Cyclones’ season over, Chet Pickard assigned to Preds…

Chet Pickard (Sarah Fuqua)

With the Cincinnati Cyclones’ ECHL season over, the Nashville Predators have elected to call up goaltender prospect Chet Pickard.

Don’t read too much into this move, however. If they wanted to get Pickard playing time, they would have assigned him to the AHL Milwaukee Admirals. Instead, they called him up to the big club so that the 2008 first round pick can work closer with goaltending coach Mitch Korn and, maybe more importantly, give work horse Pekka Rinne some practices off.

Case in point.

Rinne, a Vezina Trophy finalist last season and a probable finalist this season, has started a ridiculous 71 games this year, tied for the league lead with Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller. Additionally, Rinne may be called upon to finish out the regular season seeing as how winning out would virtually guarantee home advantage for the Preds.

Pickard was 14-12-0-2 (wins-losses-OT losses-shootout losses) with the Cyclones this season. You can hear our interview with the Moncton, New Brunswick native on the December 30, 2011 episode of The 303:30.

The official press release is below.

***

Nashville, Tenn. (April 3, 2012) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that goaltender Chet Pickard (CHEHT PIH-kuhrd) has been assigned to the team. The Winnipeg native completed his third professional season with the Predators’ ECHL affiliate Cincinnati Cyclones on Sunday.

Pickard, 22 (11/29/89), posted a 14-12-2 record with a 3.12 goals-against average, a .890 save percentage and a shutout with the Cyclones in 2011-12. This is the second time Nashville’s second choice, 18th overall (first round), in 2008 Entry Draft has been on the club’s active roster – he was recalled on April 27, 2011 and stayed with the team through its Western Conference Semifinals series vs. Vancouver.

With three games remaining in the regular season, the Predators have already locked down their seventh playoff berth in the last eight seasons, making them just one of five teams to do so – Detroit, New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Jose are the others. The Preds finish out their home season with games tonight against Minnesota and Thursday against Dallas (both at 7 p.m., FS-TN, 102.5 The Game) before concluding the 2011-12 regular season campaign at Colorado on Saturday (8 p.m., FS-TN, 102.5 The Game). Visitnashvillepredators.com or call 615-770-7800 to purchase tickets for remaining Nashville Predators regular season games or to secure your seats for the first round of the playoffs.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua // Flickr (used with permission)

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