Stalberg signs with division-rival Predators

Stalberg signs with division-rival Predators
July 5, 2013, 1:00 pm
Share This Post

Viktor Stalberg's time with the Chicago Blackhawks was all but over with how the postseason went. Now he'll get a fresh start with a division rival.

Stalberg signed a four-year, $12-million deal with the Nashville Predators on Friday afternoon, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. Stalberg will still see the Blackhawks plenty, as realignment keeps them and the Predators in the same division/conference moving forward.

[MORE: Blackhawks re-sign Handzus, Rozsival]

The speedy Stalberg had a solid regular season on the Blackhawks' third line, where he found chemistry with Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw. But as the playoffs began, Stalberg's place in the lineup changed; he was benched for the first two games of the Western Conference semifinal series against the Detroit Red Wings. A source said Stalberg's complaining about a lack of power-play time in the first round was why he was benched, but Stalberg and coach Joel Quenneville both denied that. Regardless, he was benched again for the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins.

[RELATED: Emery departs Blackhawks, signs with Flyers]

Stalberg figured his time was pretty much over in Chicago when he met with the media on June 27. Instead, he was embracing his unrestricted free-agent status.

"It's part of the business. But it's one of those things, I’m in the driver’s seat," he said. "I have options; I can pick and choose where I want to go."