Nashville general manager David Poile met with reporters today after naming Peter Laviolette the Predators’ new head coach. Here are some highlights from the presser:
— Poile wanted four things in a new coach:
1. A good person.
2. Someone that brought a “little bit different style of play” compared to longtime predecessor Barry Trotz (translation: more up-tempo, offensive-oriented).
3. Someone with a track record of winning in the regular season and playoffs.
4. Someone that had won a Stanley Cup, which Laviolette did in Carolina (2006).
— The hiring process was sped up after other coaching vacancies sprung up around the league. (Florida, Washington, Vancouver, and Carolina all need new head coaches still.)
— Poile liked that Laviolette’s teams have generally been high-scoring, and he credited the coach for the development of young forwards like Eric Staal, Justin Williams, Matt Cullen, Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Matt Read, and Wayne Simmonds.
— With the Preds’ already-strong goaltending and blue line, plus Laviolette’s more offensive system (that’s also a more “fun way to play”), Poile thinks Nashville can be a “lot better” next season.
— Poile admitted the Preds still need a “big-time forward,” so expect them to take a center or winger with the 11th pick in the upcoming draft.
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.
The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)
It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.
Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.
Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.