Shea Weber

Preds, Volchenkov have discussed new deal

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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.

Red Wings’ Devellano calls Mantha ‘very, very, very disappointing’

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Perhaps it was a wake-up call. Perhaps it was just plain, old honesty.

Either way, it’s hard to ignore what longtime Red Wings executive Jim Devellano had to say about winger Anthony Mantha, Detroit’s first-round draft pick from 2013.

“Very, very, very disappointing,” said Devellano, per FOX Sports Detroit. “And I say that with a lot of sadness. Coming out of junior, we had such high hopes for him.”

Mantha, 20, had 15 goals in 62 games for AHL Grand Rapids during the regular season. He has just one assist in five playoff games.

On the bright side, Devellano did have some good things to say about the Wings’ young defensive prospects. Though even saying that, he was forced to lament that “none of them are the answer to Nicklas Lidstrom,” i.e. a future elite defenseman.

“That’s our problem,” he added. “The only place you get those guys is (high) in the draft. And simply because of where we draft we don’t get those guys.”

Granted, that’s not actually true, that top d-men are only available high in the draft. Shea Weber, P.K. Subban and Duncan Keith are all second-rounders. Lidstrom himself was a third-rounder. The Red Wings just haven’t drafted many defensemen with their highest picks in recent years. Xavier Ouellet was taken 48th overall in 2011. Before him, you have to go back to Brendan Smith, 27th overall in 2007.

But it’s true that the Wings don’t appear to have a future elite d-man in the system, and you have to wonder how that will affect 1) their ability to compete for a Stanley Cup in the near future and 2) Mike Babcock’s willingness to remain with the club.

Related: On the difference between ‘good’ and ‘big-time’ players

Poile: Preds hoped Franson trade ‘would work out better’

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GM David Poile met with reporters today in the wake of Nashville’s first-round playoff elimination to Chicago and, in doing so, admitted his big trade deadline move — acquiring Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli from Toronto — simply didn’t work out.

Franson, a pending UFA, was a major disappointment for the Preds (partially because they surrendered a first-round pick and prospect Brendan Leipsic to acquire him). The 27-year-old had six goals and 32 points in 55 games at the time of the trade and was averaging more than 21 TOI per night — upon pulling the trigger, Poile called Franson “a veteran defenseman who could play in all situations,” adding he’d “seamlessly fit into our team.”

But that didn’t happen.

Franson saw his ice time slowly dwindle after making his Nashville debut on Feb. 21, to the point where he was a virtual non-factor by April.

Franson then missed Game 1 of the Chicago series and, while he drew back in for the final five contests and recorded a pair of assists, his ice time still hovered between a mere 14-15 minutes per night — and that was after Shea Weber exited the series in Game 2.

Looking ahead, it seems as though Franson’s second go-round with the Preds is over. The club sounds unlikely to offer him a new contract, which means that — despite this poor spell in Music City — he’ll still be one of the more coveted free agent defenseman hitting the market on July 1.

Weber has ‘medical procedure’ for ‘subluxed kneecap’

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Shea Weber suffered a “subluxed kneecap” during Game 2 of Nashville’s first-round series versus the Blackhawks, the Predators announced today.

Weber underwent an unspecified “medical procedure” and is expected to make a full recovery within 4-6 weeks, the club said.

Today’s update follows last week’s announcement that Weber “did not suffer an ACL injury,” despite reports to the contrary.

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for today

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A quick look at what games will be on what channels in today’s Stanley Cup playoff action…

Capitals at Islanders, 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC

Saturday could mark the final NHL game at Nassau Coliseum. The New York Islanders are on the brink of elimination following a 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 5 on Thursday night. New York’s offense has dried up. After scoring seven goals in the first two games in the series, the Islanders have just four goals in three games. Washington starter Braden Holtby has stopped 98 of 102 Islanders shots after missing Game 2 due to illness. Chris Cuthbert and Joe Micheletti will have the call of Game 6.

Red Wings at Lightning, 6:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Tampa Bay will look took to take a 3-2 series lead after erasing a 2-0 deficit in Game 4 to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in overtime on Thursday tying the series 2-2. Bolts forward Tyler Johnson has four goals and an assist through the first four games of the series picking up the slack for captain Steven Stamkos, who has just two assists in the series. John Forslund and Andy Brickley have the call of Game 5.

Predators at Blackhawks, 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC

The Nashville Predators will look to stave off elimination once again tonight as the series shifts back to Chicago’s United Center for Game 6. The Preds will be without captain Shea Weber for the remainder of the series due to a lower body injury. Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling gets the start tonight as Chicago looks to advance to the second round for a third consecutive season. Doc Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire are on the call.

Canucks at Flames, 9:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Like the Preds, the Vancouver Canucks will need to win on the road tonight to stave off elimination and force a Game 7. The Calgary Flames are looking to advance to the second round for the first time since 2004 when they came one win shy of capturing the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. With their loss in Game 5, the Flames have lost six straight games when they’ve had an opponent on the brink of elimination. Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson and Scott Oake will have the call of Game 6.