The Nashville Predators made a hire today in an attempt to address their main weakness during the 2018-19 season.
It really doesn’t take a hockey expert to figure out the main reason why the Nashville Predators are sitting at home watching the Stanley Cup Final instead of playing in it. All one has to do is click onto an NHL statistics page & look at the Predators’ power play percentage for the six games they participated in during the 2018-19 postseason.
No, that isn’t a typo. Nashville had fifteen power play opportunities during their first round series with the Dallas Stars. Twenty-nine minutes & forty six seconds spread out over six games. Basically half of a game. They spent the entire time doing nothing of value. Not a darn thing.
This didn’t come as a surprise to those of us that had watched many Nashville Predators games during the 2018-19 season. They managed a pathetic 12.9% power play percentage during the regular season. The lowest by a playoff team in well over a decade. With defensemen with powerful shots like Roman Josi & P.K. Subban, and wingers like Filip Forsberg & Viktor Arvidsson with a knack for putting the puck in the net, the Predators managed to fail miserably at scoring with a man advantage.
If you’re like me, you’ve been sitting here for several months wondering how it’s possible. How can the Nashville Predators be so miserable on the power play? How was this not addressed at any point during the season? Had the Predators scraped together a couple of power play goals during the Dallas series like most other playoff teams managed to, how far they could have advanced?
We’ll never know. Fortunately, Nashville made a hiring today that should alleviate these problems for the 2019-20 season.
Who is Dan Lambert?
Dan Lambert (pronounced lam-BAIR) was drafted in the sixth round of the 1989 NHL Draft by the Quebec Nordiques as a defenseman. He spent the majority of his playing career in Germany after bouncing around the NHL, AHL, IHL & Finland. Once he finished playing, he hopped into coaching. He had a stint with the Buffalo Sabres as an assistant coach in 2015-16, then coaching their AHL team, the Rochester Americans, in 2016-17.
Before that, he spent some time in junior hockey. He coached Colton Sissons on the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets from 2010-13, when Sissons caught David Poile’s eye. Sissons wasn’t the only Predator he crossed paths with. He coached Dante Fabbro during the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The man’s seen & done some things. What he did that’s most important to Nashville Predators fans was on full display during the 2018-19 season he spent as head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs made it to the Western Conference Final, but we’re not really concerned with that. What interests us is the fact that Spokane’s power play led the WHL last season, and was one of the league’s best over the past decade.
Let’s be honest: The Fang Fingers taunt didn’t mean a whole lot last season. Opposing teams yawned at it, because they knew the Predators weren’t going to score. If they did, somebody messed up. Lambert was hired for this reason, David Poile didn’t beat around the bush in saying so.
"“Having enjoyed a lengthy career as a player and now a coach, he has had success at every level running the power play, and we look forward to adding his knowledge and insight in this area to the organization.”"
We all know that the Nashville Predators are going to make some moves heading into next season. Their first one is an absolute success, as anybody else setting strategy for a power play would be better than whoever did it last season.