Having gotten through the first playoff round without carrying a spare defenseman on the roster, the Nashville Predators have now decided to call up Teemu Laakso from the Milwaukee Admirals ahead of tomorrow night's Game One vs. Vancouver. Goaltender Chet Pickard also got the call, but I'd be stunned to see him get any ice time in this series.
Laakso has played on Milwaukee's top pair alongside Roman Josi of late, earning rave reviews from our friends at Admirals Roundtable. He's the lone defenseman in Milwaukee who has played at all for Nashville, so certainly that had to play a part in the decision to call him up. He's a reliable stay-at-home thumper who should be fine in a limited role if called upon.
The Preds' press release follows after the jump...
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has recalled defenseman Teemu Laakso (TEE-moo LAK-soh) and Chet Pickard (CHEHT PIH-kuhrd) from Milwaukee (AHL).
Laakso, 23 (8/27/87), appeared in one game for the Predators during the regular season, playing in Nashville's 1-0 victory at Dallas on Oct. 23. He saw his first NHL action in 2009-10, when he suited up for seven games, going pointless with two penalty minutes. Now in his third North American professional season, the Tuusula, Finland native posted 30 points (8g-22a) in 74 games, in addition to ranking second in plus/minus rating (+15). The 6-1, 215-pound blueliner also appeared in all six of Milwaukee's games during its Calder Cup Playoffs first round victory over Texas, posting two points (1g-1a) and a +6 rating. Drafted 78th overall (third round) in the 2005 Entry Draft, Laakso is one of four players from that draft (Cody Franson, Cal O'Reilly and Patric Hornqvist) currently on the Predators roster.
Pickard, 21 (11/29/89), spent the majority of the 2010-11 season with the Cincinnati Cyclones, Nashville's ECHL affiliate, posting a 9-14-3 record with a 3.39 goals-against average and a .877 save percentage. He also appeared in seven games for the Admirals, going 1-4-1 with a 2.96 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage. Nashville's second selection (18th overall) in the 2008 Entry Draft won the Del Wilson Trophy as the Western Hockey League's Goaltender of the Year for the second consecutive season with Tri-City in 2008-09, becoming first goalie since Mike Vernon (Calgary, 1982-83) to win the top goaltender award in consecutive seasons, and just the fourth to win it twice.