The Black Aces are finally on their way. The Nashville Predators have recalled Frédérick Gaudreau, Harry Zolnierczyk, Brandon Bollig, Tyler Gaudet, Emil Pettersson, Alex Carrier, Petter Granberg, Fred Allard, and Troy Grosenick from the Milwaukee Admirals. The Predators host the Colorado Avalanche at the Bridgestone Arena tonight at 8:30 PM CDT. A victory tonight would see the Predators through to the next round of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Press Release via Nashville Predators:
Nashville, Tenn. (April 20, 2018) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Friday that the club has recalled forwards Frederick Gaudreau, Harry Zolnierczyk, Brandon Bollig, Tyler Gaudet and Emil Pettersson; defensemen Alexandre Carrier, Petter Granberg and Frederic Allard; and goaltender Troy Grosenick from the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals.
All nine players recalled by Nashville recently completed their AHL season with the Admirals, who finished with a 38-23-4-2 record (82 points).
Gaudreau, who had three assists in 20 games with the Predators in 2017-18, tied for third on Milwaukee in scoring with 43 points (22g-21a) in 54 games; Zolnierczyk had 21 goals and 21 assists for 42 points – an AHL career high and fifth on the Admirals – in 73 games; Bollig was acquired by the Preds in February and played in 21 games for Milwaukee, posting four points (3g-1a) and 30 penalty minutes; Gaudet signed a one-year contract with Nashville on Monday after recording a career-high 28 points (13g-15a) in 69 AHL games with the Admirals and Tucson Roadrunners; and Pettersson led Milwaukee in scoring with 46 points (13g-33a) and represented the Admirals at the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic in his first professional season in North America.
Carrier completed his second professional season with the Admirals, recording four goals and 24 assists in 73 games; Granberg appeared in 76 games for the Admirals and had 14 points (3g-11a) to go along with a +7 rating; and Allard tied for the most goals (8) and the second-most points among Milwaukee blueliners with (24) in his first professional season.
Grosenick went 3-4-0 with a 2.75 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in seven starts with Milwaukee after being acquired by the Preds on Feb. 25.
The Predators can advance to the Second Round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a victory in tonight’s Game 5 against the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena. Tune in to FOX Sports Tennessee at 8 p.m. CT and 102.5 The Game at 7:30 p.m. CT for full coverage.
The names included bring a lack of surprise with a mix of a few head-turners. Gaudreau and Zolnierczyk were likely always going to be the headline act of the Black Aces and it seemed Gaudet would get roped in after immediately signing on for next season following the completion of the Admirals season. Still, there are a few names that are in while some are not.
Pettersson, Carrier, and Allard being brought in make some sense. Pettersson ended his first pro season in North America as the Admirals leading scorer in 2017-18 with 46 points (13 goals, 33 assists) in 72 games. It was the first season since 2012-13 that the Admirals lacked a 50 point scorer on their roster. As for Carrier, his season ended with injury in the closing week of the season after taking a shot off the side of his helmet. The coaching staff also believed his shortened off-season, including being a member of the Black Aces a year ago, limited his Summer conditioning program and thus made for a difficult sophomore campaign. And Allard might have ended his rookie campaign as one of the better defensemen on the Admirals roster having really cemented a role by season’s end.
Bollig and Granberg are two that stand out to me of the names included. Sure, Grosenick being brought in is nice as he’s the lone goaltender up in Nashville at the moment under contract for next season that likely ends up back in Milwaukee. Yet, Bollig and Granberg are still very questionable whether or not they end up back. I would say both did a fantastic job. Bollig was a very good force on the ice for the Admirals since he joined from the San Jose Sharks organization. This was also probably Granberg’s best pro season. I’d be hopeful but also cautious whether or not this means Nashville have sights set on a contract for either moving beyond this season.
As for those not included? I’m honestly rather shocked to not see Anthony Richard included in the Black Aces. He ended this season shot out of a cannon and that’s on the end of a season where he was phenomenal already. Richard, in a slightly similar mold to Viktor Arvidsson and Kevin Fiala, skates with extreme pace and relentlessness. His finishing touch is really all that needs to settle down before he reaches the next level. Even then Richard scored 36 points (19 goals, 17 assists) in 75 games for the Admirals in his sophomore season. If even just a pat on the back it might have been nice to see him included and see the light at the end of the tunnel for a Predators playoff experience from the outside looking in.
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