Jeremy Lauzon Becoming a Valuable Contributor for Nashville Predators

As the NHL leader in hits, Jeremy Lauzon has become more than just a brawler for the Predators defense.
Jan 15, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Jeremy Lauzon (3) shoots
Jan 15, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Jeremy Lauzon (3) shoots / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators acquired Jeremy Lauzon at the 2022 trade deadline, and many thought of the move as an overpay for a guy who would not justify the cost. Despite the negative sentiment, former General Manager David Poile doubled down and re-signed him to a four-year contract, and things especially did not start out well on that front.

Lauzon looked lost a lot of the times, and he was another one of those guys who seemed to provide nothing but hits, which had become a redundant theme for the Predators. But he started to stabilize his play as the 2022-23 season went on, and has carried that over into this year.

He has been solid for the Predators in the 2023-24 season, largely refraining from sloppy plays while maintaining his identity as a bruising, physical player. He has gone from someone who many originally thought of as maybe a liability, to an underrated asset for the present and future.

Jeremy Lauzon is making a case as a building block for Predators

While improving his play in other areas of the game, Lauzon has not only kept up in those he is known to be best at, he has excelled at them. When it comes to hits especially, he is blowing the rest of the league out of the water.

Lauzon already has 180 hits in 46 games, and there is a difference of 44 between him and Dakota Joshua, who is second in that department. Any member of the opposition absolutely has to have his head up when on the ice against Lauzon, and Alexandre Carrier has talked about how it makes him such a joy to play alongside.

Lauzon has also fought six times this season, which is tied for third most in the entire league. He is just that guy who lays his body on the line to protect his team, and you have to appreciate his effectiveness to do so and how he has legitimately gained the respect of his opponents.

As far as his the rest of his play goes, his overall defense has become much more sound than it was in his previous years on the Predators. Lauzon has been neutralizing offense in his own zone, and is relied on to do that in multiple ways.

He is an adequate enough skater to where he can neutralize offense in transition, and can stay at home, as he plays lots of time on the penalty kill. He does critical work to keep the puck out of his own net, and it shows, as he is on pace for a career high in blocked shots with 67 so far.

Offensively, Lauzon is still not doing much, but for what it is worth, he already has a career high in goals scored with four on the year. He also does have a cannon of a shot, and it would be cool if shot more, but the offense is just not a big part of his game, and that is fine.

Something else to point out is that while his penalty minutes are high by normal standards, the penalties are something you have to live with for a player like Lauzon. For as often as he is dishing out hits -- considerably more than anyone else in the league -- he only has 58 penalty minutes on the year, and a full twelve other players have logged more time than that.


And that is with Lauzon being tied for third in the league in fighting majors, and such fights accounting for 30 of his penalty minutes. So if you take out the fights, he only has 28 minutes, which is not an alarming number in the slightest.

Lauzon is not perfect and he will take some unnecessary penalties from time to time, once again you just have to live with that due to how he plays. But all in all, the amount of time he is penalized is not unreasonable, especially with how far ahead of everyone he is in hits.

Lauzon has become well rounded this year, as he has still been extremely physical and a pain in the opponent's side, he is playing good defense, and has not been a liability. He has been an incredible role player, and at age 26, he might just be entering his best years of hockey.

Most teams who go far in the playoffs are balanced, and that includes having a guy like Lauzon who scares the opposition from taking liberties. Considering his age and that he has two more full years under contract with the Predators after this one, there is certainly reason to think that he could be a long-term piece, and it would be welcomes if he continues to play like he has this season.