During last night’s Nashville Predators road game against the Detroit Red Wings it was apparent that a touch of the flu was tackling some players in the lineup. Ryan Johansen and Craig Smith both left the game early due to flu-like symptoms and didn’t return. As it so happens the team was stricken by food poisoning thought to be caused by a pre-game meal at the hotel. The majority of the team was impacted by the situation and it has caused a wave of roster activity today. The official word is now this: the Predators have recalled Frédérick Gaudreau, Austin Watson, Trevor Smith, Harry Zolnierczyk, and Juuse Saros from the Milwaukee Admirals.
This is the first career NHL recall for Gaudreau. And, out of all the names listed above set for recall, Gaudreau is the special story of the group. He was an undrafted talent out of the QMJHL and signed an AHL contract with the Admirals in the Summer of 2014. He flipped between the Admirals and their ECHL affiliate the Cincinnati Cyclones during his first pro season (2014-15) but made a huge name for himself last season. He missed last season’s regular season opener as a healthy scratch but from then on he was undeniable: 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists) in 75 games while playing in all situations – namely a first man over the boards on the penalty kill alongside Félix Girard. Gaudreau really exploded the moment that then Admirals captain Colton Sissons was recalled to the Predators and Gaudreau stepped right into his role and outperformed Sissons at the top-line center position by producing 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) in 14 games during the month of December. It paved the way to him earning an NHL contract with the Predators and was followed up not too long by his selection to the AHL All-Star Game.
The rest involved with the recall are a more veteran established group – and Saros. With just the lone goaltender chosen to stick around I hazard to guess whether or not Jonas Gunnarsson is due to return and make his North American pro debut tonight for the Admirals. In the instance he isn’t? They have taken care of that by bringing Mark Visentin up from the ECHL and penning Dov Grumet-Morris to a PTO Contract.
Matt Irwin was seen in Nashville today but it sounds very much like he was swiftly en route to join the Admirals once again. It has simply been a day of chaos and flu-like symptoms all around for the food poison riddled Predators. Thankfully for the Admirals this issue should only impact tonight’s game with the next outing past tonight’s game in Rockford being next Friday.
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