Predators sign six European prospects

Friday, 06.1.2007 / 12:58 PM CT / News
By Press Release  - Nashville Predators
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Predators sign six European prospects

Patric HornqvistNashville Predators Executive Vice President/General Manager David Poile announced Friday that the club has signed six European prospects, including five players drafted by Nashville:  forwards Patric Hornqvist (PAT-rihk HOHRN-kwist), Antti Pihlstrom (AHN-tee PIHL-struhm) and Oliver Setzinger (AWL-ih-vuhr SEHT-zihn-guhr) and defensemen Janne Niskala (YAH-nee NIHS-kah-lah), Richard Stehlik (RIH-chuhrd SHTEH-lihk) and Alexander Sulzer (al-ehx-AN-duhr SUHLT-suhr). 

Hornqvist, 20 (1/1/87), was named the Swedish Elite League rookie of the year in 2006-07 after leading junior players in the league with 23 goals. The 5-11, 187-pound center also played for Sweden at both the 2007 World Junior Championships and the 2007 World Championships, where he posted six points (2g-6a) in nine games. The Sollentuna, Sweden native was originally Nashville’s seventh choice, 230th overall (seventh round), in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.  He will remain in Sweden for the 2007-08 season.

Hornqvist’s contract is a three-year deal that will pay him $475,000 in the first season, $525,000 in the second year and $550,000 in the third year at the NHL level.  He will be paid $62,500 at the minor-league level throughout the length of the contract. 

Pihlstrom, 22 (10/22/84), was signed as a free agent after netting 39 points (16g-23a) in 56 games for Finland’s HPK Hameenlinna in 2006-07.  The 5-10, 180-pound forward from Vantaa, Finland ranked third on the club in goals and +/- rating (+11) and added eight points (3g-5a) in nine post-season games.

Pihlstrom’s two-year contract will pay him $475,000 at the NHL level and $50,000 at the minor-league level in year one and $500,000 at the NHL level and $60,000 in the minors in year two. 

Setzinger, 23 (7/11/83), who was originally selected by Nashville with its fifth choice, 76th overall (3rd round), in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, was signed as a free agent after completing his second season with Vienna of the Austrian league.  This past season, the 6-0, 189-pound center finished seventh in the Austrian league in scoring with 82 points (28g-54a) in 59 games.

Nashville, which relinquished Setzinger’s NHL rights after not signing the Austrian forward last summer, inked him to a one-year contract that will pay him $525,000 at the NHL level and $62,500 at the minor-league level.
 
Niskala, 25 (9/22/81), led Swedish league defensemen in scoring (and ranked tenth overall) this season with 49 points (19g-30a) in 53 games with Farjestads BK Karlstad.  The Finnish backliner, born in Vasteras, Sweden, finished second on his team in scoring and led the club with a +25 rating.  He was originally Nashville’s fifth choice, 147th overall (fifth round), in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Niskala’s one-year contract will pay him $495,000 at the NHL level and $70,000 at the minor-league level. 

Stehlik, 22 (6/22/84), captured his second straight Czech league championship this past season with HC Sparta Praha.  The 6-4, 242-pound rearguard netted nine points (8g-1a) in 42 games.  The Skalica, Slovakia also represented Slovakia at the World Championships for the second straight season.  He was originally Nashville’s fifth choice, 76th overall (third round), in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. 

Stehlik’s contract is a two-year deal that will pay him $475,000 in the first season and $525,000 in the second year at the NHL level.  He will be paid $68,750 at the minor-league level throughout the length of the contract. 

Sulzer, 23 (5/30/84), completed his fourth season with Dusseldorf (Germany) this past year, registering 15 points (4g-11a) in 44 games.  The 6-1, 207-pound Kaufbeuren, Germany native represented Germany at the 2007 World Championships.  He was originally Nashville’s seventh choice, 92nd overall (third round), in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Sulzer’s contract is a two-year deal that will pay him $475,000 in the first season and $525,000 in the second year at the NHL level.  He will be paid $68,750 at the minor-league level throughout the length of the contract.

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