By Jared Clinton (@JPDClinton)
After back-to-back championship seasons with Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League, free-agent defenseman Johan Alm has signed a two-year deal with the Nashville Predators.
Alm, 22, had “bids from a dozen clubs” according to a report from Norran.se, but chose to sign the rookie contract with the Predators, accomplishing what he calls his, “boyhood dream.” Over the last two seasons, the defensive-minded defenseman has suited up in 85 regular season contests for AIK, and put up four goals and 11 assists.
Coming to North America for the first time in his career, Alm told Norran.se that he felt Nashville was the right fit for him, but understands the possibility that he’ll be playing in Milwaukee on opening night next season.
While Alm could certainly come over and help the Predators D corps right away — if not as an every-night player, than as an injury replacement — it’s safe to say that the organization will give him a chance to adjust to the smaller surface and hone his game in the American Hockey League.
Alm said leaving AIK is sad, but that he feels ready to make the jump to the National Hockey League.
Brad Winchester had a tough time finding an NHL deal when his contract with the Sharks was up in 2011-12, but he’s back in the big leagues.
Winchester, who spent 37 games with the Milwaukee Admirals in 2012-13, has signed a one-year, one-way deal with the Chicago Blackhawks that will pay the gritty forward $725,000 next season.
In the role of agitator and trouble maker, Winchester has found a career. However, last season was his first since 2004-05 when he couldn’t turn it into some playing time in the NHL. In 414 career NHL games, Winchester — a 32-year-old from Madison, Wisc. — has amassed 578 PIM while adding 71 points (38-33). At the AHL level, Winchester’s dressed in 237 contests, scoring 74 goals and adding 59 assists on top of his 464 PIM. 2012-13 was his first full year in the AHL since breaking into the NHL in 2005-06 as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.
Scott Ford, a former captain of the Milwaukee Admirals, is back with the club for 2013-14.
Ford, who started last season captaining the Peoria Rivermen, is back with the team where he’s spent the bulk of his career. Before landing with Peoria last season, Ford spent four years in Milwaukee. After a trade brought him back to the Nashville organization late last season, Ford suited up for 25 games with the Ads, putting up an one assist over that time.
At 6’3″ and 225 lbs., the 33-year-old British Columbia native, made it to the pro ranks via the ECHL, spending seasons in Fresno, Trenton, Dayton, and Utah before becoming an AHL regular.
In his AHL career, Ford has suited up for 480 games, tallying 15 goals and 45 assists. Over that stretch, Ford’s also racked up 705 PIM.
Ford’s deal is for one-year.
It’s the dog days of summer and, as such, it’s going to be a difficult to pull together anything of great substance from around the league. Most of the major news — the Utica Comets official announcement, Texas Stars jersey unveiling, and Calder Cup Final — has already happened, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give it our best.
(From L to R) AHL grads Nick Leddy, Brandon Bollig, Andrew Shaw, and Bryan Bickell pose together during the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Parade. via @Bollig87