Last week Nashville Predators Head Coach John Hynes made a questionable decision by scratching Rocco Grimaldi hours before their matchup with the Dallas Stars. He would return the next game, but has now been scratched in the three since.
Few understand why Grimaldi is or ever was out of the lineup, and frankly, few like the decision. The Nashville faithful are rightfully confused, because Grimaldi is a solid player who makes valuable contributions for the Nashville Predators.
Here is what the team is missing in their bottom-six winger’s absence.
Grit and Tenacity for Nashville Predators
When you look at Grimaldi, you might think that someone of his size wouldn’t be able to succeed at the NHL level. He may be smaller than everyone else out there, but makes about as big of an effort as anyone.
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He gives 110 percent every time he is on the ice, and with the way he improved his shot throughout last year, you could tell how hard he works.
The results have backed up Grimaldi’s efforts, as he has made his mark as an NHL caliber player and become arguably the team’s best bottom-six forward.
This is a player who could be especially useful at the end of games, because the Predators have been forced to dig serious holes in many of the ones they have played this year.
While the Predators’ ability to not quit and get better throughout has been a bright spot, would it not plausible to assume that one of their best effort players might make a difference?
The team’s character has been shown to be strong in some important areas, but it could be made better, and that is exactly what Grimaldi would bring were he not being scratched.
Individual Offensive Skills
It’s no secret that one of the biggest issues on the Predators is offensive production. One of the major reasons for that is their passing has been lousy, and Grimaldi would be a huge help on such a team.
Not necessarily for his passing abilities, which he is just fine at, but for what he is capable of with the puck on his stick. Not only does he have incredible speed, but he is very smooth with the puck and has scored some nifty goals as a result.
in a Predators uniform showcased his skill before anyone knew it.
Grimaldi might not be able to carry a team or come even close to it, but any help is appreciated for an offense that is struggling. His presence would help the team adapt to their limited offense, because their inability to pass well is holding them back.
While they (hopefully) try to improve their flaws in practice, Grimaldi would be an especially useful short term piece because of his individual talent. And he would still be incredibly useful in a better passing offense.
Noticeably a Top Twelve Forward
What Grimaldi would be most useful for at this particular moment is a matter of circumstance that could change throughout the season. What I do not see changing is that twelve forwards within the Predators’ system become better than him.
Grimaldi definitely cannot fill a center position, and Mathieu Olivier has earned his spot in the lineup recently, but how has Yakov Trenin done enough to earn a lineup spot over Grimaldi? It makes little sense, and this is why Hynes’ puzzled so many with this move.
Hopefully Grimaldi is back where he belongs next game, but given Hynes’ history of questionable roster moves, I would not count on it.