The Nashville Predators have reportedly signed forward Mike Liambas to a one-year, two-way contract worth $575,000 (NHL) and $75,000 (AHL) with $100,000 guaranteed. Liambas played with the Milwaukee Admirals from the 2012-13 season up until the 2014-15 season before he joined the Chicago Blackhawks on a two-way contract that had him playing with the Rockford IceHogs. That was his first career NHL contract. This becomes his second as well as his second rodeo within the organization.
Liambas has played 141 career games as a member of the Admirals and has amassed 17 points (9 goals, 8 assists) with a grand total of 499 penalty minutes. Last season with the IceHogs he only logged 44 games, missing time due to injury, and produced 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) with 188 penalty minutes to his name.
Once made official the Predators will have signed four players in free agency that should directly impact the Admirals 2016-17 roster with Matt Irwin, Harry Zolnierczyk, and Trevor Smith complementing this news surrounding Liambas. What this all provides is actually simple to figure out. Look at the current age of all of these players: Irwin (28), Zolnierczyk (28), Smith (31), and Liambas (27). The Admirals entered last season as the second youngest team in the entire AHL. Adding not only depth but experienced depth could go a long way in making the 2016-17 season a success where the 2015-16 season came up a little short.
Liambas signing does make one particular re-signing look a little less likely all of the sudden and that would be fellow left winger Jamie Devane. The roster is already filling out pretty nicely and there can only be so many thrash-and-bash types of players you can tack on before it becomes a problem. Remember the 2014-15 season when the Admirals had not only Liambas but Triston Grant and Rich Clune? It was like having a cloning factory.
While arguements can easily be made for still re-signing Devane it gets tricky once you look at how the Admirals roster already lays out with returning prospects that will play on the wing (Pontus Åberg and Max Görtz), new prospects that will play on the wing (Justin Kirkland and Anthony Richard), or returning veteran talent that will also play wing (Adam Payerl or Matt White). Devane had a really solid 2015-16 season scoring 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in 62 games with a plus/minus rating of -7 and 82 penalty minutes. In spurts last season Devane wore an “A” on the front of his uniform because of what he means to the locker room on and off the ice. Liambas provides similar leadership qualities and is beloved by the coaching staff here in Milwaukee. It’s not likely that Devane will return to Milwaukee now that what really was his place has been claimed.
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