Last season, the Nashville Predators scored nine fewer goals than the league average, finishing with 216 in 82 frequently miserable games. In 2012-13, they finished dead-last in scoring.
It remains to be seen if Peter Laviolette can get more out of the Predators than Barry Trotz could in the brutal Central Division, but in his meeting with Predators fans on Sunday, the Tennessean reports that he wasn’t shy about his points of emphasis. While puck possession and development ranked among the buzzwords, the fans really got excited when that word “offense” popped up.
“I guess my thought process on the game and the style early on is that I decided to play with the puck, and I would rather play somewhere else other than my end,” Laviolette said at the Music City Sports Festival.
Newly hired assistant Kevin McCarthy believes that Laviolette can really help talented-yet-frustrated forwards such as Viktor Stalberg and Colin Wilson while Laviolette specifically seemed interested in developing Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok. It’s not surprising that Laviolette seems most excited about Seth Jones, though.
Speaking of assistants, the structure for next season appears to be in some question as of Sunday.
The team was excited to add Phil Housley to work with the team’s talented group of blueliners, which still seems to be the case. McCarthy is one of Laviolette’s “guys.” It’s not quite as clear if the Predators will bring back well-regarded goalie coach Mitch Korn (no contract for next season) and Lane Lambert (has one more year left, also sports remarkable hair).
Laviolette indicated that side will work itself out and it doesn’t sound like that put much of a damper on today’s celebration of offense.