According to The Tennessean, a major set back for the struggling team happened when Fisher ruptured his Achilles heel and had surgery last week. Joshua Cooper reports the team is scrambling right now in “Predators' Mike Fisher out 4-6 months.”
Setbacks are opportunities for growth pic.twitter.com/dpt9Mwz0mN— Mike Fisher (@mikefisher1212) July 7, 2014
The center will miss at least the first 20 games of the season until late November.
On the positive side, general manager David Polie's shown he's interested in what the young players can offer. Colin Wilson, Calle Jarnkrok, and Colton Sissons will all have the chance to try out for a bigger role on the ice and in the organization. "We will give certain guys a chance to be successful and give Mike a chance to get back."
At 34-years-old, the longevity of Fisher remains a question. Even though he's a top penalty killer and numbers haven't changed, age is creeping up and there's been some rumors and discussion about 2014-2015 being his final season.
And it couldn’t be more awkward, timing-wise.
Polie tried to approach Ryan Kesler and Jason Spezza for a trade, but neither veteran bit. Kesler landed in Anaheim while Spezza ended up in Dallas. And Paul Stasny, the last center that was expected to be a high player in free agency, went to the St. Louis Blues, a rival team. Centers are sparse and filling the gaps can be difficult.
Nashville did sign Olli Jokinen for a one-season, $2.5 million contract. But they’re still missing important elements. Two current players who could fit into the roster are Philadelphia Flyer Vincent LeCavalier and former St. Louis Blues Derek Roy. Of the two, Roy is the least expensive option and 3 years younger than LeCavalier, but neither one are in their prime.
Mike Fisher ruptured his achilles? Out 4 - 6 months, you say? pic.twitter.com/xJ18geOb1y— Mikey D, O&BP (@MikeyD_OandBP) July 7, 2014
And Mike Fisher’s not the only veteran or skilled piece moving around an effort to shore up the team’s skill set.
During the Draft trade deadline, Nashville moved right-winger Patric Hörnqvist and forward Nick Spaling to the Pittsburgh Penguins for James Neal. Hörnqvist's coming off a high-scoring season and may offer more to Pittsburgh than what Nashville coaxed out of the Swede.
Hopefully the trade will be useful for the team since they're losing two farm-grown players.
In this new stage of development, the team is looking to be more competitive and dynamic. To draw in the best players instead of having to push people to join.
During the post-season, the Predators management fired coach Barry Trotz. Trotz was the only coach in the Nashville team's history and the longest-tenured coach after the Buffalo Sabres fired Lindy Ruff during the season. Recently, the Predator’s management hired Peter Laviolette, who's coached for the Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes, while Trotz landed the head coach gig for the Washington Capitals.
So the new players must fit into the next phase of the Predators history and follow Laviolette’s style. Maybe this is the change the team desperately needs.
Of course, Polie has an important message to incoming players. "We're not going to sign a player for the sake of signing. It has to be a fit." Mind, Spezza specifically didn’t include Nashville on his list, so perhaps the phrasing might be a little misguided.
And hopefully, Carrie Underwood's husband will be back in action by the end of the year and can train under the new coach.
Source: The Tennessean