After road trip ‘from hell,’ Trotz says changes are coming in Nashville

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On the heels of a 5-1 thrashing in Los Angeles and what he called “a [road] trip from hell,” Barry Trotz said the Predators could be in for a significant shakeup.

“We’re going to have to make some changes,” Nashville’s head coach said on Monday night, courtesy Mayor’s Manor. “We’re going to have to change some guys. It’s not working for us.”

Nashville has just two wins in its last nine games and has been wildly inconsistent offensively.

Beginning on Feb. 16, the Preds scored 11 goals over a three-game stretch against Anaheim, Colorado and Detroit, but were then shut out in back-to-back losses to Vancouver and Detroit.

The Preds followed that up by exploding in a 5-4 OT win over Dallas…which was followed by the aforementioned hellish road trip.

Nashville suffered three losses in which they scored just three times (a 5-1 loss at Anaheim, 2-1 loss at San Jose and Monday’s 5-1 loss at LA.)

Yeah, not good.

Overall, Nashville has the league’s worst offense and last year’s three leading scorers — Martin Erat, David Legwand and Mike Fisher — have combined for just 27 points.

The Preds have claimed forwards Bobby Butler and Zach Boychuk off waivers to try and shake things up, but Trotz suggested those aren’t the only moves Nashville plans on making.

Here’s more Trotz, from Mayor’s Manor:

“Somebody’s going to be getting knocked out of the lineup. We’ve only had 20 guys. So there’s no backside pressure by anybody. We don’t have any extra guys right now, so everybody’s comfortable.

“The comfort level is going to be out the door, because A, we’re going to be looking at recalling some people, or obviously we picked up Bobby Butler on waivers. I’m sure our management and scouts are out there looking. I know the last couple days they’ve met, and trying to improve us.

“So that’s what it is right now. Now we’re not playing good as a hockey team, and then we’re not winning games where you have to win hockey games.”

The next two weeks will prove to be pretty crucial for the Preds.

They’ll get most of this week off, returning on Friday for a two-game homestand against the Oilers (Friday) and Wild (Saturday.)

After that, it’s off on another roadie — this time, a trek through Dallas, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Columbus that will see the Preds play five games in seven nights.

Nugent-Hopkins trying to ignore trade rumors — ‘If it happens, it happens’

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 14:  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #93 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Boston Bruins during the first period at TD Garden on December 14, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade speculation may have died down since it peaked at the draft in late June, but it’s not entirely dead.

The 23-year-old former first overall draft pick was asked to address the ongoing rumors Monday at an Oilers charity golf tournament.

“I try not to pay attention too much,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Edmonton Journal. “If it happens, it happens. I know it’s definitely a different group than the one we finished with last season.”

Indeed it is. Most notably, Taylor Hall is in New Jersey now, traded for defenseman Adam Larsson. The Oilers also signed Milan Lucic and drafted Jesse Puljujarvi.

What’s still lacking is an offensive defenseman who can run the power play, which is why the names Tyson Barrie (Avalanche) and Matt Dumba (Wild) have been floated as potential targets.

The Wild in particular could use a good, young center like Nugent-Hopkins, and the expansion draft is looming for a Minnesota club that already has defensemen Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Marco Scandella locked up in long-term contracts.

Barrie, meanwhile, has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday.

Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk is another name that’s come up; however, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and whether he’d re-sign in Edmonton is in doubt.

Flyers reportedly avoid arbitration with Manning, sign him for two more years

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Chalk up another arbitration hearing that won’t be required. This time it’s Brandon Manning‘s. The 26-year-old defenseman has agreed on a two-year, $1.95 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, according to CSN Philly.

Manning’s hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. He was the last restricted free agent on the Flyers, after Brayden Schenn re-signed Monday.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the Manning signing.

Manning played 56 games for the Flyers in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He had one goal and six assists while logging an average ice time of 16:32.

Report: Blackhawks, Rundblad agree to terminate contract

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 09:  David Rundblad #5 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period at American Airlines Center on October 9, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly parting ways with defenseman David Rundblad. The two sides have agreed to a contract termination, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rundblad, 25, was set to earn $1.1 million this season, per General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.05 million, meaning the ‘Hawks will gain $100,000 in cap space by not having to bury his contract in the AHL next season.

Rundblad was unlikely to make the Blackhawks in 2016-17 — not after the additions of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, and also the re-signing of Michal Rozsival.

It remains to be seen where Rundblad will end up. One possibility is back in Switzerland, where he spent part of last season before dressing three times for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.

Sydor named assistant coach of Blues’ AHL affiliate

OTTAWA, CANADA - OCTOBER 11: Assistant coach Darryl Sydor of the Minnesota Wild looks up at the jumbotron during a video review in a game against the Ottawa Senators, during the NHL home opener to kick off the Senators' 20th anniversary at Scotiabank Place on October 11, 2011 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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Darryl Sydor, after being let go by the Minnesota Wild, has joined the Chicago Wolves as an assistant coach.

The St. Louis Blues, the parent club of the AHL Wolves, made the announcement Monday. It was also announced that former NHLer Daniel Tkaczuk would join Sydor as an assistant on new head coach Craig Berube’s staff.

Sydor, who won two Stanley Cups as a defenseman, spent five years as an assistant on Mike Yeo’s staff in Minnesota. His time with the Wild was marred by an arrest in 2015 for drunk driving. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and sought treatment.

“I know now that alcoholism is a disease and I’m powerless over alcohol,” he told Kamloops This Week in January. “I can never have a drink again and I’m fine with that.”