The Nashville Predators continued to seek affordable solutions to the injury problems that have cost them some of their top offensive players when they claimed Marek Svatos off waivers Wednesday.
Svatos, a veteran of 316 NHL contests (all with Colorado), spent the first part of this season with Avangard Omsk in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League before he signed with the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.
Because of his age and the point of the season, NHL rules mandated that he be exposed to waivers before he could join the Blues. The Predators took advantage and claimed the 28-year-old who twice has scored more than 25 goals in an NHL season.
His contract, the result of his negotiations with St. Louis, is a two-way deal that pays him an NHL salary of $800,000 and an American Hockey League salary of $105,000. His addition comes two days after rookie Chris Mueller was signed to a $500,000 pact.
Svatos, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound right wing, brings some much-needed offensive potential to a team that has lost five straight, including a 2-0 shutout Sunday at St. Louis.
Nashville’s leading scorer, Steve Sullivan, and third-leading scorer, Martin Erat, both were placed on injured reserve this week. They joined David Legwand, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, and Matthew Lombardi, the top free-agent acquisition of the offseason, both of whom have been out for an extended period.
Also this week, Jordin Tootoo was granted an indefinite leave when he entered the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program.
According to capgeek.com, the combined salary cap value of the 12 forwards in uniform Tuesday against Dallas (a 4-2 defeat) was $15.825 million. The combined cap value of the five who were injured or absent was $17.5 million.
Svatos does not command a big salary but offers the possibility of a big return on the Predators’ investment — provided he can return to his offensive ways.
Originally a seventh-round pick by Colorado in 2001, he became a full-time NHL player in 2005-06 when he scored 32 goals and had 50 points (both are still career-highs) in 61 games. Two seasons later he scored 26 times in 62 appearances.
Last season he had just 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in 54 games for the Avalanche.
He had eight points (three goals, five assists) in 19 games for Avangard Omsk this season.