Why Predators Fans Should Be Excited About the Emergence of Zach L'Heureux

Milwaukee Admirals v Rockford Icehogs
Milwaukee Admirals v Rockford Icehogs / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

Although the post season ended rather quickly for the Nashville Predators, their affiliate AHL team, the Milwaukee Admirals, have advanced to the division finals of the Calder Cup Playoffs. After going down two games to none, hopes of advancing were slim for the desperate Admirals team. But with some quick offensive firepower from one young forward, the team was able to win three straight games, and have kept their playoff hopes alive for a little while longer. 

This young forward is none other than Predators 2021 first round draft pick, Zachary L'Heureux. L'Heureux is best known for his physicality but has been able to be sneaky when creating offensive chances, which led to his two goals in just the first minute of their series clinching game on May 12. 

Before playing for the Admirals, L'Heureux tallied more than a point per game in all three seasons with the Halifax Mooseheads, including tallying 26 points in 20 games in their 2022-23 playoffs. 

L'Heureux has erupted in first season with Milwaukee Admirals

As soon as L'Heureux started playing for the Admirals, his physicality was something that caught everyone’s attention very quickly. His ability to separate opposing players from the puck has been what has helped him create these offensive chances that he has gotten, but his physicality and temper have occasionally gotten him into trouble. 

The 20 year old has been suspended twice this season for cheap shots and starting brawls with less than 5 minutes left in a game. He also received two 10 minute misconducts in his first three games with the Admirals, not to mention his nine suspensions in his time with the QMJHL. 

It seems as though he has found a way to get his temper under control during the second half of the season, as he has found a way to use his physicality to benefit the entire team, rather than a hindrance. This is a huge testament to the coaching staff in Milwaukee, as they have kept everything that was working for L'Heureux, but have been able to teach him the right place and time to use these unique skills he has. 

L'Heureux has certainly come into his play, as he now has six goals and 10 points in just six playoff games. For a team that had been struggling to score in their first two games, L'Heureux was the spark that the team needed to close out the series. His tenacity and ability to change the pace of a game is something that is hugely important in playoff series, and is, in my opinion, the main reason the team was able to nurture this massive come from behind series win.

I would not be surprised if we see L'Heureux join the Nashville Predators at the start of the season, or at least called up at some point during the 2024-25 season. Predators head coach Andrew Brunette and General Manager Barry Trotz have both emphasized that they want the team to get younger and faster, and are certainly aware of the lack of offensive depth within the team. 

L'Heureux could very well be a key element to the Nashville Predators next season, as he has all of the attributes that all of the coaching staff have been emphasizing throughout the season and heading into the off season. His progress during training camp will be something that everyone should be watching very closely, as he is one of the key elements to the future of the Predators organization. 

Depending on what he is able to showcase to the coaching staff, we very well might see L'Heureux make a dent in the NHL next season, and playing with other fast offensive players such as Luke Evangelista and Tommy Novak will be extremely exciting for all fans to watch over the next few seasons.