Aug 11, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT
For some of us, it’s still stunning that the Nashville Predators essentially gave up Cody Franson for nothing but the monetary relief that also came with dispatching Matthew Lombardi‘s contract. Even when you consider the fact that Predators GM David Poile had his back against the wall, it remains stunning that he could stomach such a rotten deal.
We’ve spilled more than a bit of digital ink talking about the team’s wide-open races to fill their lower defensive ranks, with Brett Lebda’s buyout and the addition of depth defenseman Jack Hillen being the most recent stories.
While there’s been plenty of discussion about the team’s prospects making an impact on defense next season, one guy whose been counted out in Francis Bouillon. (Or as I like to call him, “The Cube.”) He’s been dismissed because of concussion issues that seemed even more worrisome because of a recent setback. Josh Cooper provides a semi-promising update about Bouillon, even though it seems like a small victory.
Late last month, Cyberpresse quoted Bouillon as having a setback in his recovery. Not much has changed, but Predators General Manager David Poile struck a more upbeat tone recently.
“The good news is he’s feeling better again and he’s starting to work out again,” Poile said.
As with most concussion recoveries, working out doesn’t necessarily denote significant progress, although it provides a brighter outlook than the alternative. Either way, Cooper reiterates the thought that the Predators will probably have to look to one of their younger players to carry some of the burden, pointing to Roman Josi as possibly the strongest candidate for early action.
Though Josi compares favorably to Bouillon in mobility and puck-moving skills, he doesn’t play the same physical style. Last season, Josi notched only 22 penalty minutes.
But his mere presence in Nashville’s system exemplifies its luxury of defensive depth, how the Predators don’t have to just throw warm bodies on the ice because of injuries. They actually have players who can contribute.
“He’s a good kid, a character kid,” Predators Director of Player Development Martin Gelinas said. “He’s ready to take the next step. Nashville isn’t too far away with Roman.”
That could be good news if he gels with the Predators lineup, especially if Bouillon remains far away from full recovery.
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