Yesterday’s news within the organization was that the Nashville Predators finally attempted to reduce their numbers on defense where they have had two extra healthy defensemen sitting out of the lineup the majority of this season. For either Victor Bartley or Anthony Bitetto to reach the Milwaukee Admirals they would have needed to clear the waiver wire process to do so. Surprisingly the man put through this process yesterday was Bartley. Just as surprisingly he has cleared and will be joining the Admirals ahead of tomorrow night’s game against the Manitoba Moose.
Bartley played with the Admirals for 130 games over the course of two-seasons while producing 65 points (16 goals, 49 assists). He last played with the Admirals during the 2012-13 season and suited up in the 2013 AHL All-Star Classic as the Admirals representative. He spent a solid chunk of that season in Nashville before staying up there until now. He has 112 games of NHL experience, all coming with the Predators, and tallied 23 points (1 goal, 22 assists).
This season the Predators defense has remained quite healthy which has made having not just an extra defenseman but two additional blueliners a bit tough to work. The Predators sent Bitetto down on a conditioning assignment earlier this season and I was assuming a similar task would be handed off to Bartley before the Predators attempted putting one through waivers in an attempt to move them down to the Admirals. When the Predators picked up Petter Granberg from the Toronto Maple Leafs on waivers they effectively went up to three extra defensemen. Granberg is still on injured reserve but it’s clear that something was going to have to give. It did, and the net result ends up being a sigh of relief because Bartley is through waivers and still within the organization.
Beyond the sheer fact that this strengthens the Admirals blueline by adding a skilled two-way defenseman such as Bartley it also serves a great help to the player himself. Bartley was almost in purgatory this season as he only played a single game of the Predators 23 games played. Rather than look at this as a setback for Bartley you could just as well see this time used back in the AHL as a potential launch pad back to another NHL opportunity either with the Predators or elsewhere when his contract ends by season’s end. When Bartley returns to the Admirals locker room he will be the oldest defenseman on the roster at the age of 27-years old and the second oldest on the team next to Cody Bass. He can do plenty to make an already good looking Admirals team that much better.
Reaction to Bartley’s return to the Milwaukee Admirals? Would it be safe to assume Garrett Noonan returns to the Cincinnati Cyclones or do you think Kristian Näkyvä could benefit from some quick ECHL playing time?