Predators' search for offense takes them to waiver wire

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 11:34pm

The Nashville Predators continued to seek affordable solutions to the injury problems that have cost them some of their top offensive players when they claimed Marek Svatos off waivers Wednesday.

Svatos, a veteran of 316 NHL contests (all with Colorado), spent the first part of this season with Avangard Omsk in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League before he signed with the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

Because of his age and the point of the season, NHL rules mandated that he be exposed to waivers before he could join the Blues. The Predators took advantage and claimed the 28-year-old who twice has scored more than 25 goals in an NHL season.

His contract, the result of his negotiations with St. Louis, is a two-way deal that pays him an NHL salary of $800,000 and an American Hockey League salary of $105,000. His addition comes two days after rookie Chris Mueller was signed to a $500,000 pact.

Svatos, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound right wing, brings some much-needed offensive potential to a team that has lost five straight, including a 2-0 shutout Sunday at St. Louis.

Nashville’s leading scorer, Steve Sullivan, and third-leading scorer, Martin Erat, both were placed on injured reserve this week. They joined David Legwand, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, and Matthew Lombardi, the top free-agent acquisition of the offseason, both of whom have been out for an extended period.

Also this week, Jordin Tootoo was granted an indefinite leave when he entered the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program.

According to capgeek.com, the combined salary cap value of the 12 forwards in uniform Tuesday against Dallas (a 4-2 defeat) was $15.825 million. The combined cap value of the five who were injured or absent was $17.5 million.

Svatos does not command a big salary but offers the possibility of a big return on the Predators’ investment — provided he can return to his offensive ways.

Originally a seventh-round pick by Colorado in 2001, he became a full-time NHL player in 2005-06 when he scored 32 goals and had 50 points (both are still career-highs) in 61 games. Two seasons later he scored 26 times in 62 appearances.

Last season he had just 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in 54 games for the Avalanche.

He had eight points (three goals, five assists) in 19 games for Avangard Omsk this season.

4 Comments on this post:

By: gdiafante on 12/30/10 at 7:29

Any little bit helps...and we've been decimated by injuries...but at what point do we acknowledge that maybe it's the system.

By: MusicCity615 on 12/30/10 at 8:40

it's definitely not the system. I know injuries are part of the game, but we have had way more injuries than usual this year. This lineup (injury-free) is very good and would be contending for a top 5 spot if healthy.

Good pickup. Come on Preds, hang on until everyone gets back. Maybe we can hit the playoffs we a completely healthy roster this year

By: Alphadog7 on 12/30/10 at 9:21

I agree, the systems isn't the problem, execution is. I have complete confidence in Trotz and Poile. They have a high level of respect from their peers throughout the league. I can't wait to see what these guys can put together when their healthy. Keep Tootoo in your prayers, it took a lot of courage to do what he did.

By: Alphadog7 on 12/30/10 at 9:22

Sorry, I meant "they're" not their...