Tag: Mattias Ekholm

Nashville News: Volchenkov, Fisher, Ekholm, Moser

Anton Volchenkov adds an experienced defenseman into the youthful Nashville Predators core. (Photo Credit: NHL.com)
Anton Volchenkov adds an experienced defenseman into the youthful Nashville Predators core. (Photo Credit: NHL.com)

Today a wave of news has rolled into Nashville HQ. Here is the latest on recent events.

~Anton Volchenkov Signs With Nashville~

Another piece has been added to the Nashville/Milwaukee puzzle as veteran defenseman Anton Volchenkov signed with the Predators today on a one-year, $1 million contract. The 11-year NHL veteran recently received a compliance buyout from the New Jersey Devils, making him a UFA after passing through waivers.

Never a high scorer, Volchenkov is known as one of the NHL’s top shot blockers throughout his stints with Ottawa and the Devils. Via a statement Predators G.M. David Poile sounded pleased adding the former 2000 first-round pick:

“Anton provides a strong veteran presence that will complement our young, talented defensive corps nicely,” general manager David Poile said in a statement. “He is a physical, left-handed shooting defenseman who can match up with top-line forwards and effectively kill penalties.”

~Mike Fisher Out 4 to 6 Months~

The Volchenkov signing comes on the same day that the organization announced that forward Mike Fisher sustained a ruptured Achilles tendon during a training session and will be out four to six months.

The loss of Fisher makes last week’s signing of Olli Jokinen all that more important. The veteran Finn added some depth to the Predators already shallow pool of quality centers.

Here is Poile’s statement on Mr. Underwood’s injury:

“Predators forward and alternate captain Mike Fisher sustained a ruptured Achilles tendon during a training session and underwent successful surgery on Thursday, July 3. We expect Mike to make a full recovery in four-to-six months, and look forward to his return to the ice.”

~Ekholm Files for Salary Arbitration~

Via TSN.ca 20 NHL players filed for arbitration before the deadline of 5PM Eastern Time on Saturday, July 5. Among the most prominent names on the list were P.K. Subban, Lars Eller, Mats Zuccarello, and Dwight King. A couple of ex-Admirals, Nick Spaling and Cody Franson, were also on that list.

Nashville’s lone player to file for arbitration was defenseman Mattias Ekholm, who is coming off of his first full season with the Predators. The year before the 24-year-old Swede played in 59 games with Milwaukee along with four playoff contests, racking up 10 goals and 33 points.

Ekholm is currently a restricted free agent. The 2009 Predators fourth-round pick is coming off an entry level contact that paid him (via CapGeek.com) $900,000 at the NHL level and $67,500 at the AHL level plus bonuses.

~Moser Rejects First Predators Contract Offer~

According to the website SwissHockeyNews.Ch, Admirals/Predators forward Simon Moser rejected the first contract offer presented to him by Nashville. So far the 25-year-old has received only an offer for a one-year, two-way, league minimum contract, worth less than he could make playing hockey back home in Switzerland where he is still under contract with SC Bern.

Unlike Ekholm, Moser did not opt for the arbitration rout on July 5. Fisher’s injury, combined with the drafting of another Swiss prospect, Kevin Fiala, might up the ante in getting this deal done. Then again Moser had few NHL options last season, and according to the website a trade to another team is also unlikely.

Last year the Swiss forward was key contributor on both the Admirals and Predators. Moser scored 26 points in 51 games (regular season plus playoffs) with Milwaukee and two points in six games with Nashville.

Beyond the Bradley Center: Admirals Look to Overcome Slow Start, Score More

2012-2013 Milwaukee Admirals: 9 G.P., 4-5-0-0–8 pts., 21 goals scored, 24 goals allowed, 12th place in the Western Conference. Leading scorer: Taylor Beck (1 goal, 6 assists, 7 points).

Best Recent Win: Oct. 31 5-4 over Charlotte. Worst Recent Loss: Oct 20 1-0 at San Antonio. Key Upcoming Matchup: Nov. 10 at Rockford.

On a historic political night in the state of Wisconsin, I thought I would take time to chime in on the Milwaukee Admirals season for the first time this season. Its great to be back. Hopefully we will be hearing the same rhetoric soon from the NHL.

Obviously, 4-5-0-0 was not the start Milwaukee was looking for coming off the fast finish of the 2011-2012 campaign. However, considering how few goals the Admirals scored so far (just 21, 7th worst in the AHL), things could be much worse. After Milwaukee suffered through a disastrous Texas road trip, the Admirals responded with two big wins in a three game stretch.

But I felt growing pains were to be expected in Milwaukee this season, especially early. Other than a few key veterans in familiar roles (Chris Mueller, Jonathon Blum, Jeremy Smith), the Admirals again sport a young roster full of fresh faces. Milwaukee is also being guided by its fourth head coach in a little over two years, and it can argued that its third philosophical change. Lastly, in a league rich with top NHL prospects due to the lockout, two of the Admirals’ key potential Predators, Ryan Ellis and Gabriel Bourque, have only made a limited impact due to injuries.

The biggest issue so far for Milwaukee has been a lack of consistent goal scoring. Too many nights sustained offensive pressure hasn’t been there leaving Jeremy Smith left to bail the team out (a job he’s quite capable of).  There have been a couple of major bright spots, notably the offensive efforts of rookies Patrick Cehlin and Mattias Ekholm, plus timely goals from Mark Van Guilder.

Honestly, I can’t help but be excited about the Admirals despite the slow start. Though lacking the major weapons of a team like Oklahoma City, the Admirals are deep with quality players. Defensively, Milwaukee has displayed a nice balance between offensive/transition blue liners and solid stay at home defenders.

This weekend Milwaukee plays Rockford for the first time this season. After last year’s terrible showing versus the IceHogs, Milwaukee will looking to take an early leg up on the season series.

So Roundtable . . . What did you think of Milwaukee’s start? Were you hoping for more? Are you seeing the positive signs I am seeing? Is Game 1 against Rockford a measuring stick game?