Three games and three points are what he will be remembered for, but Frederick Gaudreau never met the hype. The Nashville Predators need to move on.
“The sky takes on shades of orange during sunrise and sunset, the colour that gives hope the sun will set only to rise again.” Thus says Indian actor Ram Charan. While the words are beautiful and pregnant with hope, it speaks of an ending leading to a new beginning. It is a place the Nashville Predators find themselves in currently.
The career of one Frederick Gaudreau has been filled with hope yet never reaching the potential shown. It started with a flashpoint. Gaudreau is one of two players to score their first three NHL career goals during the Stanley Cup Final. So far, those are the only three goals he had tallied.
In three seasons, Gaudreau has amassed four points in 37 games, including tonight’s action against the Anaheim Ducks so far. There are three players on the Nashville Predators’ roster who hold negative ratings in the plus/minus stat. Gaudreau is one of those, with a -3 rating. Certainly not how he hoped to start the season.
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Predators fans desire to see Gaudreau snap out of his NHL funk. His performance in the 2017 Stanley Cup certainly inspired hope in fans. Two consecutive seasons with 42 or more points in Milwaukee only added to this hope Gaudreau would step up and contribute goals. It has not been that way.
Not all of this is his fault. On the current season, Gaudreau is relegated to the Predators’ fourth line, being deployed in the offensive zone only 23% of the time. Still, he only has four shots on goal and winning 30% of his faceoffs. Not what you want to see from a center. His 42% CorsiFor rating during 5v5 is lowest on the team.
Can Gaudreau turn things around? Possibly. But there is a logjam of centers ahead of him on the Nashville Predators’ roster. Ryan Johansen and Kyle Turris are not going anywhere soon. Nick Bonino may not be scoring goals, but his defensive ability is proving crucial. Then, Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok take turns with the fourth line.
For the Predators, there is a need to make room on the roster for others. For better or worse, Austin Watson is available to return later this week. While they do not have to make a roster move in order to add Watson, when Viktor Arvidsson returns, someone will have to go. Cases can be made for Zac Rinaldo and Rocco Grimaldi to stay.
The sun set on Pontus Aberg‘s time with the Predators, and now he is leading the Ducks in goals. Gaudreau is not waiver-except, so sending him down to Milwaukee will only open him up for a new team. He still has another year on his contract, giving him a chance to prove himself. He worked to be an undrafted player to make the NHL. He can do it again.
While I would love to see him stay in Nashville, it is time for the Predators to move on from Gaudreau and let his sun rise with a new team.