Preds claim Marek Svatos

Sometimes, teams are willing to take a gamble on a player and that’s what the Preds are doing by claiming 28-year old winger Marek Svatos. Svatos’ contract with the Colorado Avalanche was up after last season and he was playing in the KHL this year after no teams signed him in the off-season. The Blues recently signed him to a two-way 800k contact but since he was playing in the KHL, he had to pass through waivers first and the Preds claimed him. After his breakout season in 2005-06, Svatos production decreased dramatically since then. Him tearing his ACL in 2008 contributed to that. He only put up 11 points in 54 games for the Avs and was scratched for the last two games of their series against the Sharks. It’s clear that no one wanted to sign him to a contract similar to what the Avs were paying him then. So why in the world would the Preds want to sign him now?

I mentioned Nashville as one of the hottest teams in the league a couple weeks ago, since then they’ve been on a 5 game losing streak and have scored a total of five goals in those games. Scoring’s always been one of Nashville’s problems and this year is no different. They are 4th to last in the NHL in goals per game and Steve Sullivan leads the team in points. Why that’s a bad thing is because he only has 20 on the year (10 goals 10 assists). Their scoring woes can be attributed to Patric Hornqvist not having the season like he did last year, Shea Weber not putting him his usual offensive numbers and injuries to guys like Matthew Lombardi, who was supposed to be their second line center. Bringing a guy in like Svatos is a low-risk move and if he works out and finds that offensive edge, then it’s a steal. If he continues to struggle, then he can be sent down to the AHL since his contract is a two-way deal.

Whether or not Svatos can find that edge he had years ago remains to be seen. The Bruins made a similar move last year by signing Miroslav Satan in the middle of the season to a 700k contract. Aging player, low-risk signing and he ended up helping the team a little bit during the regular season (14 points in 38 games) but he really helped in the playoffs (10 points in 13 games). The Preds need all of the help they can get right now and making a low-risk low-reward signing like this can definitely help them in a conference that’s as wide open as the West is. It’s good that they enlisted for some help up front before they fell way behind in the standings. If Svatos can’t contribute offensively then he might find a home on Nashville’s checking line to replace Jordin Tootoo who recently checked into rehab.

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