Nashville Hockey 2010 Edition Part 3.3: Meet the Men in the Middle

by Jas Faulkner, Nashville Correspondent

Last but certainly not least in this section devoted to the Predators Roster are the centers.  Flanked by the hottest wings in the NHL,  these seven men face off against some of the toughest players on the continent.  Some of them are figurative places of calm in the eyes of the storms their lines can generate, others are breakout personalities who can be depended upon to ramp up the game. Time to meet The Glare, The Showman, Karma’s Favorite Son, The Last of the First Gen and the rest of Nashville’s center corps.

Marcel Goc One of the sweetest moments last season was seeing Goc get his first goal as a Predator against his old team in San Jose.  It wasn’t about revenge. There was no point to be proven.  It was a confluence of the right thing happening at right place and the right time  asserting to the hockey cosmos that  Goc’s move to Nashville did not constitute relegation to The Island of Misfit Toys.  It was sports karma at its best.  2009/2010 saw him hit some career highs in Nashville.  Don’t count on his numbers staying where they are now.  He’s raised the bar, so look for even greater things from him this year.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS
SeasonGPGAP+/-PIMPPSHGWSS%
Regular Season73121830101400111810.2
LEAGUE RANK278th210th253rd244th75th598th383rd134th264th270th265th
Playoff Stats6011-22000130.0
LEAGUE RANK180th191st161st205th245th207th83rd13th68th155th191st

David Legwand Legwand was Nashville’s first draft pick.  Ever.  As the remaining First Gen Predator, he still leads the team both in numbers and as part of the group when the blades meet the ice.   At 30, he is hitting his prime as a player.  During team practice earlier this month, he and Sullivan were the undisputed leaders.  He can be  remarkably centered during game time, a perfect fit for a team where there’s room for everything but ego.  On a personal note, he’s on my short list of players I want to see hoist the cup at least once.   This year looks good.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS
SeasonGPGAP+/-PIMPPSHGWSS%
Regular Season82112738-5240131517.3
LEAGUE RANK2nd222nd137th172nd652nd473rd383rd41st100th173rd419th
Playoff Stats6257580011612.5
LEAGUE RANK180th73rd52nd64th24th74th83rd13th14th128th81st

Matthew Lombardi One of David Poile’s summer acquisitions, Lombardi’s inclusion in the Pride was the cause of quite a bit of excitement in Nashville and no small amount of consternation in Phoenix.  His stats show this former Desert Dog turned Big Toothy Cat has a lot to offer.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS
SeasonGPGAP+/-PIMPPSHGWSS%
Regular Season7819345383640217410.9
LEAGUE RANK179th111th74th78th99th324th147th134th168th116th224th
Playoff Stats715622000195.3
LEAGUE RANK147th115th52nd76th60th207th83rd13th68th109th166th

Jamie Lundmark Poile may very disprove that old saying about lightning striking twice  when he took  Lundmark away from the Maple Leafs earlier this year.  From Original Six to a part of the Sunbelt Experiment, word is that Lundmark is adjusting quite well down here in the land of sunshine and deep-fried musical turpitude.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS
SeasonGPGAP+/-PIMPPSHGWSS%
Regular Season365712-720101529.6
LEAGUE RANK602nd387th497th481st713th526th289th134th264th514th299th

Cal O’Reilly O’Reilly spent the last two seasons dancing the Admirals/Big Cats shuffle between Nashville and Milwaukee.   The Predators official website referred to his last recall north as his “fourth and final”.  We’re holding them to their word on this. O’Reilly has proven he’s worthy of a permanent place at the Den.  It’s time.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS
SeasonGPGAP+/-PIMPPSHGWSS%
Regular Season31291114100238.7
LEAGUE RANK619th527th436th492nd283rd715th289th134th432nd637th341st

Jerred Smithson When I showed my nephew, Cory,  a picture of Smithson on the bench, his first response was, “He needs a hug.”   The patented Smithson Death Glare followed everything from stints in the Sin Bin to celebrations after lighting the lantern.  He made it clear he was out there to win, or at least leave the opposing team with some lingering awareness that they’d spent some time on the ice with the Predators.  It wasn’t all for show or to teach lessons, though.  He hit a couple of career highs in 09/10.  That should give him something to smile about.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS

SeasonGPGAP+/-PIMPPSHGWSS%
Regular Season699413-4540215416.7
LEAGUE RANK337th279th582nd463rd614th177th383rd13th264th500th36th
Playoff Stats6101-16000520.0
LEAGUE RANK180th115th231st205th185th98th83rd13th68th239th30th

Colin Wilson Even when the Boys in Black and Blue are wearing practice jerseys, its easy to pick Wilson out in the crowd. He’s the one playing “Follow the Bouncing Puck” as he defies gravity by continually bouncing a puck on the blade of his stick while waiting for things to get underway.  All of this is cute and fun and it makes him a standout when the puck isn’t in play.  When it is?  This legacy NHL player who was a first round pick for Poile and company during the 2008 draft garnered kudos as a rookie of the month and more than a little respect for his performance come playoff time.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS

SeasonGPGAP+/-PIMPPSHGWSS%
Regular Season358715-271035813.8
LEAGUE RANK610th303rd497th420th489th682nd289th134th100th486th93rd
Playoff Stats6011-1000080.0
LEAGUE RANK180th191st161st205th185th273rd83rd13th68th204th191st

And now you’ve met your Nashville Predators!

Coming up soon…Meet Nashville’s best hockey bloggers! After that, we’ll chat with some of the people who call the games for fans online and on the air.

See ya here, at the ‘Stone, on Facebook and on Twitter!


Jas Faulkner

JasFaulkner

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