Tough Times Ahead For Nashville Predators As Injuries Consume Club; Claim Svatos

Mike MacDonaldCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 21:  Marek Svatos #40 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on after losing 5-2 to the Anaheim Ducks in their NHL game at the Honda Center on March 21, 2010 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

It has been an amazing season so far for the Nashville Predators.

Two big winning streaks, two big losing streaks, injuries and frustration, goaltending being good and bad and now a player who has reached out for help... and it's only the end of December!

The Preds are a team that will have many challenges to face in the upcoming month. Injuries to Martin Erat, arguably playing his best hockey in some time, the continuing saga of Matthew Lombardi's concussion woes and a wonky David Legwand.

This team has lost it's two top centers in Lombardi and Legwand, speedy Steve Sullivan and the aforementioned Erat... add to the list the situation of Jordan Tootoo.

Help for Tootoo...

Tootoo, with the blessing and support of the Predators management and players, has checked himself into the NHL substance abuse system.

A big step indeed. Here is hoping he gets the help he needs and a speedy return to the Preds.

Roster Moves...More to Come?

While Pikka Rinne has returned to the lineup, the Preds are on a downward slide. Losers of five straight.

Linis Klasen has been recalled from Milwaukee (AHL) and the team signed free agent forward Chris Mueller.

Make Room for Marek...

The Preds claimed Marek Svatos from the rival St.Louis Blues.

Svatos, the 28-year-old forward, was recently released from the KHL's Omsk Avangard squad and was signed as a free agent by Blues GM Doug Armstrong.

Following Svatos' routine clearing of waivers, Preds GM David Poile selected the former Colorado winger as an attempt to curtail the rash of injuries to the Preds top six forwards.

It's believed that Svatos has a two-way deal that would play him $800,000 this season to play in the NHL.

He will have to clear waivers again if the Preds assign him to Milwaukee (AHL) where he would likely be claimed.

He had three goals and five assists in 19 games in the KHL.

Mike MacDonald is a Featured Columnist covering the Nashville Predators and NHL