaukee Admirals.
What do you make of today’s roster moves by the Nashville Predators? What happens to the forward lines with the inclusion of Viktor Stalberg? What becomes of Rich Clune and Mike Liambas? Are we seeing the end of the prototypical enforcer in hockey?