Breaking Down the Status Quo
One of the biggest frustrations I come across from other Predators fans is overpaid players not living up to their contracts and subsequent playing time. It was a major criticism of David Poile during his tenure, and now we’re all anxious to see how Trotz will address underperforming veterans.
This quote from Trotz in regards to veterans and finding a place in next year’s lineup was very interesting:
"“Some of the older players may not get some of the minutes that they did in the past, so they’ve got to sort of remake themselves a little bit and find their role”"
Now that’s what I call being honest and unfiltered. Trotz is basically being blunt here and putting the veterans on notice, as if they didn’t already get that message at the trade deadline when the front office parted ways with four key players while in the midst of a playoff race.
The player who sticks out the most when thinking about veterans and their place in the lineup is undoubtedly Ryan Johansen.
After suffering an injury to his leg from a skate blade in late February, it put more pressure on Glass to produce as a top-six center, and paved the way for Evangelista to make his NHL debut on February 28 and go on to notch 15 points in 24 games.
The challenge in training camp is going to be resisting the urge to fall back to the status quo, and that’s not just directed at Johansen. But quite frankly, the team has already gotten pretty young after the trade deadline, at least among their forwards.
Filip Forsberg isn’t going anywhere and will be the centerpiece at the top, as will Matt Duchene. After that, it really comes down to what happens with Johansen? That’s what I take from this quote from Trotz.
Trotz can’t be afraid to take chances and shape this team with young players who are hungry and can change how this team finds success. That means not going after recycled veterans in the offseason.
We can’t see the same old rerun we saw with Poile of being just good enough to make the playoffs, but a gap the size of the Grand Canyon away from the elite teams.