The Nashville Predators are rounding out their blue line for next season, announcing a new two-year, two-way contract for defenseman Jake Livingstone worth $775,000 at the NHL level.
Nashville signed the 24-year-old out of Minnesota State University toward the end of the regular season. He was pursued by a few other NHL teams as well.
I’ve also heard that Barry Trotz is high on Jake Livingstone. He could make Alex Carrier expendable, as @KieserNick suggested yesterday
— Michael Gallagher (@MGsports_) June 24, 2023
Livingstone scored eight goals and 35 points with the Mavericks last season in 39 contests and he was named to the CCHA first team following the 2022-23 campaign. He was named the conference’s Defenseman of The Year for the second consecutive season and he was named the CCHA’s Defenseman of the Week four times during the year.
Former Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings said as an assistant captain Livingstone was one of the guys who were leaned on heavily during his time with the program.
“He continued to be the guy that managed our core on the end of that bench and that maturity is going to serve him well as he moves on into his pro career,” Hastings said.
Livingstone played in five games for the Predators this season, notching his first career point on April 10 against the Calgary Flames.
FIRST NHL POINT FOR JAKE LIVINGSTONE pic.twitter.com/b7aGPyhsns
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) April 11, 2023
He helped the Mavericks win the Mason Cup over Northern Michigan University 3-2 in overtime, picking up a primary assist on the game-tying goal in the third period. If the Mavericks had lost that game, they wouldn’t have clinched a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Unfortunately, Minnesota State fell to St. Cloud State 4-0 in the NCAA Regional matchup to round out his time in college.
“If there’s a better word to describe his game a bit, it’s poise,” Hastings said. “He stepped up and made a play to help get us to overtime. He held on to a puck and waited for lanes to open up and then delivered the puck on the net. I think there were so many opportunities in that game that he impacted our opportunity in a positive way to continue our season.”
Livingstone’s journey in college was one where early on he needed to add some size. He challenged himself to be as prepared as possible to have success on the ice.
“The progress he made both on and off the ice since day one up until now was significant,” Hastings said. “He’s had a knack to play well in the most important times of the season.
“Being in an organization like Nashville, and their history of defensemen, I think is a great marriage because he’s somebody that’s a student of the game and is willing to do the hard things to get better. He physically remade his body here in two and a half years. He was never satisfied with where he was at and when you’re a coach you like guys that are okay looking in the mirror and understanding what they need to do to get better and they’re willing to do the work.”
Now, Livingstone has the flexibility to play for the Milwaukee Admirals or the Predators without needing to clear waivers. He showed some promise during his five-game NHL stint, and the Predators are banking on him developing into an NHL-caliber defenseman.
Follow Nick Kieser on Twitter: @KieserNick
(Photo of Jake Livingstone via John Russell/Nashville Predators)