The Nashville Predators bolstered their already-impressive defense on Wednesday with the Matt Carle signing. While Carle is no longer the top-four defenseman he once was, he remains a decent bottom-pairing option. His time in Tampa Bay came to an end after he was passed by younger and cheaper players. Carle said he’s excited by the chance to play under coach Peter Laviolette, with whom Carle enjoyed his best seasons in Philadelphia. He’ll play with younger pros like Petter Granberg on the third pairing of what very well could be the best defense in hockey:
The top pairing consists of a Norris Trophy-winner and Josi, who has been as good or better than former partner Shea Weber for the last couple seasons. Dynamic offensive defenseman Ellis and the two-way Ekholm form a dependable and competent second pairing, and now the veteran Carle will anchor a third pairing.
In other news from around pro hockey:
- The Calgary Flames introduced new starting goalie Brian Elliott today. Elliott said he’s looking forward to getting settled and playing in front of a young and skilled Flames team on the rise. He went 23-8-2 in 41 appearances with St. Louis last season, posting a 0.930 save percentage and a 2.07 GAA. Elliott will wear number one in Calgary.
- The Edmonton Oilers have loaned prospect Bogdan Yakimov to HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk of the KHL. The monster center (6’5, 203 lbs) appeared in one NHL game (October 2014 versus Los Angeles) in two pro seasons in North America. He posted 43 points in 93 AHL games in that time, which included an 11-game stint in with Nizhnekamsk last season before returning to the AHL. Yakimov has one year remaining on his entry-level contract. It’s not yet known what the Oilers will do with Yakimov; in the past they retained the rights to KHL-bound Roman Horak and Philip Larsen, but terminated Toni Rajala’s contract for wanting to play in Europe.