• PRINT
  • RSS

Instant Analysis: Gaustad Signing

Sunday, 07.1.2012 / 5:21 PM CT / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
X
Share with your Friends


Instant Analysis: Gaustad Signing

It’s impossible to look at the agreement the Preds reached with forward Paul Gaustad without recognizing the special skills Gaustad brings to the Preds – his faceoff expertise, his penalty kill excellence, and his veteran leadership inside the locker room.

But beyond those skills is what Gaustad means to the Preds roster. He – along with the qualifying offers extended earlier this month to Sergei Kostitysn and Colin Wilson – gives the Preds 12 proven NHL forwards to form the backbone of the team’s offense. Saying nothing of the group of young prospects ready to push for an NHL opportunity from the start of training camp.

Gaustad’s signing structures the group of forwards into roles well defined for each player. Fisher and Legwand will likely center the team’s top two lines with Gaustad and Spaling likely entering camp anchoring the shutdown defensive lines and Smith sliding over to the wing, but serving as a quality injury replacement down the middle when the inevitable bumps and bruises occur. Erat, Hornqvist, Kostitsyn, Wilson, and Smith will enter camp with the best chance of earning time on the wing across from Fisher and Legwand. Bourque, Halischuk, and Yip appear well entrenched filling out the roster.

And the likelihood is strong that the Preds will further strengthen the group – be it an addition from outside the organization in free agency or trade or be it growth from within the organization. Preds GM David Poile, in addressing the Nashville media on Sunday, noted the team's involvement in the Zach Parise free agency sweepstakes, among other potential forward targets. Prospects Bang, Beck, Lajunen, Latta, MacLellan, and Mueller all have the potential and development pedigree to contribute in the NHL this season in various roles.

Still, without any additions, the current group is – at least on paper – more impressive than the group the Preds iced upfront for the majority of the 2011-12 season, the group that finished the 2011-12 eighth in the NHL in goals.

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61