The early roster shuffling on this Sunday morning continues with the Nashville Predators, who announced they’ve re-assigned defensemen Kevin Gravel and Roland McKeown to the Milwaukee Admirals, their AHL affiliate. Both players had been recalled on an emergency basis on December 12th. No corresponding move was announced, but with Jeremy Lauzon’s return last night, Nashville did have flexibility to send a defenseman down.
Gravel, 30, certainly didn’t go unused during his stint with Nashville. The defenseman made his Predators debut, getting into four games this week, averaging 14:38 while dishing out seven hits and blocking six shots. These games represented Gravel’s first NHL action since he appeared in three with the Toronto Maple Leafs back in 2019-20. A fifth-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2010, the St. Cloud State alum has spent the bulk of his NHL career to date with the Kings (70 games) and the Edmonton Oilers (36 games).
A fellow Kings draft pick, McKeown, 26, also made his Predators debut this week, getting into three games, averaging 14:33 over that time. A longtime AHL veteran, this was McKeown’s first appearance in the NHL since his only other stint: 10 games with the Carolina Hurricanes back in 2017-18. In the time since, the defenseman has appeared with the Charlotte Checkers, Colorado Eagles, and the Admirals in the AHL, as well as 24 games with Skelleftea AIK in the SHL during the 2019-20 season. Through 22 games for Milwaukee this season, McKeown has eight points along with a very healthy +12 rating.
That’s all the Preds did? John Hynes wasn’t fired? David Poile didn’t step down and acknowledge he failed as a GM? No trade was made for someone who can score goals???
When your aim is mediocrity, you end up like the Preds.
The other day there was a headline here saying the Oilers were looking for defense. It was funny because the Oilers have been looking for defense for years. The Preds have lacked a strong offense for about as long as the Oilers have struggled on defense. That’s really frustrating. But what makes it worse is it doesn’t even feel like they’re trying. It’s like they don’t realize it’s a need. At least the Oilers acknowledge they have a need. It seems like the Preds feel ok with their roster.
I often get the feeling that Poile dislikes the teams fanbase. Almost a “shut up you rubes, don’t you know how much smarter I am than you are?”.
My only hope is that the new majority owner has less patience with this lack of performance than the previous group did. The Hawks are now the only team behind the Preds in GPG average. That should get someone’s attention.