by Thomas Sarver
On Tuesday night in San Jose, P.K. Subban left the game against the Sharks after logging only 7 minutes. This was one day removed from Subban also leaving the game against Anaheim for a short while before returning. Although not much has been said regarding whether or not the injury is serious, the Predators felt the need to move Subban to the IR and activate Dan Hamhuis. Now, this does not mean that Subban suffered a major injury and until more information is released, Subban being moved to IR simply means that he is unable to play the next three games at least. Unfortunately for the Preds, the three games Subban will be ineligible for due to his IR status are huge games, where the Kings, Lightning, and Blues will travel to Bridgestone Arena. The good news is that these teams are playing in what players in the league voted the hardest arena to play in. The bad news, however, is that there is no doubt that the Preds will miss Subban’s on-ice impact against these high profile teams. That is simply a player that you cannot just replace… What they can do, however, is use this opportunity to see what kind of depth Nashville is working with on the blue line. There are some possible scenarios they can roll out here
Scenario 1: Dan Hamhuis returns to Nashville’s blueline
This former Nashville Predator left Nashville after the 2009-2010 season to join the then powerhouse Vancouver Canucks. Emphasis on the word “then”. After 6 seasons where he played a huge role on the Canucks blue line, he left to go play a couple seasons in Dallas with the Stars. The point being is that Hamhuis has played in the league, specifically the western conference, a long time and for good reason. David Poile most likely brought him back in the event of an injury. On the flip side, Hamhuis is listed as an LD whereas Subban is an RD. That, however, may not matter to the coach, but it is worth noting.
Scenario 2: Frederic Allard gets to show what he can do
After being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft, Allard returned to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens where he put 65 points in 63 games, leading him to earning a spot on the QMJHL All-Star team. Since then he has spent the majority of the past two seasons in Milwaukee, playing for the Preds Minor league team. In that time, Allard has put 9 goals and 26 assists in 72 games. At first glance they may not seem like much, but this season, Allard is off to a hot start, the kind of start that may make him an attractive option to pull up for a few NHL games. Especially since that will give a small sample of whether or not he is ready to spend some real time in Nashville.
Scenario 3: Matt Donavan’s NHL comeback picks up more momentum
Drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders, Donovan spent the majority of his time with the Islanders bouncing up between the AHL and NHL before taking a two-season hiatus in Sweden. Donovan, who recently signed a well-deserved two-year extension, is tearing things up in Milwaukee. In 17 games, Donovan has 7 goals and 7 assists, which is what garnered the attention that led to his extension, and that momentum may be what is carrying him on to getting a shot at playing in his first NHL game, since the 2014-2015 season. Having a huge impact on the power play in the AHL is a reason to keep an eye out for Donovan to get the call-up to the big leagues while Subban is out.