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News & Notes: Jarnkrok to Ads, Girard signs ELC and Preds picking 11th

Despite the season being over, the Nashville Predators were involved in quite a bit of news on Tuesday.

Calle Jarnkrok
has been reassigned to Nashville’s top minor league affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. The 22-year old forward was the key piece in the David Legwand deal on March 5 and he paid immediate dividends, both in Milwaukee and Nashville. With the Ads, he notched at least a point in all five games and even scored a goal in all but one. With the Preds, the Gavle, Sweden native kicked off his NHL career with a five-game point streak and finished with seven points in 12 games. The production of another blue chip prospect in the organization got a boost from the Jarnkrok addition as well. Fellow Swede, Filip Forsberg, had been held off the scoresheet for seven straight games until his countryman arrived. He then registered seven points in his next five and showed some great chemistry with Jarnkrok.

The Ads close out their regular season this Saturday before their best-of-5 opening round series begins, presumably against either the Chicago Wolves or the Toronto Marlies. This is Milwaukee’s 12th consecutive trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Nashville’s fourth round pick in 2013, Felix Girard, has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the club. The Baie-Comeau Drakkar captain finished his final junior season sixth in team scoring (58 points) and fourth in assists (32). He’s also a two-time winner of the Guy Carbonneau Trophy as the QMJHL’s top defensive forward. He led the league in faceoff winning percentage each of the last two seasons and he’s a bronze medalist for Team Canada (2012 under-18’s).

Some have likened him to a Patric Hornqvist-type player considering his work ethic, determination, energy and offensive upside. He’s expected to start the 2014-15 season with Milwaukee.

Predators Assistant Coach Phil Housley has been pegged for the same post with Team USA for the upcoming World Championships. Housley is the second leading all-time scorer among American-born players in the history of the NHL but also was the head coach of the US team that won gold in Ufa, Russia at the 2013 World Junior Championships. Seth Jones — one of his alternate captains during that tournament — has confirmed he will take part in the Worlds starting early next month. Craig Smith, who just finished a career year for the Predators, will also suit up for Housley and the Americans. Team USA starts their tournament against the host country, Belarus, on May 9.

The NHL held their annual Draft Lottery event on Tuesday night and the Preds retained the 11th overall pick. This is just the second year that the NHL has operated under the rule that every non-playoff team may win the lottery and, therefore, the first overall pick. Nashville had just a 1.1% chance as they were the third-highest ranked non-playoff club. The Buffalo Sabres, despite having the best odds of retaining the top choice, lost out to the Florida Panthers.

The 2014 NHL Draft order is as follows:
1. Florida
2. Buffalo
3. Edmonton
4. Calgary
5. NY Islanders
6. Vancouver
7. Carolina
8. Toronto
9. Winnipeg
10. Anaheim (from Ottawa in Bobby Ryan deal)
11. Nashville
12. Phoenix
13. Washington
30. New Jersey (penalized for Ilya Kovalchuk cap circumvention)

PHOTO CREDIT: Kristen Jerkins (used with permission)