Now that the NHL lockout is over, it’s time to take a look at who’s actually going to be hitting the ice for Nashville during the truncated 2013 season. This article looks at all the forwards who are currently on the Nashville Predators 2013 roster.
Nashville Predators 2013 Roster: The Forwards
Three of the Nashville’s most experienced players are centers. Though Mike Fisher, David Legwand, and Paul Gaustad aren’t the flashiest offensive producers in the league, they still chip in enough offense the make them a threat. More improtantly, they help to anchor the team with a defensive responsibility that fits Coach Barry Trotz’s system to a T.
Trotz isn’t tolerant of centers who can’t handle the extra defensive responsibilities of playing center at the NHL level. Most of the younger guys here are more likely to play on the wing than at center, though Nick Spaling earned the coaches’ trust enough to center the fourth line most of last year and can be expected to resume that role. Colin Wilson and Craig Smith will both be expected to step up their contributions, with more pressure on Wilson since he’s been with the team longer. And Chris Mueller will spend most of his time in Milwaukee, but in the event of an injury on the NHL squad he should get call-up in place of some of the younger players who need more time to develop.
The Preds are a little short on natural left wingers, but the two they have are good ones. I might not expect Sergei Kostitsyn to lead the team in scoring, but his speed makes him dangerous and if he shoots more often than he did in the past he might just prove my prediction wrong. Gabriel Bourque was an unexpectedly reliable contributor last season and even spent some occasional time on the top line when other players weren’t producing. As for the filling in the left wing spot further down the lineup, that’s where the embarrassment of riches at center comes in handy.
Martin Erat has been on the right wing here in Nashville for more than a decade at this point, and he’s been one of the team’s most consistent point producers during that time. Erat may never have scored more than the 58 points he put up last season, but he also hasn’t scored less than 49 in a year since 2002-03. Meanwhile, Patric Hornqvist’s penchant for crowding opposing goalies has led to 80 goals for Nashville since 2009. There’s not much more offensive punch on the right wing for the Preds aside from the occasional Matt Halischuk goal, but there are plenty of options for Barry Trotz to throw on a grind line when the top players need some rest.
That’s it for the forwards on the Nashville Predators 2013 roster. I’ll have a look at the team’s defensemen and goalies coming up next.