Predators pare roster; Sturm on waivers

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:37 PM ET

The Nashville Predators are in the thick of the playoff race in the Western Conference but they have lost three consecutive games and their roster is getting thinner.

A cynic might suggest the Preds are giving up on the season based on their moves Friday. An optimist might say they are clearing space for a roster move by the trade deadline Monday.

On a busy day, the Predators dealt stay-at-home defenceman Alexander Sulzer to the Florida Panthers for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft; put veteran forward Steve Sullivan (groin) on injured reserve; and placed forward Wade Belak on waivers.

Coach Barry Trotz wasn't throwing in the towel, yet, despite his depleted roster, telling his players Friday they need to come up with "playoff-type effort" as they hit the road for the next four games.

WAIVER GOODBYE?

A number of players were placed on waivers Friday including Marco Sturm, who has been playing on the Los Angeles Kings' top line.

Teams have until Saturday to submit claims on Sturm. If none do, he is scheduled to be in the Kings lineup Saturday afternoon on a line with Anze Kopitar and Wayne Simmonds against the Colorado Avalanche.

If Sturm clears waivers, the Kings would have the flexibility to send him to the minors and create space for a potential acquisition at the trade deadline.

"There is not a lot to say,'' Sturm said Friday. "Hopefully I'm going to be a King again tomorrow at the game."

Among others put on waivers Friday were Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Nick Boynton and New York Rangers forward Kris Newbury.

STAAL TACTIC

Oh, brother, the New York Rangers were without Marc Staal for their game Friday night against Washington.

Staal has a sore left knee, the result of a big open-ice hit Tuesday from his brother, Carolina Hurricanes centre Eric Staal.

The Rangers defenceman had his streak of consecutive-games end at 247.

"I think it's best in the long run to make sure the knee is good," Staal said.

GOALIE GO-ROUND

The Tampa Bay Lightning continued its goaltending shuffle, recalling Mike Smith from their AHL affiliate in Norfolk.

The Bolts traded goalie Dan Ellis to Anaheim on Thursday for another goalie, Curtis McElhinney.

Smith, who is to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, likely will back up veteran goalie Dwayne Roloson, who was acquired in January.

Smith has a 10-5-0 record with a 3.20 goals-against average and an .883 save percentage for Tampa this season.

In other goalie news, the Edmonton Oilers recalled Martin Gerber from Oklahoma City of the AHL.

Gerber was 19-12-3 with a 2.49 GAA and a .917 save percentage in the minors.

DUCKS LIKE MURRAY

The Anaheim Ducks signed general manager Bob Murray to a four-year contract extension.

Murray has been with the Ducks since 2005 and has served as the GM the past three seasons.

"Bob has positioned us well for the future," Ducks chief executive officer Michael Schulman said. "He has added youth to our current lineup, with several exciting prospects still on the horizon. He deserves the stability this contract extension brings."


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