The Nashville Predators announced in a press release that the club has signed right wing Juuso Puustinen to a two-year, two-way contract worth $550,000 on the NHL level and $60,000 on the AHL level in both 2011-12 and 2012-13. The announcement was made Thursday afternoon.
The 23 year old was a fifth round draft pick of the Calgary Flames in 2006 and played two years of Junior with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League.
Puustinen spent last season playing with HPK of the Finnish Elite League. The 6-2, 187 pound forward ranked fourth in goals league-wide with 26. (SM-Liiga), ranking fourth in the league in goals (26), and tied for 20th in points (38). A native of Kuopio, Finland, Puustinen also played two seasons with the Espoo Blues.
Like the signing of Laakso on Wednesday, this move by the Preds is a depth move geared towards stocking the cupboards in Milwaukee.
Photo credit: YLE.fi
Wednesday afternoon, the Elite Edge Hockey Showcase wrapped up at A-Game Sportsplex in Franklin. With 220 participants from 27 states around the country, players looked to hone their skills — some with college on the mind, others thinking about Junior in the Canadian Hockey League.
For one Brentwood native, the Showcase was a good opportunity to get ice time before trying out for the USA Under-17 National team later in the summer.
Sebastian Lemm currently attends Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota. The prep school has produced some of the National Hockey League’s biggest stars including Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews.
When Lemm was 14 he contacted the coach about getting into the school. The 6’1, 170 pound forward had to go through a tryout and then get accepted into the school.
The Nashville Predators have promoted Assistant Coach Peter Horachek to Associate Coach.
“I don’t look at it as a negative and I’m not disappointed to the point that I think I’m upset. Yeah, we all want to be a head coach, that’s why we do this game as coaches. We want to get to the point where you are the head coach of a National Hockey League team. That’s obviously expected, but going through the process, getting the recognition, getting people calling you is a real positive situation,” Horachek said about the attention received from other clubs looking for a new coach.
On Wednesday, the Nashville Predators announced that defenseman Teemu Laakso has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the club. The deal is worth $675,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 at the AHL level.
The 24 year old has spent most of last season in Milwaukee, but was called up to Nashville on three occasions, including during the Predators playoff run. Laakso did see action in one contest for the Predators on October 23rd. In three seasons, Laakso has played 8 games for the Predators.
In 152 games for Milwaukee, Laakso has recorded 14 goals and 38 assists for 52 points. During the 2010-11 campaign, Laakso picked up 8 goals and 22 assists for 30 points in 74 games.
Laakso isn’t expected to be on the opening night roster for the Predators, but if needed can fill a stay-at-home defenceman role in case of injury.
Photo credit: Getty Images
If the anticipation of Wednesday night’s game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals has rendered you useless at work, head down to A-Game Sportsplex in Cool Springs Wednesday morning between 8 am – 1 pm to watch the Elite Edge Hockey Showcase wrap up.
The showcase, run by Predators Manager of Hockey Operations Brandon Walker, is now in its 7th year. Wednesday will highlight camp games and awards will be handed out.
There are two programs, one for Juniors, players between the ages of 16-19 who are thinking about trying out for junior or making college selections. The other program consists of Development for skaters between the ages of 14-15. The younger players will be educated on creating the right path for them in hockey as well as learning the differences between AAA and Junior programs.
There are 220 players from 27 different states at this summer’s event. Former Predator Jim McKenzie is coaching the camp and NBC/Versus analysis Darren Eliot is coaching the goaltenders.
College teams and several OHL teams have representatives in attendance.
The event is open to the public.
The Nashville Predators will have a new assistant coach behind the bench at the start of the 2011-12 season. Lane Lambert has been promoted from his job as head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals, the Predators American Hockey League affiliate.
Lambert had a 178-103-28 record in four seasons with the Admirals. Milwaukee made the playoffs each year that Lambert was at the helm. During his four seasons as head coach in the AHL, 25 players have played for both the Ads and the Predators, including 17 of the 33 players who wore a Predators jersey this past season.
“I’ve been in the organization for 5 years and today is an exciting day for me,” Lambert said about the promotion to Nashville. Before being promoted to head coach, Lambert was the assistant coach to Claude Noel during the 2006-07 season.
Predators prospect Ryan Ellis has been awarded the Mickey Renaud Captain’s Trophy. The honor is given to the OHL captain judged to be exemplify leadership skills both on and off the ice.
In a press release from the OHL, Ellis expressed gratitude for being selected.
“It is always exciting to win personal awards but to receive one that recognizes your leadership is extra special for me,” Ellis said.
When the Predators lost their second round playoff series to the eventual Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks, one sidelined Nashville forward looking from the outside in was impressed with what he saw.
Marcel Goc signed with Nashville late in the summer of 2009 heading into the 2009-10 season. After two years with the Predators, the Calw, Germany native talked about the difference one year makes.
“I came here two seasons ago. Last year, we went out in the first round against Chicago. Game five was the deciding game of that series,” Goc said, highlighting that the Predators had a 3-2 lead with under 20 seconds to play in regulation and allowed Patrick Kane to score short handed to send the match to overtime.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Nashville Predators announced they signed 23 year old Victor Bartley to a two-year, two-way contract worth $525,000 on the National Hockey League level and $67,500 on the American Hockey League level. The contract runs through the 2012-13 season.
This past season, Bartley played in Sweden’s second division (with Rogle) and ranked second in points and assists for defensemen with 11 goals, 23 assists and 34 points in 52 games played.
Bartley is from Maple Ridge, British Columbia and played junior in the Western Hockey League with the Kamloops Blazers and the Regina Pats between 2004-2009. The 6’0 blueliner picked up 36 goals and 132 assists (as well as 466 penalty minutes) in 336 games.
If there is one thing the Nashville Predators can count on for the 2011-2012 season it is solid defense. The Predators have captain Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, one of, if not the best, top pairing in the NHL, anchoring the blueline. Kevin Klein and rookie Jon Blum played solidly together down the stretch and into the post-season. This leaves Cody Franson and Francis Bouillon under contract with the big club next season to round out the Predators top-six defense corps.
Ryan Ellis, the Predators 2010 first round draft pick and Memorial Cup winning defenseman, will play his first year of professional hockey, with all things being equal, in Milwaukee. Roman Josi is also a highly touted prospect who just finished his first full season with the Admirals. In 13 playoff contests, Josi scored one goal and recorded 6 assists for 7 points. Additionally, the Predators recently signed Mattias Ekholm, the Swedish Elite League’s rookie of the year. Ekholm is also likely to play his first North American season next year.
Even if Bouillon cannot resume play because of a concussion that ended his season in January, with the strong defensive prospects waiting for their chance to play in the NHL, left out of the mix, then, is Shane O’Brien.