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"Unbiased Observations on the Predators"
Nashville, TN • United States • 42 Years Old • Male
So we are a quarter of the way through the season and I thought I would offer up my analysis of the Preds on a player by player basis. Hockey is a team sport but when you analyze a team, it helps if you can have some individual stats to compare with. So here it goes.


Martin Erat -Currently leads the team with 24 points and is well on his way to passing his career high of 57 last year. He stays out of the box, puts up decent +/- and always seems to around the puck. He is starting to turn some heads with his performance and may become one of the better know young guys in league. He is only 26. Grade: A-

Jason Arnott - He is our Captain and is doing everything we could expect of him. But there is room for improvement. He hasn't dominated a game like one would like from a Captain, but he has done a great job of keeping this team together. He is on pace to approach career highs in goals and assists, but needs to improve on the PP since he is on the ice most of the PP's. Could also spend a little less time in the box. Grade: B

J.P. Dumont - One of the best Free Agent pickups last year is continuing to show that he can play in this league. Would love to see him signed to a long term contract. His best game was against Ottowa where he had a goal and 3 assists. He has made some of the best passes I have seen on the team and is always playing hard on defense. He is on pace to eclipse his season highs in Points. Grade: A

David Legwand - So much potential. But I am still not seeing it. Leggy plays in spurts and so far we haven't really seen one of it good spurts. He plays hard at all times, but sometimes I question whether he is willing to sell out his body. He may be the quickest player on the team but hasn't seen any breakaways to take advantage of his speed. His +/- is down from last year and his PIM are up. Need a strong push from Leggy the rest of the year to help this team. Grade: C+

Alexander Radulov - The great mystery. He has speed, tenacity, and skill. The problem is those traits aren't turning into points. While he may think he needs more ice time, he has to first proof that he can contribute with the ice time he gets. He has shown much improved defensive skills and is slowly developing an all around game. But he is a scorer and he needs to figure out how to get the puck in the net. I can't count how many times I have seen him do a left, right, left, right puck move and totally deek a defender, only to lose the puck by trying to put on one too many moves before he shot. He is only 21 and I still believe he will become a league leader in goals, but for the time being, he needs to focus more on his development. Grade: C+

Vernon Fiddler - He is a role player who has been given the opportunity to contribute more with additional minutes this year. He is young and could one day put up 60 points. But right now his job is to skate hard and put the puck on the net. He has the highest shot percentage on the team at .300 so of course I think he should shoot some more. He is playing good D when he needs to, but needs to take advantage of more opportunites on offense when they arrise. Grade: B-

Radek Bonk - Can you say Free Agent Pick up the Year? No one knew what to expect from Bonk. We knew he COULD score, just didn't know if he COULD score anymore. Well, he is leading our balanced offense with 9 goal. I honestly don't know where we would be without him. It seems like every goal he makes either ties the game or puts us ahead. Mr. Clutch. Could use a few more assists from him, but right now, just keep on shooting. He has totally gelled as a member of our BOS line and has helped keep oppositions top lines from scoring. Grade: A

Jordin Tootoo - Anyone can get into a fight. But only a few players in the league can totally irritate an opposing team. Tootoo is one of those players. He plays hard, some might say reckless. Unfortunetely, his 1st few years in the league stereotyped him as a dirty player. Well, he is proving a lot of people wrong this year. He is keeping his penalty minutes down, letting other team pick up the penalties, and on top of all that, he is SCORING. While his number may not impress anyone, his 5 goals have come when we needed them and his maturity has shown on the ice. Grade: A-

Martin Gelinas - 19 years in the league pretty much ensures that he understands the game. And he is playing with toughness. I don't see him putting up any scoring numbers, but our team doesn't need more scoring. We had all the scoring we could want last year and look what it got us. This years team is built for the playoffs and Gelinas is the type of player we will count on as the season progresses. He has proved to be good defensively and has made some good passes, although not many of them have turned into goals. Grade: B

Jarrod Smithson - He is the 'S' on our BOS line. While the BOS line has played well together, Smithson has been the least affective. He is sporting a +/- of -10 and only has 3 points. But his job isn't to score as much as the BOS line is our defensive line. Smithson needs to step it up defensively. Grade: C

Jed Ortmeyer - He is the O in our BOS line. Myself and most Preds fans have fallen in love with the way Jed plays. He skates fast, hits hard, and never slows down. Don't think much was expected from Jed, but given that, he has eclipsed our expectations. Grade: B-

Scott Nicol - He isn't going to play many minutes, but when he does, he, like Tootoo, is expect to wreak havoc on the opposing team. His PIM's are up considering the few minutes he plays and he isn't putting many points on the board. He probably would get graded better if it wasn't the fact that Tootoo is doing so well this year. Nicol needs to keep his head focused, don't draw stupid PIM"s and put the puck on the net. Grade: D+


Ryan Suter - He is shooting more this year, and taking advantage of his PP time while Weber was out. He still needs to work on his passing and especially his clearing of the puck. There have been a few goals scored this year by the opposing team that were a result of a Suter clearing pass right to the opposite team player. But Suter is young and is going to be one of the great D'men in the game. Grade: B-

Marek Zidlicky - No matter how hard I try, I just can't accept that Zidlicky fits into our team concept. He may be leading the D'men in scoring, but its not b/c he tried to score. Zids just does not understand the concept of shooting the puck. One timers are impossible for him. Even with the puck and a clear lane, he fakes a shot, then passes. While he has made improvements defensively, he isn't part of our shutdown D. We tried him on the PP, but it hasn't panned out. Grade: C-

Dan Hamhuis - Can you say mister everything? He plays shut down D, hits hard, stays out of the box, scores, passes. He may never excel in a specfic aspect of the game, but his overall contribution to this team is undeniable which is why he often wears the A on his jersey. Grade: B+

Greg DeVries: I honestly haven't noticed DeVries enough to evaluate him. Not sure if that is good or bad. He hasn't put up many points, but his +/- is a +6. He stays out of the box. Need more time as the season progresses to determine if he was a good addition to the team. Grade: B-

Shea Weber - Only played in 6 games due to an injury on opening night. If Weber isn't graded out at a B+ or better by the end of the season, we will have a time time either making or advancing in the playoffs. He is the best D'man we have and can bring toughness in his hits and forechecks. And nobody on the team can match his slapshot on the PP. Absolutely need him to dominate from here on out. Grade: N/A - Not enough playing time

Ville Koistinen - He has played in just over 1/2 of our games and is usually a healthy scratch. He has shown the ability to play good defensive and has a strong understanding of the game. But he is slow. Need some more time for this Rookie to develop. Grade: C+

Greg Zanon - I think he is crazy, but i guess every team has a guy like him. I would hate to think what his body looks like at the end of the season. He is either blocking a shot with his body or pounding someone into the boards. No one on the team plays tougher or without care for their body. He has earned the fans respect as well as that of his teammates. Don't expect alot of points from him, but just think of how many we would give up if we didn't have him. Grade: A-


Chris Mason - Make no mistake. We wouldn't be 10 points behind Detroit if Mason had played better in goal during our 0-7 losing streak at the beginning of the season. But to be fair, we wouldn't be only 10 points behind if he hadn't played great between the pipes in the rest of the games he has played in. He is our #1 goalie and any success we have this year will with him in the net. Mason has to play more consistant and get into that mindset he had last year. The players, coaches and fans believe in him. Now he has to believe in himself. I think he will make a huge contribution as the season progresses. Grade: B-

Dan Ellis - What can you say. We were bleeding. We had our heads down. We were almost ready to throw in the towel. And then Dan Ellis came up with 4 straight W's to end our 7 game loosing streak. Yes, Ellis got lit up with 5 goals against Ottowa the other night, but if this team makes the playoffs, everyone will look back the start of the season and the boost he gave the team. Grade: A-
December 1, 2007 11:37 PM ET | Delete
Great blog DG! My one small detail would be that you may not be giving Scott Nichol enough credit. He is our best faceoff guy, hasn't been playing emotional hockey in a bad way, and has a tendency to one of our best PK'ers each game. I'm not saying he deserves an A, but I think a D is a bit harsh. I'd personally give him a B-. Great work though. You should blog more often my friend! I appreciate you keeping the BOSs line and Mr. Clutch stuff going.......
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