Trotz: Stalberg ‘has to start producing’

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There’s an interesting situation at play in Nashville between Barry Trotz and Viktor Stalberg.

Stalberg, one of the club’s big offseason acquisitions, has gone scoreless in six games since returning from a preseason shoulder injury — and that’s not good enough, according to Trotz.

“Stalberg will have to get going here a little bit,” Trotz told The Tennessean. “We tried to move him up here a little bit. He’s still learning us and we’re still learning him. But the games are going by now … six now, so he has to start producing.”

But the Swedish forward isn’t just taking that critique.

“I’m here to work hard and play hard, but I also am probably here to produce a little bit and obviously playing 10 minutes is tough to get that quality ice-time,” Stalberg countered. “But you have to deserve that ice-time. I’m trying to do everything I can here with the minutes I have and show them I deserve to play more.”

In Stalberg’s defense, he hasn’t been put in many quality scoring situations. He’s averaging around 11 minutes per game, often times on the fourth line — but the counter-argument there is that in order for him to get more opportunities, he’ll need to make something of the ones he’s already getting.

On a larger scale, it’s interesting to note how aggressive Trotz has been early in the season with regards to unproductive forwards. On Tuesday, the Preds made highly-touted rookie Filip Forsberg a healthy scratch, with Trotz saying “I thought Filip could have another level in his game,” and “sometimes, he looks to me a little bit tired.”

It’s no secret Nashville was displeased with missing the playoffs last year, averaging a league-low 2.27 goals per game. Following the year, Trotz called out both Craig Smith and ex-Predator Sergei Kostitsyn for their lack of production.