Paul Fenton does not believe there is a “prototypical Predators defenseman.”
“When you look at the differences between a [Shea] Weber and [Ryan] Suter or a [Jonathon] Blum and a [Kevin] Klein … we have a lot of different types of guys,” the Nashville Predators assistant general manager said.
When it comes to adding at that position, therefore, it could be anything that piques their interest.
Tuesday, for example, Nashville signed 23-year-old free agent defenseman Victor Bartley, who played this past season in Sweden’s second division, to a two-year, two-way contract based largely on how he holds his stick.
“When I looked at Milwaukee this past season, I had basically two guys who were left-handed defensemen,” Fenton said. “It was looking like it was going to be that way again next year.”
The deal will pay Bartley $525,000 if he is in the NHL and $67,500 if he is with Milwaukee in the AHL, where he figures to spend most — if not all — of his time during the life of the contract.
It also puts Bartley in line at one of the deepest positions on the organizational roster. The Predators have drafted six defensemen in the first three rounds over the last four years, and all six are under contract.
“He’s looking for an opportunity to come to a place that develops good players, in particular good defensemen,” Fenton said. “We certainly have done a good job in that area.”
A British Columbia native, Bartley was undrafted following a six-year career with Kamloops and Regina of the Western Hockey League. He spent most of 2009-10 in the East Coast Hockey League before he signed to play with Rogle in Sweden this past season.
Bartley had 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) in 52 games for Rogle, which made him the league’s second-highest scoring defenseman.
“We went back and looked and we all had good reports on him when he played at Kamloops,” Fenton said. “He played very well in Europe and I asked two of our scouts over there about him, and they both really endorsed him.”
Plus, he held his stick properly.