Thursday, March 7, 2013

Predators Shop the Bargain Basement, Bring in Help

The Nashville Predators made some acquisitions of players on waivers, claiming Bobby Butler from the New Jersey Devils and Zach Boychuk from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The moves give the Predators some depth at the forward position and hopefully will help jump start their anemic offense.

Additionally, the Predators have recalled defenseman Victor Bartley from Milwaukee.

Butler is a 6', 180 pound right wing that has appeared in 108 NHL games with Ottawa and New Jersey. He was signed by the Senators in 2010 and has been an AHL All Star and well as part of a Calder Cup winning team with Binghamton.

Boychuk was the 14th overall pick in the 2008 entry draft by the Carolina Hurricanes and has appeared in 80 NHL games. Boychuk is a 5' 10", 185 pound left wing and has played in Juniors with Matt Halischuk and Ryan Ellis.

Bartley is a 6' 204 pound 24 year old defenseman that has 26 points in 54 games for the Predators AHL affiliate in Milwaukee.

With Hal Gill injured and Brandon Yip placed on injured reserve, as well as Matt Halischuk sent to Milwaukee on a conditioning assignment, these additions give the Predators some NHL ready depth.

Perhaps more telling is the statement by Head Coach Barry Trotz that some players were getting "too comfortable" and these additions were going to push some players.

That comment is troubling.

There is no secret that some of the veteran forwards that were expected to carry the load have not produced. Marty Erat, Sergei Kostitsyn, and David Legwand have been non-factors this season. Colin Wilson has disappeared of late. Craig Smith started slow, although his game is picking up.

It is no secret that the effort and production of these players is sorely lacking and the team has suffered. The troubling aspect of this is that the coaching staff feels the need to bring in additional players to push veterans and perhaps even to reduce their ice time. Veterans are supposed to lead by their play and their effort.

That has not been happening.

And if it takes bringing in some waiver acquisitions to spur the veterans to an elevated level of play, then this is a necessary move by the coaching staff.

Now it remains to be seen if the staff has the courage to bench some of these veterans if their productivity doesn't improve.

Let's hope they do.

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