Cody Bass (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
Nashville Predators GM David Poile said changes were coming to the bottom-six, but one veteran sticking around will be Cody Bass. The 29-year-old was a regular in the playoffs until he suffered a lower-body injury.
The Nashville Predators’ off-season started with GM David Poile announcing that Paul Gaustad and Eric Nystrom wouldn’t be back with the team in 2016-17 and that a number of young players ready to take over bottom-six roles would fill the spots left vacant by Gaustad and Nystrom’s departures. That doesn’t mean all the Predators’ bottom-six veterans are on their way out, though.
It was announced Wednesday that Nashville has inked 29-year-old Cody Bass to a two-year, two-way deal worth $612,500 per season in the NHL and $150,000 per campaign in the AHL. Bass has bounced back and forth between the AHL and NHL throughout his career, but he found a regular spot in the Predators’ bottom-six during the post-season only to suffer a lower-body injury that forced him to miss the final eight games of the playoffs.
Bass doesn’t necessarily bring the scoring touch to the fourth-line, but that’s not what he’ll be relied upon for. He’s got good enough speed to cause chaos on the forecheck and he’s not afraid to throw his weight around, something that saw him earn ice time during the opening-round series against the Anaheim Ducks.
Last season marked Bass’ first campaign as a Predator, but he spent the majority of the campaign in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals. During his 39 games with the Ads, Bass scored four goals, nine points and racked up 85 penalty minutes, but he toned down his parade to the box in the big league. In 17 games with Nashville, Bass only took 17 penalty minutes while averaging about eight minutes of ice time per game.
In all likelihood, Bass’ spot with the Predators will again see him bounce in and out of NHL lineup and up and down from Milwaukee to Nashville. With Poile seemingly ready to sign Filip Forsberg, Calle Jarnkrok and Gabriel Bourque, each of whom are restricted free agents, that would put the Predators at 15 forward contracts from their end of season roster. That’s not even including the litany of young talent — such as Kevin Fiala and Pontus Aberg — potentially ready to make the jump to the Predators.
Drafted 95th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2005, Bass had been surviving on one-year deals up until this point. This marks his first two-year contract since signing an entry-level deal with Ottawa in 2006.