Mike Fisher Jersey

Country music superstar Carrie Underwood and retired NHL player Mike Fisher are one of the most popular celebrity couples in the world as fans just can’t get enough of the pair and their adorable family. But their love story almost didn’t happen because Underwood had reservations.

Here’s more on that plus how long they’ve been married, how many children they have together, and who has a higher net worth.

When they got married

Underwood and Fisher met through the singer’s bassist, Mark Childers, in 2008. He tried to set them up on a blind date but Underwood turned down the offer because she wasn’t interested in going on a date with someone who lived so far away from her (at the time Fisher lived in Canada and she was in Tennessee).

The songbird did agree to do a casual meet-and-greet with him backstage though at one of her concerts and she was glad she did because the attraction was instant. She immediately texted Childers to let him know that she thought Fisher was “hot, hot, hot.” The athlete meanwhile was equally impressed and said that Underwood “was more beautiful in person than on TV.”

A few months later, they went on their first date and began a long-distance relationship. The couple got engaged in December 2009 and tied the knot on July 10, 2010. As luck would have it, Fisher was traded from the Ottawa Senators to the Nashville Predators a few months later and relocated to the city where his wife lived.
How many kids they have

The “Cry Pretty” artist and her hubby have two children together. They welcomed their first son, Isaiah Michael, in 2015 and announced the birth of their second son, Jacob Bryan, in January 2019.

Prior to having to Jacob, Underwood sat down for an interview with CBS Sunday Morning and candidly talked about how she suffered three miscarriages within two years.

“We got pregnant [in] early 2017, and didn’t work out. And I got pregnant again in the spring, and it didn’t work out. Got pregnant again, early 2018. Didn’t work out,” she revealed.

In May 2019, the songstress spoke to The Today Show and explained that she and Fisher aren’t sure yet if they want to have more children but it’s something they will discuss in the near future.

“It’s such a difficult road to get where we are now,” she said. “And I’ll have to evaluate after this tour is over. Then we can talk about what’s next. But I’ve been a lot of kind of ‘live in the moment’ lately.”
Who has a higher net worth?

Both Fisher and Underwood have been very successful in their respective careers.

Fisher played in the NHL from 1999 to 2008 and has a hefty net worth of $30 million. The Season 4 American Idol champ, however, has an even higher net worth as she is worth an estimated $85 million.

P. A. Parenteau Jersey

Last week, I talked about Claude Giroux, looking at his statistical profile and how he grades out in the near future. At the end of the day, I don’t think the results were much of a surprise. We mostly know what we expect of Giroux, and his patterns of point production are fairly evident and established. Today, however, I’m looking at a player who we have seen for a few years, but who most agree has more potential to reach than we’ve currently seen from him. This is all, of course, dependent on the Flyers re-signing him, though I’m positive they will do so.

Travis Konecny did not have a typical ‘breakout’ season, though to call last year a disappointment would be incorrect, in my opinion. In 2017-18, when paired with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier on the first line, he scored at a career-high rate. However, last season, his production could be summed up best the way Charlie O’Connor did over at the Athletic, writing as follows:

Konecny largely repeated the results of his sophomore year from a raw production standpoint — but this time spreading it out over 82 contests rather than jam-packing most of his work into the final three-and-a-half months.

I wouldn’t classify this as a disappointing result on Konecny’s behalf, but rather as a partial result of a return to normalcy, as well as being an effect of an overall disappointing Flyers season. I do think Konecny could fulfill a greater potential, especially if he is placed with Giroux and Couturier again. However, let’s let the numbers talk to see just how much more we could expect from TK.

As mentioned, his previous two years have been quite similar:

(all advanced stats via Corsica Hockey, standard metrics via hockey reference)

There’s a bit to unpack here. In terms of his point production, again, his last two seasons have been strikingly similar. There was a slight dip in his points at a 5-on-5 level, but that’s inconsequential considering Konecny scored 8 power play points in 2018-19, where he only scored 3 the season prior. He’ll almost certainly be on PP2 again, but if Konecny can help drive goals for the secondary unit, that would be huge for the Flyers as well as for Konecny’s personal stock.

Last season, Konecny’s Corsi-For improved slightly at 5v5, jumping up 0.85 percentage points. That still doesn’t see him break even, but he’s very close to it. I do think eventually, even next season, he will positively drive 5-on-5 possession metrics as he continues to “figure out” the NHL even further. In terms of expected goals, Konecny dipped slightly last season, though the first few months of last season can help explain this drop.

Comparables

Konecny is young enough that there aren’t any decent point share comparables, so I’ll use comparable point shares for a similar player. I would classify Konecny as a secondary scorer who has a speed upside. TK is exceptionally quick, and uses his speed to gain an advantage. Therefore, I thought that a decently similar player would be Michael Grabner. He is known for being a burner with his speed, and his point totals come in around 0.5 ppg, which is very similar to Konecny. His point shares also match fairly closely with Konecny’s. [Point shares are a comparative statistic that function similarly to WAR (wins above replacement) in baseball, and are used to value a hockey player’s value to a team.] Therefore, I think Grabner is well suited to be used as a comparable, along with players linked to him: Valeri Bure and P.A. Parenteau.

In 2010-11, in his second NHL season, Grabner recorded 8.1 point shares with the New York Islanders, scoring 52 points and a career-high 34 goals. For me, that’s the potential that I can imagine Konecny reaching. Now of course, Grabner never reached those totals again, but perhaps Konecny can.

From looking at the overall careers of these three comparables, it appears each player had a breakout season, either early with Grabner or later with Bure and Parenteau (though his career started a bit later age wise), but were unable to recreate that level of success later. This would lead me to believe that those breakout seasons were situational, and that seems to fit the bill with Konecny. When given his “own line”, he has struggled to carry it to positive outcomes, and has shown great chemistry and results when paired with Giroux and Sean Couturier.

Point share trends among comparables show he is likely to produce more, though it is likely his results could be situationally volatile. Konecny is approaching his 4th season in the NHL, and will be a similar age to Grabner when he produced his 50+ point, 30+ goal season at age 23 (though TK will be 22 and has played more games compared to Grabner at that point).

A breakout year under a new coach?

The numbers alone suggest TK could improve, but marginally so. However, I think there is more reason to believe in TK with the new coaching staff. At first, I was mostly negatively reacting to the Vigneault hire. However, I’ve warmed up to it slightly. I think it’s the best the Flyers could have done given the desires on part of the team and fanbase for an experienced mind. Setting aside Yeo and Therrien (both of whom I don’t like as hires), Alain Vigneault has shown that he is very capable at utilizing players with Konecny’s skillset. Just look no further than Michael Grabner! The Austrian forward played on Vigneault’s 2016-17 Rangers, and scored 27 goals, 40 points total, on a team whose top scorer only registered 59 points. I don’t think AV will use a similar system in Philadelphia like he did in New York, but there is evidence towards Vigneault bringing out the best in a player like Konecny. That alone makes me optimistic for what TK can bring to the table next year.

I think for next year, we’re looking at a point share of around 6.0 to 6.5 if he plays better than he did last year, with Vigneault hopefully getting the best out of TK. His previous highest point share was 5.7, in 2017-18, so I think that is a realistic expectation for Konecny. That should equate to around 50-55 points if the Flyers are closer to their 2017-18 form rather than that of 2018-19. That being said, I would not be surprised if that total jumps to 60-65 if he plays on the top line for a majority of the year. I don’t think he’ll produce any more than that, as he’ll almost certainly not play top power play.

If we’re going by the trends, then 55-60 points is probably where TK will range out for his career, with slight variations in this here and there depending on linemates and tactics. That’s certainly excellent for a secondary scorer, and could even push him into primary scoring territory should events fall that way.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to be excited about with Travis Konecny. He has exciting speed, great skill, and can use those abilities to produce spectacular goals. Even if he is unable to carry a line to success, he makes for a top rate piece to pair with a player who can. It is promising that TK has continued to show growth, and has even become a bit chippy. We will of course have to wait and see how AV utilizes TK, but I’m hopeful that the results will be positive.

James Neal Jersey

Whitby, Ont., native was a healthy scratch in Game 5 for the 1st time in his career

Amid the fallout from the Calgary Flames’ early playoff ejection is a frayed relationship with James Neal.

The veteran winger was a healthy scratch for the first time in his 11-year career when the Colorado Avalanche eliminated the Flames in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series last Friday.

Calgary signed the 31-year-old to a five-year contract worth $28.75 million US last year because he was a consistent 20-goal man and also brought playoff experience after two long runs with Nashville and Las Vegas.

But after seven shots on net, zero points and a minus-3 in the first four games of the Avalanche series, Neal was benched in favour of Austin Czarnik. Calgary lost 5-1.

“That was hard,” Neal said. “I’ve never had to go through that in my career.”

Flames head coach Bill Peters and Neal began working on reconciliation in their exit-meeting discussions this week.

“They were real,” Peters said. “We don’t want to go down that path again.”

While the Flames climbed to the top rung of the NHL’s Western Conference ladder, Neal didn’t blossom with his third new team in three years.

Thought to be a candidate to play on the top line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, Neal’s tenure there didn’t last long as Elias Lindholm claimed that job.

Neal toiled on Calgary’s third line down the stretch, producing a career-low seven goals and 12 assists in 63 games.

Being sidelined 17 games with a lower-body injury in February and March contributed to diminished production.

“It was a tough year for sure,” Neal said. “It’s tough when you’re not producing like you should be. That being said, our team was winning.

“For me, I was just trying to get healthy and get ready and being an impact player in the playoffs. Obviously that didn’t happen. I need to get back to where I need to be.”
Becoming a more productive player

Given Calgary’s investment in Neal, both parties are motivated for him to be a happier and more productive player.

“I want to be a top-six guy who is counted on to score big goals and be an impact player,” Neal said. “I’ve been like that my whole career.

“I scored 20-plus goals in every one of my years except for this year so I know I can (get) back to being that type of player and help this team out.”

Said Peters: “We’ve got to give him more ice time — and when I say give, on an earned basis.”

Neal reached the Stanley Cup final with both Nashville in 2017 and Las Vegas in 2018.

The six-foot-three, 212-pound forward recorded a combined 12 goals and eight assists in 42 post-season games.

His silver lining in Calgary’s suddenly long summer is extra time to top up his gas tank for 2019-20.

“The last three years, they’ve been good years, but that being said, you don’t have time to take care of your body and train in the summer,” Neal said.

“This is a chance for me to get back to where I know I can be and where I feel like I should be.”

With the alternative sour and potentially costly, general manager Brad Treliving says the Flames remain committed to making it work with Neal.

“James is very accountable,” the GM said. “James didn’t sign here to be a scratch in Game 5 of the first-round.

“I think he’s going to pull up his boot strings and be better, but how do we help him too? There’s two parties involved, the player and the team. We both want him to be successful.”

Marek Mazanec Jersey

One of the more frustrating storylines of the 2018-19 campaign for the Canucks and their fans was the lack of goalies in the system, resulting in disaster between the pipes. Michael Dipietro, a highly touted prospect, was forced into one game and allowed seven goals in the process. This, of course, all happened due to the Anders Nilsson trade to the Ottawa Senators, and the Philadelphia Flyers claiming Mike McKenna (the goalie the Canucks received in return) off waivers. One solution to this issue was trading a seventh round draft pick to the New York Rangers in exchange for Marek Mazanec. While he never did play for the Canucks, he played ten games in Utica, and is an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. As such, the Canucks will have to decide whether to bring him back or not, and there may be a case that they should.

In his ten games with the Comets, Mazanec’s stat line is not particularly compelling. His save percentage stands at .874, with a goals against average of 2.99. These, evidently, are not overly impressive numbers. His numbers with the Hartford Wolf Pack (the AHL affiliate of the Rangers) were not much better this season. His save percentage, while better, was still a mere .903, with a GAA of 3.01. These both came with seven wins through 20 contests. In limited NHL minutes (31 games with both the Rangers and the Nashville Predators), he has an underwhelming .895 save percentage and eights wins (along with an assist). His professional profile is thus fairly run-of-the-mill.

Evidently, the recent statistical case is not a convincing one for keeping Mazanec. That said, if one felt so inclined, there is a broader case that can be made for keeping him on as a depth asset. The obvious point is regarding how the Canucks will handle prospect Michael Dipietro next season. After getting crushed in his one-game stint with the Canucks — a contest he was unfairly thrown in to — he looks to be a member of the Comets in 2019-20. However, it is fair to wonder whether it is truly fair or reasonable to expect to take over the starting position right away — after all, Thatcher Demko backed up Richard Bachman for a period of time prior to his ascension to the number one slot. It can then be argued that Mazanec would be a fine temporary starter for Utica. The other argument is one of asset management. The Canucks gave up a 7th round pick for Mazanec, and while this is not worth spending a lot of time thinking about, they are more than likely going to have to bring in a depth goaltender regardless — they may as well re-sign a goalie they went out of their way to acquire. Some have praised his athleticism and see sneaky upside in the 27-year-old, making re-signing him a low-risk-but-maybe-not-zero-reward opportunity.

Overall, the case of bringing back Marek Mazanec is a largely inconsequential one. However, the 2018-19 campaign showed what can happen when depth goaltending is pushed to the wayside. While in the long term, it seems likely that he will be forgotten by many of the fanbase, it is fair to keep him in the conversation in regards to organizational netminding.

Mike Ribeiro Jersey

As pretty much every NHL fan knows, the Nashville Predators were eliminated from the 2019 Playoffs. They fell to the Dallas Stars in overtime in Game 6 after never gaining a stronghold on the series. As the Central Division winners, the Predators were technically the favorites, but the series was viewed as a toss-up at best. That last sentence was the theme for the Predators in 2018-19: should have been the favorites, but failed to live up to expectations.

Although this early exit is a difficult pill to swallow, it isn’t surprising. Since reaching the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, they’ve been eliminated in an earlier round each of the past two seasons. Going back to before the 2014-15 season, there’s a clear line of moves that leads to the present, a team seeking answers after another season of failed expectations. Sure there was the climb that peaked with a Western Conference championship, but since then it’s all been downhill, and the decisions that helped in the climb were also part of the regression.
2014-15: Laviolette’s First Season

Following the 2013-14 season, the Predators had had exactly one head coach (Barry Trotz) and one general manager (David Poile) in franchise history. They were coming off a season in which they had missed the playoffs for the second straight season after reaching them three straight seasons between 2009-10 and 2011-12. They had never advanced beyond the conference semifinals.

Soon after the 2013-14 season concluded, Poile announced that Trotz had been let go. In his place, the Predators hired Peter Laviolette, former head coach of the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers. He brought with him a winning pedigree that included a Stanley Cup win in 2006 with Carolina and a Cup Final appearance in 2010 with Philadelphia. Also during the offseason of 2014, the Predators signed Mike Ribeiro to center their top line, giving the Predators a decent one-two punch down the middle with Mike Fisher. That summer they also acquired James Neal from the Pittsburgh Penguins to add a reliable goalscorer.The moves the team made worked, finishing second in the division with 104 points. They were led offensively by a 20-year-old Filip Forsberg’s 26 goals and 63 points. It was also the rookie seasons for Viktor Arvidsson, Kevin Fiala and Miikka Salomäki. The Predators were ousted in six games by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round.
2015-16: Trading for Johansen

The offseason following the 2014-15 season was a quiet one for the Predators. The only free agents they signed were Barrett Jackman and Cody Hodgson, and neither made a lasting impact. The team did buy out the contracts of Rich Clune and Viktor Stalberg, the latter whose buyout lasted through the 2018-19 season. The Predators had a strong regular season, with 96 points and a fourth-place finish in the division.

Their season was made better with the January acquisition of Ryan Johansen from the Columbus Blue Jackets. This trade addressed the team’s perpetual need for a first-line center. They paid a large price by giving up young defenseman Seth Jones, but it was a good one-for-one hockey trade in which both teams were bettered. Although skeptics questioned whether Johansen was a 1C, he’s proven them wrong as he’s developed into one of the game’s better playmaking centers and is the driving force of the team’s top line.Once again Forsberg led the team in scoring with 33 goals and 64 points. In the postseason, the Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks in the first round with the series going the full seven games and setting up a rivalry in the process. They faced the San Jose Sharks in Round 2. That series also went seven games, this time resulting in a Predators loss. They didn’t reach their ultimate goal, but made strides by winning a round. They also landed their top center and the team’s current roster was taking shape with Juuse Saros making his NHL debut.
2016-17: Stanley Cup Final

Fresh off advancing a round, the Predators went into the summer looking to upgrade their roster. They started by drafting Dante Fabbro, Samuel Girard and Rem Pitlick in the draft, all three players who would have an impact on the team in coming seasons. They followed that up by pulling off one of the bigger one-for-one trades in recent memory when they sent captain Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens for P.K. Subban.

That move sent shockwaves throughout the league and it was analyzed from all angles. The consensus appeared to be that the trade could be a wash in the early seasons, but it would be a Predators win long-term. The team later added defensemen Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber in free agency.

Interestingly, despite these additions, the Predators finished the regular season in fourth place with 94 points. It was the second straight season of regular-season regression. For the first time since 2013-14, someone other than Forsberg led the team in points with Arvidsson and Johansen both posting 61 points. Forsberg still had a great season, however, with 58 points. The 2016-17 season was that trio’s first as the JOFA Line and they drove the team’s offense.Although they were the eighth seed in the Western Conference and the league’s 16th seed, the Predators upset the top-seeded Blackhawks by sweeping them. They followed that up with a six-game series victory over the St. Louis Blues in the second round and a hard-fought win over the Ducks in the conference finals, also in six games. They faced the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final, their first in franchise history, and lost the series in six games.

During the postseason, the Predators’ speed and quick transition style gave teams fits. They were seemingly able to send wave after wave of offense at the opposition with little dropoff down the lines. It also helped that they had an active defense that was unafraid to play deep in the offensive zone.

They played so well in the playoffs that had Johansen not gotten hurt (13 points in 14 games) and missed the Cup Final and had Neal not broken his hand, the Predators likely would have won the Stanley Cup. It also didn’t help that Pekka Rinne was pulled in two of six games versus the Penguins. The Predators dominated five-on-five play and their style was problematic for the Penguins, but the lack of a number one center, plus the absence of center depth behind Johansen, cost the team the series.

Anthony Bitetto Jersey

At 5’9″ and 187 pounds, Brad Hunt doesn’t look like your typical NHL
defenseman. But over the last two seasons, he’s proved he can contribute and be a solid fifth or sixth defenseman.

In 2017-18, Hunt played 45 games for the expansion Golden Knights, his highest mark by far. His previous high was 11 games for the Edmonton Oilers back in 2014-15. This past season, Hunt played 42 games total between Vegas and Minnesota, 29 of them for the Wild. Now Hunt finds himself set for unrestricted free agency this summer. Lets take a look at Minnesota and if they should let the undersized, but solid defenseman walk or, should they re-sign the former Bemidji State Beaver.
Injuries Bring Hunt In

After the injury to Matt Dumba, Fenton (sort of) addressed this by trading for Hunt. Though initially the 6th defenseman, playing with Nick Seeler and at times Anthony Bitetto, Hunt spent the last chunk of his season playing in the top four alongside Jonas Brodin when Greg Pateryn couldn’t cut it. Though a lefty, Hunt proved his versatility and mostly played on his off-side, on the right. In a similar vein to Nate Prosser a few years ago, Hunt twice played fourth line right-wing, when Pontus Aberg was unplayable. This versatility is invaluable when injuries occur, and Hunt makes a fine fifth defenseman.Hunt split his year between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Minnesota Wild, scoring 5 goals and 7 assists for a grand total of 12 points. 3 goals and 2 assists came with the Wild, so he wasn’t exactly lighting it up in the land of 10,000 lakes. Only managing to enter the lineup 13 times in Vegas, Hunt became mostly a regular fixture on Minnesota’s blue-line (and at times fourth line,) playing 29 games for the Wild. His minus-5 rating could be a concern, but on a team without a plus-player at the end of the season, minus -5 for a 5th defenseman isn’t terrible. It isn’t great either.
Hunt’s Power-Play Prowess

Hunt wasn’t only a decent option at 5 on 5, his powerful and accurate shot landed him a spot on the power play, immediately upon his arrival from Vegas. All three goals Hunt scored wearing forest green came on the power play. One can salivate at the thought of both Hunt and Dumba shooting bombs on the power play next season, should Hunt be brought back.

Dumba sadly never recovered from his injury in time for us to see this combo. However, coach Boudreau may have them quarterback each unit separately with Suter, Spurgeon, Brodin and Luke Kunin all capable of manning the point on the man advantage. Bruce would have options, that’s for sure. Personally I’d have Kunin be the bumper/net-front guy and keep Brodin off the power play entirely. Any combination of Suter, Spurgeon, Dumba and Hunt at the points could lead to more goals on the man advantage.
Where Hunt Could Best be Utilized by Minnesota

By the time the regular season starts in October, Hunt will be 31 years old. His age and bottom pair/fringe defenseman status won’t lead to a big ask. Hunt’s last contact was 2 years at league minimum $650,000. Should Fenton decide to bring back Hunt, a similar deal could be struck. However, with Nick Seeler needing minutes to develop, Fenton may not want to block out his young defenseman from maturing. Though at times being a healthy scratch at the tail end of the season, Seeler was having a solid year on the third pair alongside Pateryn, before Dumba’s injury. Unless injuries occur, Hunt could be a healthy scratch most games, unless Bruce decides to rotate Hunt in for Seeler or Pateryn.

If Minnesota’s power play goes stagnant, Hunt could become a regular on the blue line. Heck, he could even fill in on the fourth line and get time on the man advantage. With the league minimum rising to $700,000 next year, I could see a 1 to 2 year deal for Hunt anywhere from $700,000 to 900,000. As a proud Bemidji State alumni, I’d love to see Hunt return. But with Minnesota’s top six D mostly set in stone, I could see Hunt move on. Unless Seeler finds himself down in Iowa or becomes the team’s seventh defenseman or if Pateryn, Brodin or Spurgeon (God forbid) are moved, I just don’t see it happening.

Wrap Up

Maybe Hunt would accept a two-way deal. He could be at the point in his career where not many teams are looking for an early thirty-something fringe D-man. Hunt and his Bemidji State buddy Matt Read could both realistically be playing for Minnesota’s farm team next season. This would be most ideal for the team in my opinion.

If Hunt isn’t a regular on the Wild, he could take a similar role to Nate Prosser this year and be a mentor for the young blue-liners on the baby Wild. If/when injuries occur, Hunt would surely be the first or second option to call up next to Louis Belpedio. If the contracts he’s offered are all about the same, I could see Hunt choosing to stay in his second home.

Ryan Ellis Jersey

The Nashville Predators are by all accounts looking to make some significant changes to their roster this summer.

David Poile said as much in his final postseason press conference, saying “we have some areas that we need to address” after discussing the team’s disappointing first round loss to the Dallas Stars.

Given David Poile’s comments, it’s unlikely that the 2019-20 roster is identical to the 2018-19 roster. With that said, here are three players that could most likely be traded away from the Predators this summer.
Ryan Ellis

Much of the focus the past few days has been on the possibility of the Preds trading away P.K. Subban, most of this fueled by non-local hockey media. But no one who has the inside track on David Poile’s intentions has said the team plans on trading P.K. Subban.

However, there is one blueliner that could be traded and that’s Ryan Ellis.

I’ve already written about how the Preds should consider breaking up the “big four.” Trading Ryan Ellis seems to be the easiest way to make that happen, for several reasons.

One, even with a sub-par season by Nashville’s standards, Ryan Ellis still had a very good year as a defenseman. He finished with a career high 34 assists and a career high 41 points on the season. His disappointing 4.7 shooting percentage led to only 7 goals on the year, but he still managed to hold his own in the offensive end.Ellis’s defensive play was questionable (as was the whole defense’s) and that shouldn’t be ignored. But Ellis is still a quality offensive defenseman in the league. He ranked 23rd in assists among all NHL defensemen and 27th in points. That still makes him a bonafide top four defensemen on virtually any team in the league.

The other reason the Preds could trade Ellis is his contract. He probably has the most team friendly contract that another team would be willing to take on. Ellis just recently signed an eight-year, $50 million contract extension that kicks in this season. Unlike Subban’s mammoth $9 million a year price tag, Ellis only costs $6.25 million per year. That’s a very good price for a legit top four blueliner.

Plus, Ellis’s contract does not contain a no-move clause. This makes his contract more enticing for prospective buyers who might be leery of an eight-year term.

Plenty of teams will be looking for defensive help this summer. In particular, teams like Toronto, Montreal, New Jersey, Ottawa, and Philadelphia need to upgrade their blueline. All these teams also have intriguing offensive prospects that the Predators might be interested in.
Kyle Turris

This is going to be the hardest sales job of David Poile’s career. But I think it needs to happen.

No one is quite sure what happened with Turris between being a 50-60 point top six center in Ottawa and being an absolute liability in Nashville, but at this point it may be too late for a diagnosis. After his worst season in almost ten years in the league, it’s probably time to find a way to unload his undesirable contract.
Of course, the key issue is here is the buyer. Who will be willing to take on five more years of an under performing and likely unhealthy $6 million center?

One team that stands out as an option for any NHL team wanting to shed salary on aging players or undesirable contracts is the same team that drafted Kyle Turris, the Arizona Coyotes. Could the Predators package Turris along with a prospect (or draft picks) in order to free themselves of $30 million over the next five years?

There’s no doubt that the Coyotes would be willing to listen to offers here. The Coyotes and general manager John Chayka both have a history of acquiring bad contracts in exchange for good young prospects (or just to meet the salary cap floor). In 2016, Chayka acquired Pavel Datsyuk from the Red Wings, even though Datsyuk was headed to the KHL. He acquired a first round pick for taking on Datsyuk’s contract. I could see a similar situation with Kyle Turris going to Arizona along with a 2nd or 3rd round pick.
Nick Bonino

Though Nick Bonino had a decent year for the Predators, his trade value might be the highest it’s been since arriving in Nashville in the summer of 2017.

Nick Bonino wasn’t the worst contract David Poile ever signed (or even the worst one discussed in this article) at four years, $16 million. But for what Bonino brings to the team, Poile definitely overpaid to get him. It’s no fault of his own, though, as the dearth of centers on the market in 2017 left him essentially no choice.

Bonino finished with 35 points on the season, not a terrible season for a bottom six center. He scored 17 goals, though he shot well above his career average in order to get there. He also helped round out one of the better 3rd lines on the Predators in the last few seasons.

But if the Predators are going to take the next step, they need more offensive punch in their bottom six.

Trading Nick Bonino would most likely be a “hockey trade” where the Preds find a trade partner with complimentary needs and a complimentary player in return. Think Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen in 2016, where both teams got what they needed. I could see Bonino going to a team with offensive surplus and a need for defensive improvement. Perhaps he goes back to Anaheim? Detroit, Edmonton, and New Jersey are also possibilities.

Yannick Weber Jersey

Teams populated by members of the Predators – Canada, Switzerland and Sweden – are all finding success in the preliminary round at the 2019 IIHF World Championship.

Preds forward Kyle Turris and defenseman Dante Fabbro of Canada, and blueliner Mattias Ekholm of Sweden, have helped their clubs to 2-1-0 records thus far, while Nashville defensemen Roman Josi and Yannick Weber are a perfect 4-0-0 with Switzerland.

Turris, who is captaining Team Canada at the tournament, has two goals and three assists through three outings, with both tallies coming in an 8-0 triumph over Great Britain. Fabbro also scored in that win with a blast on the power play, assisted by Turris.

Josi has one goal, three assists and a plus-7 rating for the Swiss through four games, and while Weber has yet to factor in on the scoresheet, he carries a plus-5 rating of his own.

Ekholm is also searching for his first point of the tournament, but he’s a plus-2 for a Swedish club that has outscored their opponents by a 19-6 count thus far.

The opening round continues through May 21, including a meeting between Josi, Weber and Ekholm on May 18 when Switzerland faces Sweden.

Click here for a full schedule from the IIHF, and stay tuned to NashvillePredators.com in the coming days and weeks for continuing coverage on Nashville’s tournament participants.

Nick Bonino Jersey

Nobody really knows what is in store for the Pittsburgh Penguins this offseason but it seems likely that a significant trade is on the horizon, most likely involving Phil Kessel, champion of the people. Assuming it happens it will be the first truly major offseason trade involving the Penguins since they actually acquired Kessel in the summer of 2015. So with that in mind I wanted to hop in my own personal Delorean and take a trip back in time to look at some of the biggest offseason trades in Penguins history.

When I say “biggest” trades I am looking at deals that significantly altered the course of the franchise, involved a superstar, or was just the type of trade that really grabbed headlines.

Here are the ones that stood out.

The Penguins were coming off of year one of the Jim Rutherford-Mike Johnston experience and it … did not go well. The team was completely mediocre, had to sneak into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, and instead of breaking apart the core they already had in place, decided to add to it by trading for one of the best wingers in the league. The price was right in terms of the compensation going to Toronto, and also in the sense that the Maple Leafs were picking up a significant portion of Kessel’s remaining contract. The Penguins were not only getting a top-line winger, they ended up getting him at a discounted price. Kessel had a slow start in his first regular season with the team (he was not the only one to start slow that year) but kicked it into a new gear in the playoffs and helped the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups over the next two years. Even though there always seems to be criticism sent his direction, the Kessel era in Pittsburgh has been wildly successful and it is to this day one of the best trades in the history of the franchise.

This was tremendous theatre.

Staal was the third member of the Penguins’ big-three center model between the 2006 and 2012 seasons, playing behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The trio went to two Stanley Cup Finals, won one, and when all three were healthy was as consistently dominant as any other group of centers the NHL has seen in years.

In the summer of 2012 Staal was entering the final year of his contract and not only looking for a big payday, but also a bigger role. A trade was pretty inevitable and everyone knew that if it was going to happen, it was probably going to happen at the draft. Adding to the intrigue is that the draft that year was happening in Pittsburgh. I will never forget driving into the arena that night to cover it and listening to the radio and hearing how the Penguins had pretty much leaked the details of their contract offer, almost as a “hey, we tried, we’re not the bad guys here” type of move to soften the blow for the fanbase.

For weeks leading up to the draft it had been widely reported that Carolina was one of the teams that would be most interested in Staal, and when their pick at No. 8 overall came up Gary Bettman walked to the podium, soaking up his usual chorus of boos, smirked into the microphone, and said those magic words:

“We have a trade..”

… and then followed it up with, if I recall, “Pittsburgh, you’re going to be interested in this one.”

It was total chaos in the arena at the moment as the Penguins were now on the clock, one of their best players was gone, and there seemed to be a 50-50 split of people that either loved it or hated it.

My FAVORITE part of the night though was during then-Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford’s media scrum. I remember standing there and listening to him sing the praises of Staal and talking about reuniting him with his older brother, Eric.

It was at that point that someone (I did not recognize the person, so I have no idea who it was) asked Rutherford, “Now that you have Eric and Jordan are you going to try and acquire Marc next?”

I will never forget Rutherford giving that person a total death stare, pausing for a few moments and trying to figure out how he could possibly answer this question without being guilty of tampering, and firmly saying “… NO” and then shaking his head in disbelief for at least another 10 seconds.

If looks could kill, man.

This trade turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag for the Penguins. At the time Sutter and the first-round pick figured to be the keys of the deal because Sutter was supposed to replace Staal on the third line and the No. 8 pick was supposed to be a potential impact player, while Dumoulin was just viewed as kind of a throw-in.

Sutter ended up stinking before being traded for Nick Bonino in a deal that would play a huge role in the 2016 and 2017 championship seasons, while Dumoulin has blossomed into a legitimate top-pairing defender and the team’s most solid defensive player.

The No. 8 pick was used on Derrick Pouliot, who was mostly a flop. It turned out to be a huge “what if” pick as Jacob Trouba went to Winnipeg one pick later, while Filip Forsberg went to Washington three picks later. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Teuvo Teravainen, and Tomas Hertl also went within the next 10 selections and there is still an alternate universe where Tom Wilson (No. 16 overall pick) was selected by the Penguins in this draft class.

Simply the most significant trade in Penguins history, and arguably the biggest trade in the history of Pittsburgh sports.

Jagr was already a first ballot Hall of Famer, an all-time great, and was still kind of in the prime of his career (he was only 28!) at the time of this trade. Still, it became increasingly obvious that his time in Pittsburgh had run its course and he was going to be on the move as the start of a significant overhaul and rebuild of the franchise. For months trade rumors swirled and all of them seemed to center on the Capitals, New York Rangers, and New York Islanders. I am mostly going on memory here but I seem to recall the rumored names heading to Pittsburgh revolved around the likes of Jeff Halpern, Brad Isbister, and some combination of Jamie Lundmark, Pavel Brendl, or Jan Hlavac from the Rangers.

It turned out to be none of those players.

Not only did the Penguins send a franchise icon to one of their biggest rivals, they sent him there for a combination of magic beans, all of whom were selected in the first 50 picks of the previous year’s draft (in hindsight one of the weakest and worst drafts in the history of the NHL).

Then-general manager Craig Patrick tried to sell it as a great trade for the future and made the now infamous mistake of comparing Beech to Hall of Famer Ron Francis.

This is a trade that turned out to be a failure for everyone involved. None of the prospects the Penguins acquired amounted to anything, Jagr was never a fit in Washington and was traded (eventually going to the Rangers after all straight up for Anson Carter!) just two years later, and really the only thing either team gained out of it is that it sent them both on their rebuilding paths that resulted in their past decade of dominance where they have combined to win four Stanley Cups. Not because the trade itself helped either one, but because it made both of them so bad it helped them land franchise-changing talents.

The sub-plot to this trade was weeks of rumors that it was definitely going to be followed up with another trade where the Penguins would send Jan Hrdina to the Capitals for Dainius Zubrus. That would have been … something.

August 31, 1995: Penguins trade Luc Robitaille and Ulf Samuelsson to New York Rangers for Sergei Zubov and Petr Nedved

Luc Robitaille spent 19 years in the NHL and was one of the best, most productive wingers the league has ever seen. And I am still willing to bet most hockey fans have either completely forgotten his brief time in Pittsburgh or did not even realize it happened. He spent the lockout shortened 1994-95 season in Pittsburgh (he was awesome) and was one of the few actual NHL players to make an appearance in the movie Sudden Death (he scored the buzzer-beating game-tying goal to save the day!).

His time in Pittsburgh concluded in August, 1995, when he was traded to the Rangers in a pretty significant blockbuster alongside Ulf Samuelsson, a long-time fan favorite in Pittsburgh and a two-time Stanley Cup champion.

In return, the Penguins received Petr Nedved and Sergei Zubov, two younger players that were just beginning to enter their primes in the league.

The immediate results were promising for the Penguins as Nedved had a monster year in 1995-96, scoring 45 goals and 99 points, while Zubov broke out on the team’s power play. None of this, however, would continue. Zubov was traded after one just one season (most likely due to the fact he and Mario Lemieux didn’t click) in a one-for-one deal for Kevin Hatcher. Even though Hatcher was pretty good, and probably better than he was given credit for in Pittsburgh, the deal still looks bad because Zubov was six years younger and ended up having a borderline Hall of Famer career in Dallas.

After two monster seasons offensively Nedved was traded to New York following a lengthy contract dispute for Alexei Kovalev. That trade worked out far better for the Penguins. This is also all part of a pretty extensive and massive trade tree that ended with Marc-Andre Fleury and began with Ron Francis trade (the Samuelsson portion of it). But that is another article for another day.

Between 1988 and 1992 the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired four different future Hall of Famers from outside the organization, trading for Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Larry Murphy, and Joe Mullen.

All of them were outstanding trades and helped build the complementary core of players for the team’s first two Stanley Cups.

The Mullen trade was probably the biggest steal because they got him for next to nothing, sending only a second-round pick to the Calgary Flames (which they used to select Nicolas Perreault, who never played a game in the NHL).

Mullen ended up spending six years in Pittsburgh (more than he spent with any other team in his career) and scored 153 goals and 325 points in 379 games, while also collecting a pair of Stanley Cup rings.

Calle Jarnkrok Jersey

Calle Jarnkrok summoned two words to describe his lack of offense: “It sucks.”

The Predators center hasn’t scored a goal since Feb. 5 against the Coyotes, a span of 71 days going into Game 4 of his team’s first-round playoff series Wednesday against the Stars.

Jarnkrok had zero goals and six assists in his last 30 games going into Wednesday, when the center was set to play with Rocco Grimaldi and Miikka Salomaki for the second full game in a row after Brian Boyle (appendix) and Wayne Simmonds (knee) were deemed week-to-week.

Change, staying same

The more linemates changed around him, the more Jarnkrok stayed the same. But movement all over the lineup at times this season hasn’t helped when it comes to consistency for Jarnkrok.

When asked for possible reasons for his offensive struggles, Jarnkrok pointed to a shift in responsibilities in his shifts. Being on the fourth line means defense becomes the priority.

It also means fewer minutes on the ice.

“Everybody wants to score,” Jarnkrok said. “Been playing a different role, too. To play on the fourth line you get those low minutes. It’s more about not getting scored on. A lot of (defensive) zone starts. I’m trying to help the team that way.”

Then the 27-year-old paused and quietly pointed the finger back at himself.

“We’re allowed to score, too,” he continued. “It would be nice if our line can contribute that way, too.”

That was then

That November night when Ryan Johansen serenaded Jarnkrok with a Shania Twain song in the Predators locker room seems so long ago.

Jarnkrok scored a hat trick during a victory against the Kings, scoring four-on-four, four-on-five and five-on-four to become the seventh player in the NHL to score at even-strength, shorthanded and on a power play in the same game. He also joined Scott Walker as the only Predators to accomplish the feat.

The game also ended a three-game losing streak for the Predators.

He has four goals and 16 assist in 65 games since then going into Wednesday.

He finished the regular season with 10 goals and 16 assists.

He began the playoffs feeling like “the most protected guy in the league” with the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Boyle on one side and the 6-2, 185-pound Simmonds on the other.

Although his linemates have changed to the 5-6, 180-pound Grimaldi and the 5-11, 203-pound Salomaki, Jarnkrok’s job hasn’t. Grimaldi had a team-best two goals in the series going into Wednesday.
This is now

Jarnkrok continues to provide the Predators with versatility.

“I always like to play with him,” Salomaki said. “He’s smart, a good two-way player, makes good decisions always. He can do a little bit of everything.”

Jarnkrok had two assists during the Predators’ win in Game 2 against the Stars on Saturday, including one on Craig Smith’s game-winner in overtime.

“Calle can play anywhere,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “To number the lines … in a playoff series you roll four lines and do it the best you can and make sure you’re good for whatever the end of the game has in store.

“That line has been terrific. Rocco’s really brought some spark and speed to the game. Salomaki did a really good job. It’s been a while since he’s played. He played big minutes for us. He’s been physical. That line hasn’t been a problem.”