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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 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61