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Predators moving on without Erat

by John Manasso /

NASHVILLE -- One of the immediate problems the Nashville Predators found themselves with after trading longtime right wing Martin Erat to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday was they did not receive a roster player in return.

The Predators, who entered Thursday two points out of eighth place in the Western Conference, went into their morning skate for their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets with 11 healthy forwards.

As insurance, they recalled center Chris Mueller from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. Mueller had been sent down a day earlier. (They also recalled defenseman Ryan Ellis.)

Nashville now has 14 forwards on its active roster, but two of them are hurt -- center Mike Fisher and left wing Gabriel Bourque. Nashville coach Barry Trotz said he thought Fisher had a good chance to play Thursday, but Fisher said it would be a game-time decision.

Fisher was hit on the hand with a puck while blocking a shot against the Phoenix Coyotes on March 28.

"It's not fantastic by any means," Fisher said.

While Trotz was philosophical about Erat's request for a trade, and captain Shea Weber said he felt nothing personal about Erat's decision, Fisher had some of the strongest words for his former linemate for much of the past three seasons.

"We want guys here that want to play and want to be part of this team, that want to win, and that wasn't the case with Marty," Fisher said.

Trotz, asked what his lines would look like, said he likely would scramble them for the game.

Rookie Victor Bartley, who has become a second-pair defenseman, did not participate in the morning skate. Trotz said it was a maintenance day for Bartley, but the Predators did recall Ellis just in case.

Here are the projected lineups for the Predators and Blue Jackets:


Sergei Kostitsyn - Paul Gaustad - Bobby Butler

Taylor Beck - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist

Matt Halischuk - Nick Spaling - Brandon Yip

Rich Clune - Chris Mueller - Craig Smith

Shea Weber - Roman Josi

Kevin Klein - Victor Bartley

Hal Gill - Jonathon Blum

Pekka Rinne

Chris Mason

Scratched: Ryan Ellis

Injured: Mike Fisher (hand), Gabriel Bourque (upper body), Colin Wilson (upper body)


Vinny Prospal - Artem Anisimov - Marian Gaborik

R.J. Umberger - Ryan Johansen - Nick Foligno

Colton Gillies - Brandon Dubinsky - Derek MacKenzie

Matt Calvert - Mark Letestu - Cam Atkinson

Fedor Tyutin - Jack Johnson

James Wisniewski - Adrian Aucoin

Nikita Nikitin - Dalton Prout

Sergei Bobrovsky

Michael Leighton

Scratched: Blake Comeau

Injured: Jared Boll (upper body), Tim Erixon (upper body)

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