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Alexandre Carrier ‘Very Happy’ About Return to Predators

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Photo of Alexandre Carrier by John Russell/Nashville Predators

Alexandre Carrier’s future was uncertain for months.

The Nashville Predators defenseman spent the 2023-24 season playing on an expiring contract. When Carrier and the team didn’t initially agree to an extension, he became the subject of trade deadline rumors.

It was a bit unsettling for Carrier, who was drafted by Nashville in 2015 and has made all 217 of his NHL appearances with the club.

“For me, it was my first time becoming a free agent,” he said. “I was stressed. I was nervous. But at the end of the day, I was very happy we made it back to Nashville.”

Carrier and the Predators worked out a deal just in time, inking a three-year, $11.25 million contract two days before he was set to hit the open market. The move was officially announced by the team on July 1.

Despite not knowing how much time he had left in Nashville, Carrier was a steady piece of the Predators’ defense corps last season. He finished third among the team’s blueliners in goals (4), assists (16), points (20), penalty minutes (44) and time on ice per game (18:48).

The 27-year-old credited regular meditation sessions and meetings with a mental coach from Montreal for helping him stay focused.

“You put everything in perspective,” he said. “I’m really lucky to be playing hockey. Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, but it’s all stuff you cannot control. I was just trying to be in the present as much as I could.”

Carrier called his decision to re-sign with the Predators “a no-brainer” even though the deal came a bit later than he expected. He had planned to take part in Jeremy Lauzon’s bachelor trip the last weekend of June but was forced to cancel when negotiations went down to the wire.

Lauzon understood and was one of the first to know once the contract was finalized, Carrier said. The two defensemen have developed a close relationship after pairing together in 67 games last season.

“I love playing with him,” Carrier said. “We’re really good friends off the ice. Having a steady partner is always something you look for. It was one part that made me want to come back, as well as the team we have, the season we had and the coaching staff and the vision they have.”

In addition to bringing back Carrier, the Predators extended franchise goalie Juuse Saros for eight more seasons and made a splash in free agency by signing seven-time NHL All-Star Steven Stamkos, 2023 Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Marchessault and veteran two-way defenseman Brady Skjei.

Carrier acknowledged those additions “will come with bigger expectations” for Nashville.

“At the same time, as a player and athlete, that’s what you want,” he said. “I think for the summer for myself, it motivates me even more to be on top of my game when the first day of training camp starts.”

Carrier’s focus this offseason? He wants to become more of a scoring threat.

“I take a lot of pride in defending and playing big minutes against the top line on the other side,” he said. “But if I can bring more offense with my shot, just having the mentality to shoot more and finding ways to create from the blueline – those are the things I’m working on.”

Follow Russell Vannozzi on X/Twitter @RussellV_MSP.

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