Sounds as though the door may be open for Anton Volchenkov’s return to Nashville.
Volchenkov’s agent, Jay Grossman, told PHT on Monday he’s had discussions with the Predators about re-signing the pending UFA for a second season in the Music City, but added there’s “nothing further to report.”
Volchenkov, 33, signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Preds last summer after the Devils amnestied the remainder of a six-year, $25.5M pact signed in 2010. The veteran Russian was brought to Nashville as a depth defenseman and filled that role throughout the regular season, appearing in 46 games while registering seven points and averaging 13:11 TOI per.
Volchenkov then appeared in just one postseason game — a series-opening loss to Chicago, in which he played 13:51 in a double-OT affair.
It’ll be interesting to see if Preds GM David Poile opts to return Volchenkov in a similar capacity next season. The team has six defensemen under contract for next season — Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Seth Jones and Victor Bartley — and trade deadline pickup Cody Frason won’t be brought back.
Of course, the Preds could opt to promote one of their young d-men from AHL Milwaukee to fill the seventh blueline spot, rather than re-sign Volchenkov.
It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.
That’s what the U.S. showed Thursday in its quarterfinal against Switzerland at the World Hockey Championships — after spotting the Swiss a 1-0 lead, the Americans rallied to score three unanswered for a 3-1 win, advancing to the semifinals for the second time in three years.
Charlie Coyle scored the game-winning tally midway through the second period, just a minute after San Jose forward Ben Smith had scored to even the game at 1-1. Smith’s goal canceled out Roman Josi’s highlight-reel marker that put Switzerland on the board in the first period, and Jake Gardiner scored the insurance tally with less than 10 minutes remaining.
For the U.S., Connor Hellebuyck continued his strong play this tournament, stopping 21 of 22 shots for a.954 save percentage. Colorado netminder Reto Berra made 21 saves for Switzerland.
As mentioned above, the win moves the U.S. into the semis, where it’ll face the winner of the Russia-Sweden game (to be played later today).
Dream start for the Swiss in today’s World Hockey Championship quarterfinal — not so much for Team USA.
Nashville defenseman Roman Josi opened the scoring 13 minutes into the first period on Thursday, firing home this unassisted marker after dancing through the U.S. defense:
Despite that start, the Americans battled back midway through the second period with two goals in less than a minute — from Ben Smith and Charlie Coyle — to take a 2-1 lead.