Nashville Predators Executive Vice President/General  Manager  David  Poile  announced today that the club has signed  defenseman Mikko and forward Daniel Widing to one-year contracts.

Lehtonen,  26  (6/21/79),  posted  14  points  (6g-8a) and 46 penalty minutes  in  43  games with Karpat of the Finnish Elite League last season. The  6-1,  194-pound  Oulu, Finland native led Karpat blueliners in scoring (11g-17a-28pts)  in  2004-05  and helped the club capture the Finnish Elite League  championship  in 2004 and 2005. Lehtonen, Nashville's ninth choice, 271st  overall (ninth round), in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, ranked second in points  (1g-4a-5pts  in  9gp)  among defensemen on Team Finland at the 2006 World  Championships  and  helped lead his country to a bronze medal in thetournament.

"Mikko  is  a  mature,  smooth  skating  defenseman  with  a  lot  of
experience  in  the Finnish Elite League," said Paul Fenton, the Predators' Director  of Player Personnel. "We have seen him progress from the day that we  drafted  him, and believe it is his time to come over and try to earn a position  with  the Nashville Predators. Mikko is at an age right now where he is capable of making it to the next level and this is his opportunity to come  over  and try to complete his dream of playing in the National Hockey League."

Widing,  24  (4/13/82), played in both Finland and Sweden in 2005-06, posting  12  points (5g-7a) in 38 games with TPS Turku of the Finnish Elite League  before returning to his hometown for 11 games with Brynas IF Gavle. The  6-1,  202-pound  forward set a career high in goals (13), assists (15) and points (28) in 2004-05 with Pelicans Lahti of the Finnish Elite League. Widing  was  Nashville's  second selection, 36th overall (second round), in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

"Daniel is a typical Predator in his desire, work ethic, attitude and
never-say-die type of game," said Fenton. "He has matured over the years in the elite leagues in Europe and now he has an opportunity to come over take his game to the next level."


Copyright © 2006 All Rights Reserved