The Predators signed Jonas Andersson with the exprectations that he will help the NHL squad next season. Where Linus Klasen was signed with the understanding that he may need to open the season in the AHL before he makes the jump to the NHL, with Andersson the expectation is for him to win a spot out of training camp.
A former second round pick by Nashville back in the ’99 Draft, the 29-year old has developed into a well-rounded two-way forward. At 6’3 and over 200 pounds Andresson has a big body to create space along the boards or in front of the net. His offense was evident at this year’s World Championships where his six goals ranked second in the tournament, tied with Pavel Datsyuk and just one behind John Tavares. But Andersson is also a solid defensive forward with a reputation as one of the top shot blockers in Europe. The Preds envision him as a solid role-playing forward with some similar traits as Jerred Smithson and Joel Ward.
“He’s big, can really skate, and his scoring has really improved,” Predators GM David Poile said. “I think he’s definitely going to be one of our penalty killers. He blocks shots – that’s an area we need some improvement in. This can be one of those signings that maybe goes under the radar, but I think Jonas Andersson can be a big help to the Predators next year.”
Andersson has an advantage over other players making the jump from Europe … he’s already experienced North American hockey. After being drafted by the Preds he spent five seasons in North America, including a five-game stint in the NHL during the 01-02 season. However injuries prevented Andersson from fully showcasing his abilities.
“He knows us, we know him; he’s been to Nashville before," Poile said. "I think the adjustment will come a lot easier this time. He just needs to be luckier when it comes to health this time around. Unfortunately for us and him, it didn’t work out at the time. He had lots of injuries and just didn’t seem to be able to get any traction to move his career in the right direction, so he went back to Europe.”
“We were very interested before the World Championships, but there’s no doubting that his performance there solidified our thoughts that we needed to go forward and get him signed. He played in different situations during the tournament and he scored. We saw pretty much everything that we hoped to see out of him.”