Report: Volchenkov, Predators have talked new deal

Will the Russian defenseman be back?

Just hours after publishing a story here that noted pending UFA defenseman Anton Volchenkov is unlikely to be back, Pro Hockey Talk released an article saying that may not be the case. From Mike Halford:

Sounds as though the door may be open for Anton Volchenkov‘s return to Nashville.

Volchenkov’s agent, Jay Grossman, told PHT on Monday he’s had discussions with the Predators about re-signing the pending UFA for a second season in the Music City, but added there’s "nothing further to report."

This could be a beneficial move for a few reasons. Volchenkov was a solid defenseman throughout the season, and seemed to be the best fit with Seth Jones. The two skated nearly 360 5v5 minutes together (they were each other's most frequent partner) and had a 54.3 SAT% in that time. Though Jones and Cody Franson had an SAT% of 58, they were less of a match together, to say the least.

Volchenkov is a sturdy presence that allows Jones to unleash his offensive potential. Jones had his highest goals for percent paired with #20 than with any other defensemen. The Moscow native himself has good underlying numbers, even apart from Jones. That immediately puts him ahead of guys on the depth chart like Victor Bartley, who also aren't counted on to score. At the very least, he'd be a for-sure option while any minor league options vie for a spot during training camp.

If General Manager David Poile can work out another 1-year, $1 million type contract, there should be no reservations on bringing him back. But talks don't mean anything until the pen hits the paper. We'll find out in the next couple of months whether the A-Train is coming back or not.