Predators News and Notes

By Brian Roe

Walker Needs To Be Moved, But Not to Another Team

The emergence of Scott Walker, an original Predator expansion draft choice, was one of the more bright spots of last season. The Preds were counting on Walker to repeat, and perhaps even better, the success that he achieved last season. At the halfway point in the NHL season Walker has missed a significant number of games, but missed even more opportunities to shine as a star for the Predators. Walker has 4 goals, 5 assists putting him on pace for a whopping 18 total points this season.

He had more total goals last season. So many ask, why such a drop-off in terms of offensive production – the nemesis of the Nashville team? One reason could be injuries. Everyone gets injured at some point in time in the NHL and time is honestly the only healing power. Another reason could be teams focusing in more on him this season after a breakout season last year.

These two points are valid, but I believe there is different reasoning behind this nagging problem for the Preds and I also have the solution. Okay, it’s story time. Way back before the Predators even existed as a franchise there was an undersized, hardworking defensemen named Scott Walker. Walker worked his way up through the Vancouver Canucks system and eventually earned a spot on the team on the checking line and as an emergency defensemen. When the Predators brought Walker to Nashville, they stuck to the recent and left him alone at forward. I propose the team at least try him out on the blueline. First-of-all, he has had experience with this position before, so the transition won’t be as difficult. As a defensemen, Walker could also put more emphasis on the strengths of his game – body checking and controlling the play of the other team. By moving Walker to defense, the team would also improve offensively because the move would put a more offensive defensemen on the ice.

The position is similar to point forward in basketball. If you don’t believe this move works then look a few positions up in the standings and you will see the Detroit Red Wings happily sitting on 80 points. The Red Wings moved Sergei Fedorov to defensemen earlier in the season. Fedorov, a pure combo of speed and skill, was not in favor of the move but played the position very well none-the-less. By moving Walker to the blueline, the Preds could solve some of their defensive woes and maybe even jumpstart Walker’s game. So, as the trading deadline in the NHL approaches one move I am hoping for is a change of position, not a change of uniform for Scott Walker.

Admirals Top Goal Scorers

Steve Dubinsky, 18
Jason Goulet, 12
Martin Bartek, 9
Jonas Andersson, 9

Random Thoughts …

–Next season look for Adam Hall to break the Preds roster and make serious contributions towards a Nashville playoff run.

–Is being too flexible a bad thing? It is if you are named Brian Finley. Finley has been haunted the past couple of seasons by injuries related to being “over flexible.”

–Before any kind of Ken Hitchcock rumors get started, it should be affirmed that Nashville is not going to be his destination. The Preds have, wisely, put their trust in the hands of Barry Trotz. However, Hitch could be a good fit with another young team in Atlanta.

–Speaking of Atlanta, if the Thrashers keep drafting the way they have the last two years, then the Thrashers will be a playoff team before Nashville. First round draft pick Ilja Kovalachuk, 18, is on pace to score 50 goals this season!