Nashville’s forward depth is about to get its biggest test of the season.
On Thursday, the club placed wingers James Neal — who’s missed the last three games with a lower-body injury — and Eric Nystrom on injured reserve, recalling forward Miikka Salomaki from AHL Milwaukee to fill the void.
Neal, who sits second on the team in goals (13), hasn’t played since a 3-2 win over St. Louis on Dec. 30 — a game in which he scored twice. Nystrom, who has nine points in 39 games this year, played 12:50 in Tuesday’s win over Carolina and assisted on Roman Josi’s game-winner in the third period, so it’s unclear exactly what’s ailing him at the moment.
As for Salomaki, he was taken in the second round (52nd overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, but has yet to make his big league debut. The Finnish forward has 16 points in 26 games for Milwaukee this season, and finished fifth among AHL rookies in scoring last year with 50 points.
As mentioned above, the Neal/Nystrom injuries really thin out Nashville’s forward group. During the morning skate in advance of tonight’s tilt versus Dallas, Craig Smith took Neal’s spot on the top line next to Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro, while Salomaki skated on a wing with Calle Jarnkrok and Olli Jokinen.
Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher and Mark Arcobello also rushed together, as did Gabriel Bourque, Paul Gaustad and Viktor Stalberg.
Derek Roy has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Milwaukee, the Nashville Predators announced today.
The demotion of the 31-year-old forward comes one day after the demotion of another veteran, Viktor Stalberg.
Roy had one goal and nine assists in 26 games for the Preds. He started off well, with an assist in each of his first three games, but saw his ice time reduced dramatically as the season progressed. The return of Mike Fisher, plus the emergence of rookie Calle Jarnkrok, left Roy the odd man out down the middle.
From The Tennessean:
Roy, who had four straight seasons of 20-plus goals from 2006-10 in Buffalo, was placed on waivers for the first time in his career
“It’s a tough feeling and not a good spot to be in,” Roy said. “I’m just going to try and work my way out of it, and hopefully it’s for the better.”
Roy participated in Sunday’s practice at Bridgestone Arena and said he planned to discuss his future with his agent.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Roy said.
Roy is a pending unrestricted free agent with a cap hit of $1 million.
Looks like Viktor Stalberg’s tumultuous tenure in Nashville might be over.
The Preds placed Stalberg on waivers Thursday with the hope of assigning him to AHL Milwaukee, per GM David Poile.
“A couple of injuries early in the season have prevented this from being the season Viktor trained all summer for,” Poile said in a statement. “He has worked hard to return to the lineup. With Paul Gaustad and Taylor Beck day-to-day and still on our 23-man roster, the best option for Viktor and the organization at this time is to place Viktor on waivers with the hope that he will clear, go to Milwaukee to play games and continue his efforts to be ready for NHL game action.”
Stalberg’s season has been derailed by a pair of injuries — an upper-body ailment suffered during training camp, then a knee injury after a nasty hit while playing for the Admirals in early November.
Going on waivers is the latest in Stalberg’s disappointing time as a Predator. After signing a four-year, $12 million deal two summers ago, Stalberg missed the start of last season with a shoulder injury, then landed in Barry Trotz’s doghouse and spent time as a healthy scratch, finishing with just eight goals in 70 games.
It’ll be interesting to see if anybody takes a flier on the 28-year-old Swede. He looked to be a breakout performer for Chicago during the 2011-12 season — scoring a career-high 22 goals and 43 points — but fell out of Joel Quenneville’s favor during the ’13 Stanley Cup run and was allowed to walk in free agency.
Stalberg’s in the second year of his deal and has two more seasons remaining at a $3 million cap hit.