Since the roster was set after training camp, all of us have speculated about who's going to go where when the injured players come back.
We got part of our answer today. Ahead of team's long road trip, the Nashville Predators have activated Matt Cullen from the IR, sent Viktor Stalberg to Milwaukee on a conditiong stint, and waived Rich Clune.
The writing was on the wall for Clune, who has only played one game for the Preds so far. If he clears waivers, he will be placed in Milwaukee. The Stalberg move gives him time (no longer than two weeks) to get back to game shape from his injuries, as well as work on the fundamentals. Critics of Stalberg are no doubt ecstatic about this.
Cullen could slot on the fourth line for now, then replace Taylor Beck on the third line once he gets up to game speed. This also means Calle Jarnkrok is safe for now.
The press release via the Preds:
The Nashville Predators will activate forward Matt Cullen off of injured reserve, making him available for the team’s upcoming road trip that begins Wednesday night in Edmonton.
Cullen skated on a regular forward line at Monday’s practice, setting him up for his first game action since suffering an upper-body injury Sept. 24 during a preseason game against Tampa Bay.
"We’re anxious to get Matt back in the lineup, as he is a veteran who can contribute in a number of situations," General Manager David Poile said.
To make room for Cullen’s addition to the roster, the club has placed forward Rich Clune on waivers, with the intention of assigning him to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.
"Rich is a character guy in our locker room," Poile said. "We are hopeful that Rich will clear waivers and be available for recall in the future."
The Predators have also assigned forward Viktor Stalberg to Milwaukee on a conditioning assignment. Stalberg suffered a lower-body injury during training camp, missing the entire preseason schedule and first three games of the regular season. He has skated in five games this season.
"Viktor has had some unfortunate injury trouble during his last two training camps," Poile said. "We want Viktor to have some time in Milwaukee to fine tune his game and we look forward to having him back in Nashville.
"Both Rich and Viktor have seen limited playing time this season at the NHL level and we feel that they will benefit from the additional ice time that they will receive in Milwaukee."
These moves leave the Predators with 22 skaters – 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders – in advance of Wednesday’s game at Edmonton, the first of a season-long, six-game, 12-day road trip. Nashville’s primary developmental affiliate, the AHL’s Admirals, receive a further influx of talent to a team that has already started with a franchise-record six consecutive wins to start the 2014-15 season.
"Having to send Viktor and Rich to Milwaukee exemplifies the depth we now possess in the organization," Poile said. "We have a great deal of flexibility at the forward position, which should benefit us moving ahead."