The Hockey Writers Nashville Predators staff writer Colin Fitts will evaluate the performance of each player on the 2014-15 Predators roster every weekday in alphabetical order. You can follow Colin on Twitter, @FittsTHW.
Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 223 lbs
Stat Line: 73 GP, 4 G, 10 A, 14 PTS, +7 +/-, 60 PIM, 143 hits, 58 blocked shots, 56.4% face-off, 12:26 AVG TOI
Playoffs Stat Line: 6 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, -1 +/-, 22 PIM, 19 hits, 5 blocked shots, 56% face-off, 15:56 AVG TOI
*Points at Home vs Away: Home – 2 G, 6 A | Away – 2 G, 4 A
*Face-off percentage Home vs Away: Home – 59.26% | Away – 52.70%
*Giveaway/Takeaway Correlation: 10 giveaways, 19 takeaways
Contract Status: 1 year remaining on a 4-year, $13 million contract ($3.25 million cap hit in 2014-15)
Highlight of the Year: Paul Gaustad’s best game of the 2014-15 campaign was in Nashville’s second game of the season. He recorded a ‘Gordie Howe Hat Trick,’ which included the game-winning goal, in a 4-1 win on October 11 against the Dallas Stars.
Strengths: There are many positive assets to Gaustad’s game, but the reason he makes $3.25 million per year is to be Nashville’s face-off guy. Last season, he led the team and finished in the top ten among all NHL-ers face-off wins (56.4%). On March 21 against the Buffalo Sabres, he went a perfect 13-for-13 in the face-off dot. He was also heavily relied on in shorthanded situations racking up the second highest time on ice among Nashville forwards while on the penalty kill (2:15). Lastly, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that Gaustad plays a physical style with his large 6-foot-5, 223 lbs frame. His 143 hits led all Preds forwards.
Weaknesses: What you see is what you get from Paul Gaustad. He has never had a goal-scoring role in Nashville and never will, so expecting him to put up near 30-point seasons like he used to do in Buffalo is far-fetched.
What to Expect Next Season: Gaustad is going to be an unrestricted free agent following the 2015-16 season. Seeking a similar 4-year, $13 million contract, expect Gaustad to increase his offensive numbers next year and once again be a 20-point scorer.
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Colin Fitts is a Nashville Predators staff writer and is a credentialed media member of the Chicago Wolves. From Nashville, Tennessee, Colin majors in journalism and public relations at Columbia College Chicago. Follow him on Twitter, @FittsTHW. Email: 22fitts [at] gmail [dot] com.