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Nashville Predators add Cody Hodgson, Barret Jackman in free agent deals

The Nashville Predators opened free agency with a minor splash, signing Cody Hodgson and Barret Jackman.

The Nashville Predators have flown relatively under the radar this off-season, re-signing their top two centers, Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher. But GM David Poile’s quiet moves last summer helped the team make a surprise run to the playoffs, and it appears he’s making similar decisions this off-season.

Picking Ribeiro off the scrap heape worked wonders, and Poile will try to duplicate that feat with Cody Hodgson. The maligned center, just 25, was bought out by the Buffalo Sabres this week. Now he’ll attempt a career turnaround in Nashville on a one-year, $1.05-million contract. Hodgson scored 20 goals in 2013-14 and appeared to be a key cog for the Sabres, but he tumbled to just six goals and 13 points in 78 games this season, often criticized for his level of effort.

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Still, Hodgson is a former No. 10 overall pick of the Vancouver Canucks. He’s a low-risk investment with high potential gain for the Preds. And he’ll be another Nashville forward who can shuffle around to center or the wing.

Meanwhile, after bringing in grizzled vet Anton Volchenkov last summer on a one-year pact, Poile inked Barret Jackman for two years and $4 million. Jackman, 34, was the longest-tenured defenseman in St. Louis Blues history. He brings grit and experience but has lost a step and didn’t fit into the Blues’ financial plans. He’ll likely toil on the Preds’ bottom pair next season.