He may not boast eye-popping statistics or flashy moves, but Vern Fiddler has been a popular player in Nashville for more than just his fortuitous last name. As he heads to the open market, apparently to sign with a new team, what might people expect out of him?
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Vern had a rough go of things this year at Even Strength, as the following from Behind the Net shows:
In a nutshell, compared against the other 3rd- and 4th-line centers on the team, Vern offensive output was in the same general range, but Goals Against stood out pretty badly. One thing you can give him credit for, however, is some usually disciplined play. His Penalty Plus/Minus of +9 is a decent figure for a support-role player.
He does have a tendency to go offsides quite a bit, however. Expect that to drive some fans nuts...
Vern gets less than a minute of PP ice time per game, but when injury strikes he tends to get some more work there. He hustles and "punches above his weight" when it comes to battling along the boards, but he's not someone you'd want as part of your regular unit.
A staple of the generally excellent Nashville PK group, Fiddler actually had a bit of an off year on this front. His GA/60 was 6.58, roughly double the level at which guys like Smithson, Erat and Ward were. I expect whereever he lands, Fiddler will still log plenty of PK time.
Vern is like a Swiss Army Knife, he's a player that Barry Trotz feels comfortable using in a variety of roles. He's a good soldier, and while he's not the type who jumps out as helping win any one particular game, he's the kind of player who definitely helps a team get through the long haul of an 82-game regular season.
No Vern Fiddler profile would be complete, by the way, without a sneak peak of what you can expect from Vern in the shootout - he has only one move he ever seems to use in that situation, a deke to the backhand for a roof shot that, when he puts it on net, is pretty deadly. Here's an example, taken from a penalty shot he had against the Flames last season: