Saturday, April 18, 2009

Predators Sign Wilson and Poile

The season on the ice may be over but that doesn’t mean that the Nashville Predators have not had a busy week. The Preds have had a couple of interesting signings and at least eight members of the Predators organization are headed to the World Championships next week in Switzerland.

On Friday, the Predators signed Colin Wilson, their first round draft pick from 2008, to a three year entry level contract. Wilson was runner up to teammate Matt Gilroy for the Hobey Baker Award (for best NCAA college player) and led his Boston University team to the national championship last weekend.

Wilson, 19, was recently named first team All-American and was second in the nation in points and assists during the just completed season. It is unclear when Wilson will be ready to play on the NHL level. When asked, Preds GM David Poile indicated that Wilson could be in Nashville as a "top two center in the not too distant future."

Colin Wilson was the only non-NHL player selected to play for Team USA in the World Championships. I suspect that having him added to the team was a really crafty under the radar move by David Poile who is an Assistant GM for Team USA. The Preds should get an idea of how close Wilson is for NHL level play by watching him [lay against the world’s best players in the tournament.

After the firing of Minnesota GM Doug Risebrough on Thursday, many speculated that former Pred owner Craig Leipold would approach the Predators for permission to interview GM David Poile for the open position. After an unsettling 24 hours for Pred fans, the Predators awarded Poile a one-year extension on his current contract. Poile indicated that he “was very happy where he was” and that he has “unfinished work to complete.”

Since the Predators missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003, the opportunity was opened for players and management from the organization to participate in the World Championships, which begins next weekend in Switzerland.

Team USA will be represented by Pred defenseman Ryan Suter in addition to Colin Wilson. Suter’s family has a long history of international competition, as his father, Bob Suter, was a member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic Team. David Poile is also an Assistant GM for the USA.

Team Canada will have Pred’s coach Barry Trotz as an assistant coach. Predator’s Defensemen Shea Weber and Dan Hamhuis will anchor Canada’s blue line.

Finland chose Predator’s rookie goalie sensation Pekka Rinne and defenseman Ville Koistinen, who is not likely to return to the Preds next season. Rookie forward Antti Pihlstrom may also be added to the Finnish team if he is physically able to compete.

Others in the Predator organization would probably be invited to compete but are either injured or still competing for Milwaukee, who is a favorite for the AHL championship.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass and The Columbia Daily Herald

Non-Herald Additions

Last night's playoff action gave us three games to chew but they weren't staggered well. It was a real bummer that there were two OT games going at once and they both ended at almost the same time.

I was somewhat surprised that the Flyers self destructed in OT and got beat on a five on three power play. This seems almost unheard of in an OT playoff game.

I saw less of the Carolina - New Jersey game but was not surprised at the outcome. In spite of the Devils better play in game one, they will need to kick it up a notch once they go South or it will be a short series for them.

Being a Western Conference fan, The Blues and Canucks were the highlight of the evening for me. Vancouver is not scoring a lot but they appear solid and Luongo has really stymied the Blues. Word today is that Paul Kariya may return in game five, that is assuming there is one. Jackson loves Alexandre Burrows. He is one of those players that you would love to have on your team but hate when he is on someone else's. Burrows' hit on J P Dumont was a turning point in J P's and the Pred's season in December. The long offensive struggle went on for what seemed like an eternity after that game.

Minnesota Wild fans and players are confused with the management change there. We will be in the same boat one day when the Preds go "in a different direction" as they like to say.

The Roger Millions story continues on with him having a few days off. Mick Kern at XM204 checks in on the topic. I originally thought this was a live shot. SInce it was tapped, I'm not sure why he is the one paying the price.

In a game update from today, the Rangers really looked strong shutting out the Caps. I can't imagine anyone picked the Caps to be down 2-0 after a pair of home games to open the series. Jackson's "feeling" that the Rangers would win seems to have legs.

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