The Nashville Predators made their first move towards addressing their defensive issues on Wednesday by signing minor league defenseman Alexandre Carrier to a three-year contract.

Drafted in 2015, Carrier has played the majority of his professional hockey career in the AHL for the Preds’ affiliate Milwaukee Admirals. Making his NHL debut in January 2017, Carrier has logged only five games for the Preds so far, though his new contract indicates that number will go up very soon.

According to the contract details, Carrier will earn a two-way salary for all three years. His NHL salary will be $700,000 the first year (2020-21) and then $750,000 the next two years (2021-22, 2022-23). His AHL salary will be $125,000 the first year, $175,000 the second year, and $200,000 the third year.

Carrier received heavy defensive assignments in Milwaukee, holding his own in that regard and also generating a fair number of points. He collected 37 points in 55 games for the Admirals this season, which equaled his entire point total from the 2018-19 season. He also saw plenty of power play time for the Admirals, leading the team with 15 assists on the man advantage this season.

While playing on the power play isn’t something Carrier will be doing for the Predators anytime soon, it does seem likely that he’ll get a good chance to make the roster next season.

Preds could give Carrier a shot next season

While Alexandre Carrier only has five games under his belt, this contract from David Poile is a vote of confidence in the young defenseman.

There are two main reasons for this.

For one, moving forward, Carrier will not be exempt from waivers, a function of the CBA which gives teams roster flexibility during the season (players exempt from waivers can go between NHL and AHL team without the possibility of being claimed by other teams). David Poile knows this and wouldn’t be willing to commit to a player for three years if he was just going to lose him to waivers.

The other reason Carrier has a shot next season is the three roster spots coming open. Dan Hamhuis, Korbinian Holzer, and Yannick Weber are all unrestricted free agents this summer and it seems unlikely the Preds will keep all of them. Poile is most likely to re-sign Yannick Weber, who has a bit more utility than the other two, but Weber struggled most of this season and the Preds could be ready to move on.

Of course, Poile could try to address one or two of those roster spots in free agency. But he doesn’t have a lot of salary to do so. With Carrier making near league minimum now, he has a ready made solution. If free agency doesn’t go David Poile’s way, Carrier could have an easy route to making the roster next season and this depth chart prediction I made a week ago could be closer to coming to fruition.

We are still a long way form seeing Nashville Predators hockey and still don’t know what will happen with the suspended 2019-20 season. But when the Preds do return to action, it seems likely that Alexandre Carrier could play a role on the team.

— Featured image via James Carey Lauder/USA TODAY Sports —
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