Nashville Bolsters Depth, AHL Scoring

The Preds continue to retool Milwaukee’s roster.

On the second day of NHL free agency, the Nashville Predators added two forwards to the fold and re-signed Cole Smith.

The team announced the signing of forward Mark Jankowski to a one-year, two-way deal with a $750,000 cap hit. Jankowski will make $400,000 in the AHL. Jankowski was a first-round pick of the Calgary Flames in 2012 who never quite panned out. Taken with the pick Nashville sent to Buffalo for Paul Gaustad, the 6’4” center has bounced from the Flames to the Penguins to the Sabres after a four-year standout career at Providence College.

Last season, Jankowski played in 19 games for the Buffalo Sabres, scoring five points. In 32 games with the Rochester Americans, he notched ten goals and 27 points, including 14 primary points scored at even-strength. At the NHL level—in 212 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time—Jankowski recorded 1.36 expected goals, a 44.62% expected goals-for rate, and a 47.59% Corsi.

With Cody Glass likely playing in Nashville last year and the departure of Matt Luff (plus the imminent departure of Rocco Grimaldi), Jankowski will provide a boost to Milwaukee’s scoring attack next season. Upon expiry, he will be an unrestricted free agent.

Nashville also added forward Kiefer Sherwood on a one-year, one-way deal with a $750,000 cap hit. Undrafted, Sherwood is the brother of Kole Sherwood, who played for the Admirals last season. The 27-year-old has played in the Ducks and Avalanche organizations since leaving the University of Miami (Ohio) in 2018. Last season, Sherwood appeared in 11 games for the Avalanche but also lit up the AHL with 36 goals and 75 points in 57 games for the Colorado Eagles. That mark led his team in scoring and landed him fifth in league-wide scoring. 63 of those points were primary ones and 41 were primary points scored at even strength.

Sherwood—who will be an unrestricted free agent next summer upon expiry of this deal—played a career-high 50 NHL games with Anaheim in 2018-19, scoring 12 points. He’s an interesting add as NHL depth for next season.

The organization also re-signed Cole Smith on a one-year, two-way deal worth $750,000. Smith scored 21 goals and 41 points in 59 games with during his first full season with the Admirals and appeared in eight games for Nashville.

The Predators have qualified but have yet to re-sign restricted free agents John Leonard, Tommy Novak, and Yakov Trenin. There other unsigned unrestricted free agents include Alex Biega, Brayden Burke, David Farrance, Rocco Grimaldi, Ben Harpur, and Kole Sherwood.

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