Posts tagged Ryan Suter
A couple of young players provided the offense in the Nashville Predators 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets to open the 2011-12 season at Nationwide Arena Friday night.
With five rookies in the lineup, only Craig Smith had never played a regular season NHL game before the contest. It took Smith 15:56 into the second period to score his first career goal.
“We were forechecking pretty good. We were creating turnovers. We were cycling pretty good. I found myself in front of the net. I saw the puck trickle through from the backside of Mason. I went out put my stick on it and put it home,” Smith said about his first career goal.
The goal gave the Predators a 2-1 lead. Nashville opened scoring 5:10 into the second period on a power play goal by Ryan Suter. Derek Dorsett was serving a penalty for closing his hand over the puck in the defensive zone during the dying seconds of a penalty kill.
Columbus tied the game at 14:19 of the middle frame on a goal by Vinny Prospal, but the Blue Jackets were unable to hang onto the lead as Smith scored less than two minutes later.
Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz said Smith improved as the game went on. “As a young guy, you want to score your first goal in the League so you feel like you belong here a bit. As the game went on he was much better. By the third period, he was using his assets and was playing much better,” Trotz said.
Matt Halischuk also found the scoresheet Friday night, but gave credit to his teammates. “Cal [O’Reilly] made a great play. I just tried to get to the front of the net. He put it right on my stick,” Halischuk said.
The forward took note of Smith’s goal but said it wouldn’t be the younger players leading the squad all season. “It is going to be different guys every night who score goals. Smith did a great job getting his first goal there on a real hard play. We score by committee and it is the way we need to keep going,” Halischuk said.
Trotz also gave credit to Halischuk’s line. Centered by O’Reilly, the Toronto, Ontario native also played with Jordin Tootoo. “They did a really good job. They scored a big goal at the start of the third period. They played a lot against [Jeff] Carter and [Rick] Nash towards the end of the game. That’s a tough job,” Trotz said.
Halischuk scored just 39 seconds into the third period. The Blue Jackets made it a close game when they pulled within one at 10:19 into the final frame on a goal by Nash.
Nashville now travels to St. Louis to play the second game in their first back-to-back games of the year Saturday night. Saturday night’s game will be the Blues season opener.
Photo credit: Getty Images
The Nashville Predators are back in action on Wednesday night when the Washington Capitals visit Bridgestone Arena. Last week, Nashville shutout the Caps 2-0 in Maryland at the Baltimore Hockey Classic.
As cuts to the roster continue to be made, there is one area where the Predators brass are taking extra consideration and time when determining who to keep and who to send to Milwaukee.
Through the first couple rounds of cuts, 11 defensemen remain with the Predators at training camp: Teemu Laakso, Jonathon Blum, Francis Bouillon, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Jack Hillen, Roman Josi, Kevin Klein, Tyler Sloan, Ryan Suter, and Predators Captain Shea Weber.
With Francis Bouillon out of the lineup still recovering from a concussion sustained last season, Nashville only has four returning blue liners who will be ready for opening night. There are two or three open roster spots on defense, depending on whether or not Nashville goes with six or seven defensemen.
After Bouillon, Kevin Klein is the oldest member of the returning defense corps at the age of 26, just a little over a month older than alternate captain Ryan Suter. Klein notes that it isn’t usual for their to be a battle for roster spots on defense in Nashville. “That’s unusual. But there are a lot of guys who can be here. It will be fun to see,” he said.
During training camp, some members of the Nashville Predators wore shirts that said ‘Your future is now — Make it happen.” Never before has there been such opportunity to crack the opening night roster for rookies.
At the start of camp, 50 of the 55 players invited were under the age of 30. Francis Bouillon and Mike Fisher are two players over 30 at 36 and 31 respectably, but both are still out of the lineup due to recovering from injury. Both Bouillon and Fisher look like they will be unable to start the season on October 7th in Columbus.
The Predators are going to have a young team — one of the youngest teams in the League. Some of Nashville’s more veteran players look at the youthfulness of the roster as an exciting time for the team.
Ryan Suter, a veteran at the age of 26, says the younger players need to prove the time is now for them. “There are a lot of unknowns. A lot of opportunities. We are excited for guys to step up and show they belong here,” he said.
The older forward on the team, and oldest Predator with Bouillon out of the lineup, Jerred Smithson says he likes what he has seen.
“At times it is nice to have that experience, but to have that youthful energy, that excitement every day when they come to the rink — they have that jump. As one of the older guys on the team, it is good to see. I feed off it too, seeing them here early and working hard and going 100 miles and hour all the time. It’s great to see and I’m excited for the season,” Smithson said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber was awarded the largest arbitration award in NHL history. The one year, $7.5 million deal keeps Weber as a restricted free agent at the end of next season.
“Shea certainly got recognized as one of the top, if the the best, defenseman in the National Hockey League,” General Manager David Poile said, adding that his value has been known for the last several years in Nashville.
“He is all about competing and competing for the Stanley Cup.” Poile said, acknowledging that the Predators have a better shot of winning the Cup with Weber in the lineup.
Poile told reporters that the two sides negotiated “long and hard,” had many meetings about the contract and discussed both one-year as well as longer term deals.
At the end of the day, however, nothing could come together as term, length and structure of deal were all problems.
Shea Weber has been awarded a 1-year deal worth $7.5 million by a neutral arbitrator. Tim Wharnsby of the CBC broke the news over Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
The Predators organization elected arbitration with their star captain to make sure that no other team could sign the defenseman to an offer sheet that Nashville could not match.
General Manager David Poile wanted to lock up Weber long-term, avoiding the arbitration hearing, but a deal was never reached before the August 2nd hearing.
The Weber camp had the option of asking for a one year or two year deal. Going with a one year settlement means that Weber will again be a restricted free agent when his contract expires July 1, 2012.
Weber remains an RFA at the end of next season because will not be 27 until August and he has not played enough full seasons in the NHL to qualify for an under-27 unrestricted free agent.
The Nashville Predators look to avoid arbitration by coming to an agreement on a new contract for captain Shea Weber, but have less than 24 hours remaining before the arbitration hearing is scheduled.
The hearing is set for Tuesday morning in Toronto.
Last season, the 6’4 Sicamous, B.C. native scored 16 goals, adding 32 assists for 48 points. Getting Weber signed long term is the ultimate goal for general manager David Poile who also needs to deal with Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne re-signing. Both are set to become unrestricted free agents in July 2012.
If Weber and the team go to arbitration, Poile will likely have a more difficult time signing the other two stars. Worst case scenario is all three leave Music City. If Weber and the team do go to arbitration, and Weber elects a one-year award, the captain would still be a restricted free agent at the end of next season.
Weber, the face of the franchise, is an All-Star, Norris Trophy nominated Canadian Olympian.
*More to come as news breaks
Photo credit: Getty Images
The Nashville Predators have scored 84 goals this season, 15 of them have come from defensemen. Nashville is among the elite in teams that boast defense corps which aid in registering goals with only Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Washington and Buffalo with more blue line tallies. For a team that lacks that Sidney Crosby or even Rick Nash-type star forward, the Predators are a much more dangerous team when the defense jumps into the play.
Last year 32 of Nashville’s 225 goals were scored by defensemen, 14%. Of course, that includes Shea Weber’s 16 tallies. This year, the Predators rank in the top ten for NHL scoring by defensemen, with 15 goals in 33 games, only five have come off the stick of Weber.
Head coach Barry Trotz notes that Nashville’s defensemen can all skate well and that makes it possible for them to jump up into the play to create odd-man situations. As a result, four of the Predators top six defensemen are on pace to break last years totals, and those totals may be smashed, not just broken.
Just four days before the puck dropped on the Nashville Predators 2010-2011 season, first round draft pick Ryan Parent and Jonas Andersson were traded to the Vancouver Canucks for Shane O’Brien and minor league player, Dan Gendur.
Nashville fans are used to General Manager David Poile signing players and making trades at the end of the off season. Take last year for example. On August 20th, 2009, Marcel Goc signed a one-year deal with the Predators after spending four seasons with the San Jose Sharks. Francis Bouillon came to training camp on a professional tryout after Montreal chose not to offer the 5’8 defenseman a contract. Bouillon didn’t sign his one-year deal with Nashville until September 30th, just days before the start of the regular season.