Monday, February 18, 2013
Big boost for the Preds?
By Luke Lapinski
The Nashville Predators have been on a nice run of late, going 6-1-2 in their last nine to jump into the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference standings. That run has been built almost exclusively on strong goaltending and solid defensive play though. And now it appears Barry Trotz will have one of his top offensive weapons to work with very soon.
According to John Glennon of the Tennessean, Patric Hornqvist is "probable" for the Preds when they visit Colorado today. Whether he ends up playing against the Avalanche or not, that label certainly indicates that he's very close to returning from the knee injury that has sidelined him since Jan. 26. Just how big is his return? Some very basic numbers should answer that question. Hornqvist has averaged 26 goals per season over his three full years in the league -- the best on Nashville in that span. Without him, the Predators have dipped to 1.87 goals per game this year -- by far the worst in the NHL. Not only does his return likely mean more goals from Hornqvist himself, it could mean more opportunities for teammates due to his willingness to be a presence in front of the opposing net.