2007 NHL Entry Draft Rounds 2-7

Nashville extends GM Poile, assistant Fenton


The Nashville Predators made six of the last seven postseasons and won their first-ever playoff round with a team built around defense and goaltending.

Today, the team rewarded the chief architects.

The Predators have announced that David Poile — the only GM in franchise history — and assistant Paul Fenton have been extended through the 2014-15 season.

“Today’s announcement is further recognition by the Predators’ ownership group of the outstanding job David has done as President of Hockey Operations since the franchise’s inception,” Nashville chairman Tom Cigarran said. “The consistent success of the Predators on the ice is directly attributed to his ability to assemble and lead a team of management, coaches, scouts and administrators who continually identify, draft, develop and motive an exceptional group of experienced and young players.

“The ownership group believes that under his leadership, the Nashville Predators will soon achieve its goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”

The extensions follow in a series of bold, statement-making moves from the Preds. They already handed out the biggest contract in franchise history (Pekka Rinne’s seven-year, $49 million deal) and bucked up big for Montreal’s Hal Gill, prompting ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun to write the following:

Make no mistake about Friday’s trade, it’s another subtle message from Poile to his two studs [Ryan Suter and Shea Weber] that the Preds are committed to going for it. This year and beyond.

Extending Poile says “this is our guy, we believe in the direction he’s taking us,” while retaining Fenton is about keeping quality people within the organization. Fenton is considered one of hockey’s top assistant GMs and is from the Poile managerial tree — the same place where current Pens GM Ray Shero came from.

“Paul’s vast experience in the game, from playing at the NHL level to scouting and evaluation, combine to make him an integral and invaluable member of our organization,” Poile said. “We’re thrilled that he will continue to play a key role in our hockey operations.”

On that note, check out this glowing Fenton profile from Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal.

Larkin will start season with Red Wings

Dylan Larkin
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Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.

Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.

“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”

Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings

Preseason stats: Five goalies with good numbers, five goalies with…not

Anders Nilsson
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Yeah, yeah, it’s a small sample size and it’s just the preseason, but here are some goaltending stats anyway.

Five goalies with good numbers

Anders Nilsson, Edmonton — zero goals on 53 shots. His solid play a likely factor in the decision to waive Ben Scrivens, who actually wasn’t that bad in the preseason (4 goals on 56 shots).

Martin Jones, San Jose — three goals on 100 shots. The Sharks are rolling the dice on a couple of cheap goalies. Jones and Alex Stalock have a combined cap hit of just $4.6 million.

Jacob Markstom, Vancouver — three goals on 79 shots. Can he finally get over the NHL hump? If so, he could make it a real competition with Ryan Miller.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus — five goals on 122 shots. The Blue Jackets have scored a ton of goals in the preseason, but there remain questions about their blue line. Bobrovsky has the ability to make a so-so defense look good.

Anton Khudobin, Anaheim — two goals on 67 shots. A good early sign for the Ducks, who have Frederik Andersen in the starting role and want to give young John Gibson more time to develop in the AHL.

Five goalies with bad numbers

Thomas Greiss, Islanders — 14 goals on 94 shots. Has to be a bit of concern in Brooklyn. The Isles got below-average backup play last season from Chad Johnson. They wanted to fix that with the Greiss signing.

Robin Lehner, Buffalo — 11 goals on 95 shots. Tim Murray paid a hefty price to get the 24-year-old out of Ottawa. With the aforementioned Johnson in the backup role, the goaltending story is worth watching.

Jeff Zatkoff, Pittsburgh — 11 goals on 74 shots. Granted, Marc-Andre Fleury and Matthew Murray weren’t particularly sharp either. The Penguins conceded 28 goals in eight games.

Kari Lehtonen, Dallas — 15 goals on 84 shots. For a Stars team that desperately needs better goaltending, that has to be worrying. Antti Niemi wasn’t a whole lot better either, allowing eight goals on 65 shots. Fair question to ask — how many of all those goals were attributable to poor defensive play?

Pekka Rinne, Nashville — 12 goals on 91 shots. Has earned the benefit of the doubt, but thought we’d point it out anyway.