Predators sign Anton Volchenkov to one-year, $1 million deal

Anton Volchenkov will join the Predators after being bought out by the Devils. (USATSI)
Anton Volchenkov will join the Predators after being bought out by the Devils. (USATSI)

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On the same day the Nashville Predators announced a significant blow to their forward crop, they had better news when it came to bolstering their promising defense. The Predators signed recent buyout recipient Anton Volchenkov to a one-year, $1 million deal.

“Anton provides a strong veteran presence that will complement our young, talented defensive corps nicely,” general manager David Poile said in a released statement. “He is a physical, left-handed shooting defenseman who can match up with top-line forwards and effectively kill penalties.”

The 32-year-old Volchenkov is a veteran of 650 NHL games between the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators. The Devils bought out the remaining two years of his six-year contract that would have paid him $4.25 million over the next two seasons. He’ll be owed a total of $5.6 million spread out over the next four years.

The Preds are getting a solid veteran defenseman to add to their defensive corps which includes perennial Norris Trophy finalist Shea Weber, promising youngster Seth Jones and underrated veteran Roman Josi.

Volchenkov is probably best used in last-pairing minutes, though he may see some top-four time. Either way, at a rate of $1 million, the Preds should be getting decent enough value for the money they're paing. He does have some injury history, which will be a bit of a concern, but again, the short-term, low-money deal minimizes the risk.

Volchenkov appeared in just 56 games last season. He posted eight assists while averaging 16:47 of ice time per game. He’ll be going from one traditionally defensively sound system to another, though the Preds should play at a faster offensive pace than previously under new head coach Peter Laviolette.

Primarily known for shot blocking and his physical play, Volchenkov has good size and adds a veteran presence on a D corps that still has a few younger guys earning their stripes like Jones, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm.  The Volchenkov addition should give Laviolette some lineup flexibility.

Now the Preds will have ot focus on what to do about their increasingly thin center position.

CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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