Petter Granberg

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Preds claim AHL All-Star Hunt off waivers from Blues

With P.K. Subban, Roman Josi and Petter Granberg all out with their respective injuries, the Nashville Predators are a little thin on the blueline.

So on Tuesday, they set about adding some depth.

Brad Hunt, the 28-year-old offensive defenseman, has been claimed off waivers from St. Louis, per TSN. Hunt has spent most of this year with the Blues’ AHL affiliate in Chicago but, in limited time with the big club, has shown pretty well.

The Bemidji State product has five points in nine games for the Blues, while averaging 13:36 TOI per night. He was widely praised for his passing ability, and how quickly he helped the Blues transition from defense to offense.

“[Hunt] just moves the puck,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcok said earlier this year, per the Post-Dispatch. “He gets himself out of trouble, he gets the team out of trouble. He’s a smart player.”

That offensive output is what Hunt’s known for — a consistently productive AHLer, Hunt recently made his fourth career All-Star Game on the strength of 29 points in 23 games for the Wolves.

Predators reward Matt Irwin with one-year extension at $650K

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P.K. Subban‘s injury situation means that the Nashville Predators’ off-season gets a grade of “Incomplete,” but one of the smaller moves has been working out wonderfully.

Defenseman Matt Irwin isn’t blowing anyone’s mind, yet he’s been a very nice piece for their defense, and the team rewarded him with a little future certainty by way of a one-year, $650K extension on Friday.

(Granted, that “certainty” could be questioned since the expansion draft creates a lot of questions for anyone outside of a team’s core … but let’s table that for a moment.)

As of right now, Predators defensemen under contract through at least 2017-18 currently include Irwin, Subban, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Petter Granberg and Anthony Bitetto.

Irwin can provide a decent mixture of solid offense and respectable defense – he’s usually on the right end of possession stats – so this deal could be a subtle bargain … whether it stays in Nashville, or perhaps migrates to Vegas.

Predators’ Subban (upper body) will likely miss two more games

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For the first time since he joined the Predators last summer, P.K. Subban was forced to miss a game.

The 27-year-old was unable to suit up in Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Rangers because of an upper-body injury, and now it sounds like he’ll miss some more time, according to the Tennessean.

Subban didn’t travel with his teammates ahead of their two-game road swing that begins in Philadelphia tonight and concludes in New Jersey tomorrow.

He’s been pretty healthy throughout his NHL career. Subban played all 82 games in both 2013-14 and 2014-15 before missing the final 14 games of last year’s regular season because of a neck injury.

In his absence, the Preds were forced to shuffle the deck on defense. Mattias Ekholm, who usually plays with Subban, was paired with Petter Granberg, Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber played together and the pairing of Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis remained intact.

In his first year with the Predators, Subban has seven goals, 10 assists and a minus-11 rating in 29 games. He averages 25:04 of ice time per game.

Related:

Subban takes over All-Star vote lead in Central Division

Preds sign Pardy to one-year deal

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Veteran d-man Adam Pardy could soon be back in the NHL.

Pardy, who attended Panthers camp on a PTO before signing an AHL contract with the Preds, has agreed to a one-year deal with Nashville, agent Ben Hankinson confirmed via Twitter.

Pardy, 32, acquitted himself quite well with the Admirals, scoring five points in 12 games. But in order to join the Preds, he’ll need to clear waivers first (Nashville exposed him today, in a related move).

Pardy split last season between Winnipeg and Edmonton after the Oilers picked him up off waivers in late February. At 6-foot-4 and 227 pounds, Pardy’s always been a robust physical player that plays with an edge, and an opening popped up on Nashville’s blueline after the club terminated the contract of Matt Carle, who subsequently announced his retirement.

Right now, the Preds have eight d-men in the mix: Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Anthony Bitetto, Matt Irwin, Petter Granberg and Yannick Weber. Ellis is currently on IR, though, and Bitetto was knocked out of last night’s game against Colorado, so there could be a temporary spot available.

‘It’s impossible to not feel comfortable in this city’: P.K. Subban is enjoying his new journey in Nashville

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) P.K. Subban hasn’t even taken the ice yet in his new Predators’ sweater, yet the defenseman keeps hearing the same thing over and over.

No, he’s not being asked about winning the Stanley Cup even though his acquisition has raised expectations higher in Nashville than they’ve ever been.

He’s being showered with southern hospitality.

“Welcome to Nashville,” Subban said with a grin. “I love that everybody here’s so nice. It’s almost like they’re too nice. It’s impossible to not feel comfortable in this city. So I’ve been here for six or seven days, it feels like I’ve been here for six or seven years. The people are just extremely nice, and I can’t wait for my family to get down here and have the same feeling that I have.”

The Predators reported for training camp Thursday with Subban the big attraction as the man Nashville swapped captain Shea Weber to Montreal on June 29 in one of the NHL’s biggest trades in recent years. The NHL Network and TSN both were represented along with media from Montreal, doubling the number of reporters usually on hand.

Nashville lost in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs to San Jose in seven games. General manager David Poile said the Predators know they’ve changed their chemistry with the move.

“We hope it’s for the better, but we don’t know yet,” Poile said. “We have to play.”

Some things to watch with the Predators this preseason:

MORE FROM RYJO: Subban isn’t the only player the Predators acquired in a big trade this year. Forward Ryan Johansen came to Nashville in January in a deal that sent defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus. Johansen scored 34 points in 42 games with Nashville and posted a plus-10 rating. Poile said Johansen, who turned 24 in July, is bigger and stronger after a good offseason. “He certainly should be in a situation where he could be a guy that could put up more points on the board and get more goals, which everyone is looking for,” Poile said.

MISSING FOR WORLD CUP OF HOCKEY: Four Predators are not in Nashville for the start of training camp. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm and forward Filip Forsberg are playing with Sweden, while defenseman Roman Josi is playing with Team Europe. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is with Finland, while assistant coach Phil Housley is with Team USA.

DEFENSEMEN PAIRINGS: The Predators announced Ryan Ellis will not be skating over the opening days with an upper body injury that will be re-evaluated after a double-header with Florida on Tuesday. With Ekholm and Josi at the World Cup, that leaves more skating time for some of Nashville’s new defensemen like veteran Matt Carle, Yannick Weber and Matt Irwin. Anthony Bitetto and Petter Granberg got playing time last season. Poile said the third defense pairing and the spot as the seventh defenseman is wide open.

RINNE’S BACKUP: With Carter Hutton signing with St. Louis, that leaves the Predators looking for a new goalie to back up Rinne. Marek Mazanec has more NHL experience having played 27 games with the Predators between 2013-14 and 2014-15, and he’s older at the age of 25. Juuse Saros, 21, played one game with Nashville last season. The Predators need one of the goalies to show they deserve to stay in Nashville.

YOUNGSTERS: As young as the Predators have been over the past couple seasons, a couple forwards have a chance to push for a roster spot in training camp in Mike Liambas and Kevin Fiala. Now 20, Fiala played five games with the Predators last season, and the 20-year-old left wing impressed during the team’s rookie camp.