David Poile, the General Manager of the Nashville Predators, was a guest on 102.5 The Game’s “Sports Night” yesterday afternoon. During his time on the air he made mention of two injury situations: Mike Fisher and Viktor Stålberg .
Let’s start with the latter of those two – seeing as we were witness to that injury here in Milwaukee. Poile stated the following on Stålberg:
“Talk about not getting any breaks. In two years, two training camps in a row, where he has virtually missed entire training camps. Got off to a slow start last year and then it resulted in him being scratched, etc etc. So we had our hopes up high this year that everything would be great. Misses training camp again. Goes down to Milwaukee. He’s playing pretty good. Last game he gets hurt. Met with him today. Looks like it’s going to be 4-6 weeks, I think. He’s having an MRI today so we’ll know a little bit more. An update tomorrow. Again, just a real bad break for Viktor. Just not getting any traction here in Nashville.” ~ David Poile on Sports Night
We’ll be holding tight for those MRI results today and any sort of updates from Nashville. All things considered. If Stålberg escapes that hit with a knock that only leaves him out for 4-6 weeks – it’s fantastic news. The way that he went down, stayed down, and was assisted off the ice had me thinking he blew out ligaments in his knee. MRI results pending – that bullet hasn’t been dodged yet. Let’s hope Poile’s spot on there.
As for Fisher, Poile mentioned that his progress is close but he is still feeling stiffness in his achilles. The Predators alternate captain suffered a ruptured achilles during a training session and had successful surgery in early-July. Fisher has been practicing with the team and has just started contact practice. The plan is for him to return to the Nashville lineup in two-weeks.
So, what will Fisher’s eventual return to the Predators roster mean for the Milwaukee Admirals? Firstly, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Fisher had a short conditioning assignment with the Admirals to get him up to game speed. Difference between him and Stålberg? I don’t see Fisher’s stint lasting all of the fourteen days allotted for the conditioning assignment. That, by the way, is just my guess. For all I know – Fisher leaps right into NHL action once he gets cleared for game shape.
The real story here in Milwaukee is what roster shake up could take place when this all goes down. When Fisher comes back off of injured reserve what will the Predators do?
When the time comes – I figure that the player with the highest chance of being assigned to the Admirals when Fisher comes back is Calle Järnkrok. Despite his incredible start in the organization last season… 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists) in 6 games with the Admirals, 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists) in 12 games with the Predators… it hasn’t quite translated into 2014-15 just yet.
Järnkrok has played in ten of the Predators fourteen-games this season. He has yet to record a point of offense while averaging 13:27 minutes of ice time per game. The only other forwards to have played as many or more games and not record a point of offense for the Predators are Olli Jokinen and Gabriel Bourque.
Milwaukee could use Järnkrok just as much as Järnkrok could use Milwaukee to springboard back into the form that saw him tearing up the scoresheet late last season.
The Admirals would grow stronger down the middle of their forward group and it could put a more offensive minded center on the third line with the flashy talents of Viktor Arvidsson – something they haven’t entirely got with either Félix Girard or Frédérick Gaudreau. That’s where Colton Sissons could jump in and get his game really rolling offensively. I believe the recent combo of Miikka Salomäki, Mark Van Guilder, and Austin Watson could and should stick around. And it could be that Järnkrok is surrounded by wingers Brendan Leipsic and Pontus Åberg.
When looking at CapGeek, and trying to understand the other possibilities, you just run to the conclusion that Järnkrok is due to arrive in Milwaukee once Fisher returns. Perhaps the other other consideration is that the Predators try to put Taylor Beck on waivers to see if he can reach the Admirals. With how Beck has played, especially in comparison to Järnkrok, I don’t feel the Predators are up for doing that. Besides, why risk losing a player when you don’t have to?
The undeniable thing right now to think about is just how deep the entire Nashville Predators organization has become this season at the forward position. The Predators are a success. The Admirals are a success. And, it may get to the point through depth, that we see more Admirals forwards head down to the Cincinnati Cyclones and make them a stronger team.
It’s all a matter of everyone staying healthy to create problems such as this. One better. When the injuries do happen, as they always do in hockey, the Predators are loaded for just such a scenario this season.
What will Mike Fisher’s return to the Nashville Predators mean for the Milwaukee Admirals? Is Calle Järnkrok the most likely candidate for a move down or could someone else get assigned to the Milwaukee Admirals?