Stu Grimson

Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Nashville Predators

When you’re one of the newer expansion teams in the NHL, creating a look that everyone can rally around can be tough to do. For the Nashville Predators, they’ve had a hard time warming people up to them with their sweaters and even an dalliance with a mustard yellow look hasn’t swayed their fans from revolting. Not too much anyhow.

Best: All right so the Predators don’t exactly have a timeless look to them. Everything about them since their inception has had that really modern look about them and that tends to make many old school hockey fans twitch a bit. With the team being located in Nashville, it didn’t do much to help the gut reactions by those fans to wig out over being a southern hockey team.

That said, there’s one look they’ve had that seems to meet most everyone’s approval and it’s their original road sweater. The navy blue with silver lined sleeves and the massive Predators logo on the front gave them their identity. It’s a simple look but a good one, especially for a new franchise which sometimes means they can try too hard.

Worst: As much as it pains me to say it, I’d be run out of town for not picking the Predators third sweater from 2001-2007. The mustard yellow sweaters were resoundingly hated by most fans outside of Nashville for a host of reasons. They hated the color, they hated the cartoony crest logo, and they were intimidated by the haunting saber-toothed tiger skull on the shoulders. You name it, fans had a reason to dislike it. I, personally, liked the sweater but as I’ve mentioned throughout this I have an affinity for the best of the worst too. Mustard couldn’t have been too bad since yellow is making a big comeback in Nashville this year. That said, go ahead and have fun telling Stu Grimson he looked ugly in mustard yellow, I dare you.

RBK Edge unkind: The Preds were one team that didn’t take advantage of the NHL’s switch to the RBK Edge system. When teams redesigned their look many teams used the opportunity to do something new and different. The Predators, instead, tried their best to make it look exactly like what they had originally. The one difference that happened came when their road white sweaters looked really white as they cut out most of the blue from that sweater. White and silver don’t exactly help each other stand out.

Assessment: After looking so bland since the lockout, the Predators are changing things up big time going to a brighter yellow home sweater with lots of little nuances that help make it a more original sweater. Their road whites are going to be super white again but with blue and yellow highlights throughout it to make it pop a bit more. I’ll have to see it in action to see how it plays out on the ice, but seeing a yellow home sweater has me excited. Doing things different is a good thing and yellow is really different.

Former Flyers goalie Heeter signs with Detroit’s AHL team

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The Red Wings added some goalie depth on Monday, agreeing to terms with journeyman Cal Heeter.

Heeter, 27, broke in with the Flyers organization a while back and made his big-league debut in ’13-14, appearing in one game.

Since then, he’s bounced around the ECHL, AHL (with the Toronto Marlies) and, last season, split his time between Hamburg of the German League and Zagreb Medvescak of the KHL.

By itself, this signing isn’t especially noteworthy, as Heeter projects to be an American League mainstay next year.

But the contract is kind of interesting when looking and the big-picture goalie situation in Detroit. The Wings now have Heeter, Petr Mrazek, Jimmy Howard, Jared Coreau, Eddie Pasquale and Jake Paterson all under contract for next season, which is an awful lot of goalies.

With that in mind, remember that Howard’s name has been in trade talks for quite some time.

 

Ex-NHLers Bellemore, Collins sign with KHL’s Chinese club

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HC Kunlun Red Star, the Beijing-based expansion team that will begin playing in the KHL next season, has added a pair of former NHLers.

Sean Collins, who appeared in a pair of games for the Capitals last season, and Brett Bellemore, a veteran of over 100 contests with the Carolina Hurricanes, have agreed to join the club, per Russian news outlet R-Sport.

Bellemore, 28, was originally drafted by the ‘Canes in 2007 and spent most of his professional career with the organization. He signed on with Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence last year, and appeared in 56 games.

Collins, 27, broke in with the Blue Jackets before signing with the Caps last season. He spent the majority of the year in AHL Hershey and fared well — 16 goals and 39 points in 75 games — and scored three times in the playoffs, helping the Bears advance to the Calder Cup final.

 

Report: Journeyman Santorelli signs in Swiss League

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 02:  Mike Santorelli #25 of the Anaheim Ducks looks on during a game against the Montreal Canadiens at Honda Center on March 2, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Veteran forward Mike Santorelli, who’s appeared in over 400 NHL contests over the last eight years, is headed overseas.

Per multiple reports (see here and here), Santorelli has signed with Geneve-Servette of the Swiss League. The 30-year-old spent last season with the Ducks, scoring nine goals and 18 points in 70 games but didn’t dress for any of the club’s opening-round playoff loss to Nashville.

Santorelli broke into the NHL with Nashville but enjoyed his best years with Florida and Vancouver. He was a former 20-goal scorer with the Panthers and enjoyed a successful stint with his hometown Canucks in ’13-14, scoring 28 points in 49 games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

Santorelli is the second veteran forward to sign in the Swiss League recently. Over the weekend, fellow journeyman Kris Versteeg agreed to join SC Bern.

Jackets sign d-man Harrington, acquired in Rychel trade

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 14:  Scott Harrington #36 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Vancouver Canucks during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on November 14, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Canucks 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Upon trading Kerby Rychel to Toronto at the draft for Scott Harrington, Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen said Harrington was “a guy we’ve watched for a while,” and a “steady, smart [and] good defender.”

Which makes today’s move none too surprising.

On Monday, Kekalainen announced Harrington signed a one-year, two-way deal (financial terms weren’t disclosed). The contract comes after Harrington split last season between the Leafs and the AHL Marlies, appearing in 15 NHL contests.

While Kekalainen was high on Harrington, the most noteworthy thing about the acquisition is it ended a long-running saga with Rychel, the 19th overall pick in 2013. There were repeated rumblings that Rychel wanted out of town, and felt stifled by Columbus’ reluctance to make him a full-time NHLer.

For a while, Kekalainen stood firm in the face of the reports, once openly wondering where they came from. But in the end, the decision was made to part ways with the 21-year-old, the son of ex-NHLer Warren Rychel.

As for Harrington, he should compete for a spot on the Columbus blueline next season. Right now he projects to be the No. 7 or 8 guy, assuming that super prospect Zach Werenski is primed for a full-time gig in the NHL, firmly entrenched in the Blue Jackets’ top six.

In other news from Columbus today, the club has also agreed to terms with AHL forward Alex Broadhurst.

One of the pieces acquired in last summer’s Brandon Saad blockbuster, Broadhurst was a key contributor to AHL Lake Erie’s Calder Cup championship this past spring, finishing second on the club in playoff assists.