NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators wasted no time using the free-agent market in an attempt to boost their anemic offence. As the NHL free agency period opened Friday, Nashville added forwards Viktor Stalberg, Matt Cullen, Matt Hendricks and Eric Nystrom. The Predators also signed goaltender Carter Hutton to a one-year, two-way contract worth $550,000 at the NHL level and $100,000 at the AHL level. "We knew we needed to change," Predators general manager David Poile said at a Friday news conference. "We knew we needed to improve." Nashville scored just 2.27 goals per game this past season to match the Florida Panthers for the lowest average in the NHL. Nashville finished last in the Central Division and 14th in the Western Conference with a 16-23-9 record. The Predators have invested heavily to avoid a repeat performance. Stalberg signed a four-year, $12 million deal, Nystrom earned a four-year, $10 million deal, Hendricks will receive $7.4 million over the next four years, and Cullen signed a two-year contract worth $7 million. "We were very specific in the guys that we wanted, and we went out and got them," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. The 27-year-old Stalberg had nine goals and 14 assists in 47 games for the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. He appeared in 19 playoff games and had three assists. Stalberg, a four-year veteran, had 22 goals and 43 assists for the Blackhawks in 2011-12. His contract will pay him $2.5 million each in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and $3.5 million each in 2015-16 and 2016-17. The Predators believe a change of scenery could improve Stalbergs production. Stalberg struggled to earn playing time this season on a crowded Blackhawks roster that features star forwards Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa. "He has shown flashes of it with Chicago," Poile said. "Hes got everything you want -- size, skating. Hes got the hands. (He had) a tough time getting ahead of Toews, and Kane and Hossa and guys like that. With all due respect, our forwards are not as dynamic as that." Nystrom, 30, had seven goals and four assists for Dallas this season. He also had 61 penalty minutes in 48 games. Nystrom had 16 goals and five assists in 74 games in 2011-12. He will make $2 million each of the next two seasons and will receive $3 million each in 2015-16 and 2016-17. "Obviously playing against (the Predators) for a long time, I know the type of system they play and the type of team that they have, and I think I fit in really well in that system," Nystrom said on a conference call. "I am so excited to get the season going. I cannot wait." The 36-year-old Cullen had seven goals and 20 assists in 42 games for Minnesota this past season. He has 202 career goals and 360 assists in 1,073 regular-season NHL games since 1997-98. His contract will pay him $3 million in 2013-14 and $4 million in 2014-15. Hendricks, 32, had five goals and three assists in 48 games for Washington. He led the Capitals with 73 penalty minutes and ranked third on the team in face-off efficiency (56.8 per cent). Hendricks has 27 goals and 31 assists in 263 career games. He will receive $1.85 million annually over the next four years. "I am going to be an energy guy," Hendricks said on a conference call. "I am going to bring energy to the rink every day, whether it is games or practices, being the sandpaper, being that gritty player that sticks up for his teammates, plays hard, finishes his checks and tries to make it miserable on opponents. The more players you have like that in the lineup, it just becomes easier for everyone else." Hutton, 27, played one game for the Blackhawks and 51 games for Rockford of the AHL. He had a 2.72 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage with the IceHogs. "We have never been this active in free agency and for sure (on) the first day, signing five players," Poile said. "Free agency can be a whirlwind where people go a little bit crazy. I will let you judge that. We had a clear, definite plan going into this. We wanted to identify specific areas of need, and I think we signed players that fill specific roles for our hockey club. I think all the players that we signed today are going to make us better next year."Ecco Shoes On Sale . LOUIS -- Valtteri Filppula assisted on three of Tampa Bays four goals, and the Lightning beat the St. Ecco Shoes Clearance Australia . The Croatian served 21 aces and hit 42 winners against Sijsling, who double-faulted to give Cilic a 4-3 lead in the deciding set. "All the players, they know me and they were really happy to see me and they were really happy that this is over for me," Cilic said. http://www.cheapeccoaustralia.com/ . -- Tony Stewart is 20 pounds lighter and has a titanium rod in his surgically repaired right leg. Ecco Shoes Australia Sale . "Jeff is a hard worker who was an important special-teams contributor for us last season," said Stamps GM John Hufnagel. Ecco Shoes Australia Wholesale . The team says the Spain international has a muscle pull in his right leg. Barcelona hosts third-division side Cartagena in the return leg of their round-of-32 tie after winning their first meeting 4-1.It is said in Pakistan that Pathans are not an ethnicity but a state of mind. To us, growing up in the nineties, watching Pakistan win unwinnable matches against India in Sharjah, the Pakistani cricketer was an enviable state of mind, a state beyond our comprehension. The highest praise we could afford an Indian cricketer for his gumption, his cricketing smarts, and occasionally his flawed character, was to say: he is almost a Pakistani.Manoj Prabhakar A Prabhakar autobiography would start thus: As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a Pakistani cricketer. He didnt have the pace, but he swung the ball big. He reversed it. He leapt away from the stumps in his delivery stride. Like Imran Khan. He had a mullet. Like Imran Khan.Colleagues swore by his courage. If an opener was injured, Prabhakar would face the new ball. If an opener chickened out, Prabhakar would step up.In South Africa in 1991-92, when India were brutalised by Donald, Schultz, McMillan and Matthews, up stepped Prabhakar with 62 in over five hours to facilitate a draw. During it he kept asking McMillan if he was half-blind until the bemused bowler asked what the hell he was talking about. Pitch it in my half too. Cant you see that half of the pitch? As an opener, he averaged 35.48 in Tests and 34.02 in ODIs. Not bad for someone who was primarily a bowler.The flaws of Pakistani cricketers are their charms. In keeping, Prabhakar once gave up an ODI chase of 63 in nine overs with five wickets in hand, instead blocking his way to a hundred. He was banned for one match. Somewhat appealingly, somewhat mysteriously, he crusaded against match-fixing, carrying out a sting against team-mates. Politics and embezzlement followed post-retirement.Ravi Shastri Shastri was drinking one evening in Karachi, in 1983. (A friend of his had come from London with duty-free alcohol.) They were in Shastris hotel room. He heard a knock. It was Sunil Gavaskar, the captain. Will you open with me in this Test? It was the sixth Test of the series. Arun Lal had scored a total of 100 in three Tests, Kris Srikkanth 28 in two. Shastri was 20 years old. He lost the booze immediately, replacing it with the high of an opportunity of a lifetime. Days later he scored a hundred against Imran, Sarfraz Nawaz and Abdul Qadir.A left-arm spinner who began his career at No. 10, Shastri loves to say he scored Test hundreds against two fearsome pace quartets. One is the West Indian, what is the other? Imran, Sarfraz, Javed Akhtar and Khizer Hayat.Shastri was English in his technique, his professionalism and his fierce ambition, but he was Pakistani in his homegrown methods, boastfulness, his way of getting things done, his sledging, his punching above his weight. He was positively dour when he batted, like Mudassar Nazar, but he also hit six sixes in a first-class over. Had Shastri been any more Pakistani, he would have come out of retirement at least once. As it was, his retirement - coming as it did at the age of 30 - surprised everyone.Ajay Jadeja You will be hard-pressed to find an Indian cricketer with a higher smugness-to-skill ratio than Jadeja. You could imagine how annoying playing him would be. A limited batsman, especially against pace and swing, Jadeja plaayed with his collar up, lips parted in an infuriating smirk; and he was a match-winner when he had no business being one.dddddddddddd A bit like Javed Miandad, he might not always have been the man you wanted on your side, but he was the one you didnt want in the opposition.Behind the exterior was a shrewd brain. He loved fielding, even as a substitute. He didnt mind stepping out of his comfort zone. He always wanted to open but made his name hitting in the middle order. After the most Pakistani thing he did in his career - the 1996 World Cup quarter-final carnage against the arch-rivals - he said: Look what they have turned me into. A pinch-hitter. A slogger.When banned for match-fixing, he didnt lose the smugness, appearing in movies, dance shows, providing incisive cricket analysis. Surely a captain India lost.MS Dhoni Burewala. Gujar Khan. Sheikhupura. Many Pakistani small towns are known only for producing world-class cricketers who learnt their early cricket there, through some inexplicable junoon, and then enchanted the world. India was always more sterile, with players coming through coaching academies in big cities, where flair is smothered like the turn on a flighted offbreak. Only a handful beat that system.Ranchi was known in India only for its mental asylum until Dhoni made it famous the world over. He is the biggest Pakistani cricketer India has ever produced. Almost entirely uncoached, flipping the bird to convention at every step, he has become an ODI batsman as accomplished, chillingly calculating and psychologically damaging as Javed Miandad was. He loves taking a match into the last over, then turning it into a one on one. Then he hits a six early, one that rings around the stadium, a huge one. Then the world watches the poor bowler wilt.And Dhoni captains and keeps wicket. As with Pakistani cricketers, you cannot tell what he is thinking, what his next move is. You cant put anything beyond him. There hasnt been a more authentic Made in Pakistan hologram. Vijay Manjrekar Towards the end of his career he had put on weight, but he kept playing at Shivaji Park. Those were the days when crowds turned up for local cricket. A barracker called him Ganpati (for Ganesha, the Hindu elephant god with the generous waistline). He made his way to the boundary, identified the heckler and asked, Do you want to see the trunk now?Once, an established opener went to him for advice. What is wrong with my batting? He said: Nothing. There is something wrong with the selectors who keep picking you.One day, after he had retired from the game, he was watching cricket and saw Nana Patekar, the Bollywood actor, heckling a spectator. He grabbed Patekar by the collar, and the two almost came to blows.Manjrekar was the original badass, a free spirit who couldnt stand fools; never short of a witty retort; giving his son Sanjay tough love.He learnt his cricket the regimental way but felt suffocated and shackled. He and Subhash Gupte were the mawalis - the ruffians and hooligans.Oh, by the way he was one of Indias best batsmen against pace despite not being the fittest. Inzi anyone? ' ' '