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Roster Shakeout: 3 Bubble Players To Watch

Saturday, 10.1.2011 / 4:17 PM CT / Training Camp Central
By Bryan Mullen
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Roster Shakeout: 3 Bubble Players To Watch
The time is now.

Coming off a stirring shootout win at Winnipeg on Friday, the Nashville Predators end the preseason tonight when they host Carolina at 7 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena. This will be the final opportunity for players on the bubble to make one last push and earn a spot on the roster. For those who don’t make it, there is some solace. Predators Coach Barry Trotz said those who are currently playing will almost certainly be utilized at some point in Nashville this season.

Still, making the roster out of camp is a confidence builder and the goal for the bubble guys.

Here are three to keep an eye on …

Mattias Ekholm, D: Ekholm has been playing more mature than his age (21). He’s been steady on defense, despite one rough sequence against Washington on Wednesday when he lost his footing and allowed the Capitals’ Mathieu Perreault to score. On Friday, he had an assist on David Legwand’s power play goal while manning the point. There is not much flash to his game, and that’s fine with Nashville’s management. Being steady, solid and reliable are keys for defensemen to make the Predators’ roster.

Chris Mueller, F: Started the preseason with a three-game and has played everything from the top line to the fourth line during the exhibition campaign. He was a perfect 10 for 10 on faceoffs Friday night in Winnipeg. This time last year, he didn’t even have an NHL contract. Nashville signed him on Dec. 28 and he made his NHL debut one night later. Mueller has already played in a team-high five games this preseason, so he may sit out tonight, but he's built up a strong body of work already.

Craig Smith, F: He erupted three weeks ago when he had six goals and one assist in two rookie games at Florida. Smith just turned 22, but you’d never know from his poise and confidence playing against some of the best players in the NHL. He isn’t afraid to take a shot, evidenced by his game-high five shots against Washington (a game he had two assists in). It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he makes the roster, but it would go against Nashville’s style of having a prospect spend time in Milwaukee, no matter the talent level.

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 55 35 16 4 153 127 74
2 DAL 52 33 14 5 169 137 71
3 STL 54 29 17 8 128 128 66
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 50 27 19 4 145 132 58
6 COL 54 27 23 4 146 148 58
7 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
8 NSH 52 24 20 8 130 137 56
9 MIN 51 23 19 9 126 122 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 51 20 19 12 119 138 52
12 CGY 50 22 25 3 130 147 47
13 WPG 51 22 26 3 132 148 47
14 EDM 53 21 27 5 131 156 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 52 10 27 -4 37
S. Weber 52 13 20 -6 33
J. Neal 52 18 13 16 31
M. Ribeiro 52 6 25 1 31
F. Forsberg 52 14 16 -9 30
M. Ekholm 52 6 16 1 22
R. Ellis 51 6 15 0 21
C. Smith 52 11 6 -1 17
C. Wilson 36 4 12 0 16
C. Jarnkrok 51 8 7 -3 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 19 17 7 .903 2.51
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36