Beyond The Benches

Predators Top Five Off-Season Acquisitions

The Nashville Predators finished last season in sixth place in the NHL Central division. The Predators ranked 23rd in goals against last season and 25th in penalty kill percentage. Predators General Manager David Poile addressed the defensive issues through free agency, signing four defensemen. Poile and the Predators have had an eventful off-season. Here are the Predators top five best acquisitions this off-season.

5. Mike Ribeiro, center.

Ribeiro is another veteran center who has played 14 years in the NHL most recently playing for the Phoenix Coyotes last season. As a Coyote Ribeiro scored 16 goals and had 31 assists for 47 points. Ribeiro can contribute off the ice too. This Nashville team is full of young players; Ribeiro can be a veteran leader for some of the young forwards to learn from.

4. Derek Roy, Center.

Roy, like Ribeiro, is a veteran center who has played in the NHL for 11 years. He played last season with St. Louis where he scored nine goals and has 28 assists for 37 points. He also finished the year with a -1 rating, though being in the negative is not a usual occurrence for Roy. He has only finished a few seasons of his 11 year career in the negative and has won the Selke trophy for the league’s best defensive forward three times.

3. Anton Volchenkov, defenseman.

Volchenkov is an experienced defenseman who has played 11 seasons, most recently for the Devils last year. In his 11 year career Volchenkov won the Norris trophy for the best defenseman twice, once in 2007 and again in 2009. Last season while in New Jersey Volchenkov had eight assists for eight points in 56 games. He is not going to be a big puck handling defenseman, but he will help sure up the defense. His rating last season was a +3 and he has only finished in the minus three times in his career. Volchenkov can make a mark on this team and help them turn their defensive game around.

2. Olli Jokinen, center.

Jokinen is another veteran forward who has played in the NHL for 18 seasons and has proven to be a big offensive threat throughout his career. The Predators have signed Jokinen to a one-year contract in an effort to help this offense, which finished 18th last season. Last year as a member of the Jets Jokinen scored 18 goals and had 25 assists for 43 points. Jokinen’s leadership will be as big of an asset as his offense for this young Predators team whose average age is just 26-years-old.

1. Peter Laviolette, head coach.

Peter Laviolette was named head coach of the Predators in May. Laviolette has spent the past five years as coach of the Philadelphia Flyers but was fired after just three games into last season. In Philadelphia Laviolette brought the Flyers to three playoff appearances including the Stanly Cup Finals in 2009. Before arriving in Philadelphia Laviolette led the 2005 Carolina Hurricane to a 52-22-8 record and a Stanly Cup victory. Peter Laviolette will help this Nashville team to achieve their potential. Look for them to make a strong playoff push this season.