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.
Position: Left wing
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 203lbs
Stat Line: 62 GP, 8 G, 8 A, 16 PTS, -4 +/-, 18 PIMS, 61 hits, 23 blocked shots, 50% face-offs (5-for-10), 11:55 AVG TOI
Playoffs Stat Line: 5 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, -2 +/-, 2 PIMS, 14 hits, 9 blocked shots, 12:55 AVG TOI
*Points at Home vs Away: Home – 3 G, 2 A | Away – 5 G, 6 A
*Giveaway/Takeaway Correlation: 10 giveaways, 15 takeaways
Contract Status: Restricted free agent ($550,000 cap hit in 2014-15)
Highlight of the Year: As anyone in the United States can tell you, hockey is rarely featured on “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.” However, ESPN’s SportsCenter had to make an exception on their Top 10 Plays segment by adding Taylor Beck’s no-look, behind-the-back, on his knees assist as the second top play on March 2.
Strengths: One thing is for sure about Taylor Beck — he has tons of upside. Playing in his first full NHL season in 2014-15, Beck has proven he belongs. He is not shy of contact and has a knack for scoring. He has the potential to be a top-6 forward in the NHL, but has yet to be given a fair chance on the top two lines in Nashville.
Weaknesses: Clearly, Beck has the skill makeup that does not belong on an fourth line in the NHL. Until he reaches that point of being a consistent scorer, Beck will continue to be bottom-6 forward. He proved he was a scorer in 2013-14 with the Milwaukee Admirals by tallying 17 goals and 49 points in 65 games.
What to Expect Next Season: With only five forwards under contract next season, it will be compelling to see how general manager David Poile approaches his forwards this summer. Beck has a lot of upside, and it will be incredibly hard to look away from his potential if you’re the Predators. After already signing a one-year deal last year, he will be looking for something more long-term. If he does stay in Nashville, however, Beck should hit the 25-point mark and score 10-15 goals next season.
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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.