Preds GM Poile undecided about Stalberg after waiving him

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It seems very likely that forward Viktor Stalberg has played in his last game with the Nashville Predators given that he was waived on Wednesday.

Nothing is set in stone yet though.

“We’re talking to a couple teams about possibly making a trade,” Poile told the Tennessean. “Thought that if that was going to happen, it might have happened (Saturday) … there’s also the possibility that we could buy him out.”

Stalberg has two seasons remaining on his four-year, $12 million contract and given that he’s already cleared waivers, Nashville would presumably need to sweeten the pot in order to move him. A buyout would cost them roughly $4.7 million against the cap over the next four seasons, so the Predators should be motivated sellers.

One potential trading partner could be the Toronto Maple Leafs, per TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie.

When Nashville signed Stalberg, it was with the hopes that he could bolster their offense while playing a bigger role than he had been in Chicago. Instead, Stalberg averaged just 12:35 minutes per game in 2013-14 and spent part of the 2014-15 campaign in the minors.

Preds waive Clune, Stalberg


The Nashville Predators have placed forwards Rich Clune and Viktor Stalberg on waivers, per TSN.

Both have been subjected to standard waivers, not unconditional — the latter, of course, is the route many NHL clubs take in order to buy a player out of his contract.

As such, it appears Clune and Stalberg are simply there for the taking, should another team be interested. The former, a veteran of 120 career NHL contests, appeared in just one for the Preds last season, spending almost all of the year in AHL Milwaukee.

The latter, signed to a fairly lucrative four-year, $12 million deal in the summer of 2013, also spent time in Milwaukee last season, though part of that was rehabbing from injury. When up with the Preds, Stalberg had decent production — 10 points in 25 games — and was a pretty useful contributor in the club’s opening-round playoff loss to Chicago, finishing with three points in six contests.

That said, Stalberg has been subjected to waivers a few times now, suggesting Preds GM David Poile might not be all that enamored with what the Swedish speedster’s provided since coming aboard.

Bieksa admits chirping Gaustad was wrong, but felt Preds were embellishing


Kevin Bieksa isn’t afraid of making accusations of embellishment. A couple of years ago, he called out the San Jose Sharks for a “lack of integrity.” Back in 2011, he called out his own Vancouver Canucks teammates for “crossing that line of integrity.”

The other night in Nashville, he had questions about the Predators.

Though Bieksa now admits it was wrong for him to taunt a prone Paul Gaustad after the Nashville forward was interfered with by Alex Burrows late in Tuesday’s game, the veteran defenseman apparently felt the Preds were, for lack of a better phrase, making the most of their injuries:

Not to excuse his actions in any way, but it’s not altogether surprising Bieksa was feeling frustrated. In the opening minutes of the game, he was given a minor penalty for hitting Viktor Stalberg in the head. As the Associated Press reported, the hit left “Stalberg on the ice for a couple of minutes before he skated to the bench.” The Preds then scored on the power play.

So you can imagine what Bieksa was thinking during the second period when Stalberg, not seriously injured after all, scored to give the Preds the lead.

Then, when Gaustad went down…

As it turned out, Gaustad was indeed hurt. In fact, he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Neither Burrows nor Bieksa received supplementary discipline for their actions Tuesday.

Canucks’ Bieksa penalized for illegal check to the head


Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa was penalized for a hit to the head of Viktor Stalberg early in the first period of Tuesday’s game against the Nashville Predators.

The hit occurred less than three minutes into the game, and Bieksa was given only a minor penalty.

As Stalberg was trying to work past Bo Horvat behind the Vancouver net, Bieksa caught Stalberg with a shoulder to the head of the Nashville forward, sending him to the ice.

Stalberg was shaken up on the play, but returned to the game shortly after.

(H/T to @ThomasDrance and Canucks Army.)


Preds put Neal, Nystrom on IR


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.