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Nashville Predators sign Steve Begin, apparently for minor league depth

RDS broke the news this morning that the Nashville Predators have signed veteran forward Steve Begin to a one year, two-way contract ($550,000 at the NHL level), to help bolster a depth chart at center which has suffered big losses lately with both Matthew Lombardi and Marcel Goc on the shelf. TSN's Bob McKenzie then noted that he has been put on waivers, presumably so the Preds can assign him to Milwaukee. After some initial confusion, it turns out he didn't need waivers to start playing in the NHL.

Begin has 11 years of NHL experience, mostly with Calgary and Montreal. He's got a reputation as a determined plugger who relishes the physical game, but may be paying the price for it.

Steve Begin

#27 / Left Wing



Jun 14, 1978

Follow after the jump for a scouting report and analysis...

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Starting with the scouting report...

  • Is fearless and can get under an opponent's skin. Possesses open-ice hitting ability and defensive prowess. Is much stronger than his size suggests. Can play both center and wing.
  • Has limited scoring ability. Tends to take bad penalties. Is breaking down physically because of his rambunctious style of play.
Career Potential
  • Agitating role player.

Sounds a bit like the second coming of Scott Nichol, doesn't it (although with greater size & strength)? If you look at his profile page, you do see a lengthy injury history, although he did manage to play 77 games for Boston last season. Looking over at Behind the Net, the thing that jumps out at me is his Relative Corsi rating, worst among regular Boston forwards at -13.6 (meaning when he was on the ice, Boston's Total Shots For/Against shifted 13.6 in the wrong direction per 60 minutes).

He was a contributor to a good penalty killing unit for the Bruins, so perhaps he has a role to play there for the Preds eventually. While some folks have giddily celebrated the power play's decent start, Nashville's penalty killing has been worse than the PP has been good, by a long way. But for now, I'm reminded of a saying an old boss used to lay on me - "efforts appreciated, results preferred." My first impression of Begin is that he's a hard-working, popular player, but I'm not sure that he's more than a band-aid to help get the team through a rough injury stretch here.

For further input, I reached out within SB Nation, and Kevin from Habs Eyes On The Prize had this to say:

Begin was a popular player with the fans during his days in Montreal. Not overly gifted offensively, but he was a hard working forward. A solid hitter and a great shot blocker (usually amongst the team leaders). Injuries may have slowed him a bit, but it was too bad the Habs didn't keep him around as he was always a reliable 3rd/4th line player.  

UPDATE: An excerpt from the team's press release follows...

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed free-agent forward Steve Begin (STEEV bey-ZHIN) to a one-year, two-way contract worth $550,000 on the NHL level and $105,000 on the AHL level. Begin cleared waivers on Thursday and will report to Milwaukee (AHL).

Begin, 32 (6/14/78), has played 486 career NHL games since 1997-98, posting 100 points (52g-48a) and 535 penalty minutes. The Trois-Rivieres, Que., native spent the 2009-10 season with the Boston Bruins, posting 14 points (5g-9a) and 53 penalty minutes while playing a career-high 77 games. Selected 40th overall (second round) by Calgary in the 1996 Entry Draft, Begin spent parts of six seasons with the Flames (1997-2003) before joining his home-province Montreal Canadiens from 2003 until a trade to the Dallas Stars (for defenseman Doug Janik) on Feb. 26, 2009.

The 6-0, 192-pound center was a teammate of Predators forward J-P Dumont for three seasons (1996-98) with the QMJHL's Val d'Or Foreurs, notching 117 points (44g-73a) and 520 penalty minutes in 157 games. The duo, along with Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, helped Val d'Or win the 1998 President's Trophy as QMJHL champions.

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