Right from the start of training camp, Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz has been willing to give Mike Santorelli a shot at the 2nd-line left wing spot alongside David Legwand and Martin Erat. A natural center who notched 70 points in 70 AHL games last year, Santorelli has been moved over to the wing in an attempt to find his best fit as an NHL player.
With all the talk of the Preds pursuing Phil Kessel, however, it would appear that David Poile is looking at a big-ticket solution to Nashville's scoring problems.
So how did Santo respond in today's Silver/Blue scrimmage? He stepped up with 3 goals (correction... 2 goals!) for the Blue team in a 5-4 loss to the Silver, making a strong case for at least a continued run on the 2nd line as the pre-season games begin tomorrow night against Atlanta. My only concern here is if, just like that fluky week of dynamite offense right before the trade deadline, a good run of short-term performance convinces the Predators front office that they don't need to acquire proven talent from outside the organization.
After the jump, I have a few other observations from this morning's action...
- The top line of Sullivan-Arnott-Dumont looked crisp. Their timing and spacing worked to good effect as they supported each other on the puck, and set up several good scoring chances. Sully scored off one such play, firing a one-timer from between the circles to beat Dan Ellis (a good example of trash talk backed up).
- Dumont appeared to labor on more than one occasion with his right leg. Others have noted similar concerns in recent days, but since he's continuing to play on it, hopefully it's a minor issue that will resolve itself soon. I can't imagine that if it was serious he'd be skating on it 2.5 weeks before the regular season starts.
- Jordin Tootoo added some comedy when he missed a check and tumbled into the Silver bench. From the stands, all we could see were his legs kicking in the air for a few seconds.
- Colin Wilson looked surprisingly attentive in his own zone for a young player; while a lengthy scrum along the boards was going on, he picked up opposing forwards moving to the crease or the weak side of the net several times.
- Nolan Yonkman is one big dude. If he gets called up during the season for some spot duty on the 3rd pair, I'd be OK with that.
- One guy who I had to see in the flesh before I remembered that he was still on the team? Patric Hornqvist. After hearing so much about his having tied Peter Forsberg's rookie goal-scoring record in the Swedish Elite League, he really hasn't done much on this side of the Atlantic, yet. At age 22, however, it's time for him to make some serious noise down in the AHL.
- It sounds like a major Preds-related person is going to join the Twitter-verse quite soon, so stay tuned for further details there.
UPDATE: John Glennon has his take on the morning session as well. Kudos to him for the multiple stories and blogs he's been filing daily during training camp! He also includes word as to what David Poile is offering up to Boston for Phil Kessel...
Which of the following current Predators would you like to see on the second line alongside Legwand & Erat?
Ryan Jones (10 votes)
Mike Santorelli (49 votes)
Joel Ward (22 votes)
other (20 votes)
101 total votes