February 21, 2019

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Predators Get Reinforcements From Rangers and Devils

Predators Get Reinforcements From Rangers and Devils
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NASHVILLE — The Nashville Predators bolstered their rosters through trades with the Devils and Rangers on Wednesday, adding size and toughness in an attempt to fill the void created by the absence of three of their players.

That does not mean General Manager David Poile is necessarily finished trying to improve his team, the defending Presidents’ Trophy winners. Three weeks remain until the N.H.L. trade deadline, and no matter how happy Poile is with his roster after acquiring Brian Boyle from the Devils and Cody McLeod from the Rangers, he thinks things can always be better.

Poile plans to keep making calls, listening and paying attention until the deadline on Feb. 25.

“I think just look for the right deal,” Poile said. “If we can improve our club, we’re going to do that. I’m comfortable with what we have in our depth and filling the holes that I thought we had or got created by the three players that we’ve lost in the last couple weeks.”

The Predators lost defenseman Anthony Bitetto to a waiver claim to Minnesota on Jan. 25; forward Austin Watson was suspended indefinitely on Jan. 29 under the N.H.L.’s substance abuse program; and forward Zac Rinaldo is scheduled for season-ending shoulder surgery.

Nashville center Kyle Turris has missed 17 straight games but could return Thursday against Dallas or this weekend for a back-to-back, home-and-home series against St. Louis. Forward Miikka Salomaki also may be closing to a return from an injury.

In exchange for Boyle, New Jersey got a second-round pick in June’s N.H.L. draft. The Rangers got a seventh-round pick in the 2020 draft for McLeod.

Size was the most immediate need filled by both Boyle, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound forward who can play center and wing, and the 6-foot-2, 245-pound McLeod. That should help Nashville better match up with the Winnipeg Jets, who ousted the Predators in the second round in seven games last postseason.

“This year it will have to be through Winnipeg,” Poile said. “There are no guarantees that’s the case, but yes — I think we wanted to have more size in our lineup.”

Both Boyle and McLeod should be in Nashville and available Thursday night when the Predators host Dallas.

Boyle, 34, has 13 goals and 19 points in his 12th N.H.L. season. He won the 2017 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy after battling chronic myeloid leukemia.

He originally was drafted 26th overall in the 2003 draft by Los Angeles, and he played in the Stanley Cup finals in 2014 with the Rangers and in 2015 with Tampa Bay. Boyle has 28 points in 111 career postseason games.

RANGERS 4, BRUINS 3 (SO) The host Rangers came from behind by scoring two third-period goals, and then Tony DeAngelo scored the decisive goal in the seventh round of a shootout.

Mika Zibanejad scored his 22nd for the Rangers, and Kevin Hayes and Filip Chytil scored the third-period goals to tie the game. Alexandar Georgiev finished with 27 saves as the Rangers won for just the second time in five games (2-2-1).



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