Sloan Helps to Steady Admirals Ship
By Jason Karnosky
National Hockey League teams can never have enough quality defensemen. The demands of an 82-game regular season and two-month playoff schedule means that the depth of franchises is always being tested.
The Nashville Predators are an organization that believes strongly in this philosophy. Despite carrying elite blue liners like Shea Weber and Ryan Suter on their roster, the Predators spent the summer actively shopping for more defensive talent.
Tyler Sloan was one of the players Nashville zeroed in on that could make a difference in the postseason.
“Sloan’s a player that has had lot of success and brings NHL experience,” Predators assistant general manager Paul Fenton said. “We thought he was player we could bring in to be either our sixth or seventh defenseman or play in a depth capacity to be able to call up when we needed him.”
For Sloan moving west represented a significant shift in his career. Dating back to the 2005-2006 season, Sloan’s home was with the Washington Capitals organization, where he played in 99 regular season National Hockey League games over the course of five-plus years there.
During that time, Washington grew from a 28-win team in Sloan’s first full season to one of the league’s top teams, averaging 51 wins per year in his final three campaigns. Splitting time with Hershey, Sloan was a part of three Calder Cup winning clubs, capturing titles with the Bears in 2006 (over Milwaukee), 2009 and 2010.
That distinguished resume made the 30-year-old blue liner an attractive possibility for the Predators this past offseason. For his part Sloan saw Nashville as a team that would give him a legitimate shot.
“I had a few offers that were similar two-way deals to one I signed with the Predators,” Sloan said. “But from what I was told to start the season Nashville potentially had three spots open on the backend and a lot of young guys without a whole lot of experience, so this was probably going to be my best opportunity to make the (big) club.”
Though Sloan missed out on a fulltime spot on the Predators out of training camp, he arrived in Milwaukee ready to make an impact with the Admirals. There he found one of the few American Hockey League clubs that could rival the success of the Bears.
Sloan immediately went to work making a name for himself in Wisconsin. Playing alongside Nashville’s prized prospect Ryan Ellis, the Admirals top blueline tandem carried Milwaukee to a 19-8-0-1 record in its first 23 games, grabbing first place in the Midwest Division.
“It was good to have a player like Sloan come here from a different organization of success and bring some his knowledge from winning (multiple) Calder Cups,” Admirals forward Chris Mueller said. “Hopefully, he can help us reach that goal.”