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Predators expect Dante Fabbro to fill the void left by PK Subban’s departure

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The Nashville Predators had to make a tough decision by trading star defenceman PK Subban to the New Jersey Devils earlier this summer.

Not only did the deal help create cap space to sign players such as Matt Duchene, but it also provides some of their younger, more inexperienced defenceman an opportunity to take their game to the next level with increased responsibility.

One of those players expected to make major improvements in 2019/2020 is 21-year old defenceman Dante Fabbro, who impressed upper management enough in limited time last season to convince them to explore a Subban trade in the first place.

“I probably would not have made the Subban trade if Dante Fabbro hadn’t signed with the Predators and hadn’t played at the end of the year and hadn’t played as well as he did,” said Nashville general manager David Poile late last month.

“That gave me good confidence that our defense, led by our captain Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis, and now with Fabbro being a really good young player, that we could still have a good defense and trade somebody like Subban.”

Fabbro joined the Predators on a three-year, entry-level contract in late March after an impressive three season stint at Boston University.

He compiled one assist in just four regular season games in 2018/2019, and also tallied one assist in six playoff games during their first round loss to the Dallas Stars. He may have not lit up the score sheet, but showed a lot of consistency in his role as a third-pairing defenceman and fit well alongside Dan Hamhuis.

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Ovechkin will serve as NHL Ambassador in China next month

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A big name NHL star is going to be the face of hockey in China.

The league announced Thursday that Washington Capitals great Alex Ovechkin will serve as an international ambassador for the NHL when he visits Beijing, China during the week of August 4 next month

“It is a huge honour for me to be an ambassador for the entire Washington Capitals organization and the National Hockey League for this special trip to China,” said Ovechkin.

“I think it is very important to spend time to help make people all over the world see how great a game hockey is. I can’t wait to spend time with all the hockey fans there and I hope to meet young kids who will be future NHL players. I can’t wait for this trip!”

Among the things Ovechkin will do when in the country is do a full on media tour, attend business meetings, and participate in various youth hockey clinics.

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Former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson’s death most likely a suicide

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Some more sobering information has been revealed about the tragic death of former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson.

According to the Detroit News, Rochester police documents confirm that his death was more likely than not a suicide after a gun and a single bullet were near his body when he was discovered by his wife in the morning on July 7.

No further details of the autopsy have been made public.

Johnson, who was 48 at the time of his passing, spent 12 seasons in the NHL from 1993-2006.

The second round pick in the 1989 NHL Draft amassed 145 goals, 224 assists and 345 penalty minutes over a span of 785 games split between the Predators, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks.

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Capitals ink Jakub Vrana to two-year extension

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Another restricted free agent is off the market.

The Washington Capitals announced Tuesday that they have signed forward Jakub Vrana to a two-year, $6.7 million contract extension.

“Jakub is a highly skilled player with a tremendous upside and is a big part of our future” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan.

“We are pleased with his development the past two seasons and are looking forward for him to continue to develop and reach his full potential with our organization.”

The 23-year old, who was selected 13th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft, posted a career-best 47 points (24 goals, 23 assists) and a plus-20 rating in 82 games last season.

He will be entering his fourth NHL season in 2019/2020.

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