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Breakdown: Nashville Signs AHL MVP Daniel Carr

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The Preds add a good piece to revitalize their depth.

Washington Capitals v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images

On Monday afternoon, the Nashville Predators signed the AHL’s reigning regular-season MVP, forward Daniel Carr, to a one-year contract.

When initially reported, this was anticipated to be a depth move aimed at helping the Milwaukee Admirals. But Carr signed a one-way contract, essentially cementing a roster spot for him in Nashville. The 27-year-old played most of last season with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL and gave the Milwaukee Admirals fits, scoring 10 goals and 14 points in eight games against them—including a four-goal performance on November 7th. Read further for a complete breakdown on Daniel Carr’s game.

By The Numbers

Daniel Carr’s Career Statistics
eliteprospects.com

After a four-year NCAA career with Union College, Carr signed as a free agent with Montreal in April of 2014. He spent the next four seasons in the Canadiens’ organization, playing 94 regular season games in the NHL and recording 14 goals and 34 points.

In that time, he turned into a premier AHL player, scoring 90 points in 139 games including three near-point-per-game seasons from 2015 to 2018. Last summer, Carr signed a one-year deal with the Vegas Golden Knights and became, arguably, the best player in the American Hockey League in 2018-19.

He was awarded the Les Cunningham trophy as the league’s most valuable player, finished third in league scoring with 71 points and eighth in goals with 30, and topped the AHL in points-per-game (among skaters with 30+ appearances) with 1.37. He was an integral part of the Wolves’ trip to the AHL Finals where they lost to the Charlotte Checkers.

Carr’s 2018-19 Underlying Numbers
Colin Cudmore

Carr’s possession numbers last season entirely back-up his counting stats. He finished the season with a 79.4% goals-for rate, outscoring opponents more than four to one per 60 minutes when on the ice (best in the AHL). Carr recorded a 33.4% goals-for rate relative to his teammates, meaning the Wolves were a third less successful at scoring when he was on the bench as opposed to on the ice.

There was a question about whether Carr would return to the NHL full-time in 2019-20, and General Manager David Poile made clear that is the intention in his press conference regarding the signing.

Carr’s On-Ice Impact Map
Micah Blake McCurdy

His skills best assist him around the net, and, as you can see above, he has provided an impressive bump in even-strength offense in his 100 games of NHL experience. Although he isn’t the greatest skater, he has a good track record of drawing penalties, too.

The Scouting Tape

Carr isn’t the type of forward that will often score coming down off the rush; I don’t think his pace is good enough for that in the NHL.

But he’s a tenacious player in nearly all areas of the offensive zone. In the clip above he helps win a puck battle along the boards and then finds his way to the net for an impressive tip-in. Many of his 30 goals last season were scored in similar fashion.

You can see above that Carr’s stride doesn’t afford him a ton of acceleration. But he has an nice wrist shot that he utilizes well on odd-man rushes and when he finds space in the low slot area.

Speaking of space, Carr is effective at finding it below the face-off dots and in the slot. He’s also often playing with a very active stick and has developed good puck protection habits with it in tight situations. He’s often found not too far from the crease creating time or space for a teammate, like in the clip above, or for himself, like in the clip below.

I think Carr grades out as a top-12 forward on this roster and likely a tad better than Rocco Grimaldi, but, if not, fairly even.

The Contract

Carr has signed a one-year, one-way contract with a $700K cap hit at the NHL level.

Upon expiry, he will be an unrestricted free agent.

All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com; all contract information is courtesy of capfriendly.com.