Predators give second-year, second-round pick another try

Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 2:57pm

Jonas Andersson is ready to give it another try.

A second-round draft pick by the Nashville Predators in 1999, the Swedish forward signed a one-year NHL contract on Thursday, which opened the door for his return to North America.

The transaction was one of two executed by Nashville on the first day of the free agency signing period. Both involved players from within the organization.

Defenseman Teemu Laakso signed a new one-year deal later in the day.

Andersson, now 29, turned professional less than a year after being drafted and was the youngest player in the American Hockey League in 2000-01. He had six goals and seven assists in 52 games for Milwaukee that season, and then had a brief NHL stint (five games) with Nashville in 2001-02.

"He had injury after injury and never really got any traction with his career," general manager David Poile said. "Maybe it was a case of too much too soon, but hopefully it's not too late."

He was the 33rd overall pick and the second of 15 Nashville selections in 1999, the second year the franchise participated in the draft. Six players from that group, including Andersson, appeared in at least two games for Nashville. Those included current forward Martin Erat as well as Adam Hall and Andrew Hutchinson.

Outside of his short time with the Predators, he had 13 goals and 17 assists in 71 appearances for the Admirals in 2001-02. He sustained a season-ending shoulder injury midway through 2002-03 and sat out all of the following season.

Since, he has played in Europe, most recently in Russia’s Continental Hockey League (KHL).

"He's somebody we've been keeping our eyes on for a couple of years as he's played in Europe," Poile said. "... We felt he was ready to play in the NHL."

Andersson had six goals as Sweden won the bronze medal at the 2010 World Championships.

His contract is for $675,000 for the coming season.

Laakso, a defenseman, made the Nashville roster out of training camp last season and made his NHL debut in the season-opener Oct. 3 at Dallas.

He had no points in seven games and was reassigned to Milwaukee on Oct. 20. Cody Franson was recalled four days earlier and quickly became a fixture in the Predators’ lineup. Laakso played the rest of the the Admirals.

Laakso and Franson were drafed with consecutive picks (78th and 79th overall, respectively) in the third round of the 2005 draft.

Laakso agreed to a two-way deal with an NHL salary of $600,000 and an AHL salary of $105,000.