In the weeks leading up to the upcoming season, we'll preview the Nashville Predators on a player-by-player basis, examining their role on the squad and expectations relative to capabilities. So come along for the ride as we look ahead to 2010-11, from Andersson to Wilson. Next up: Francis Bouillon.
Francis Bouillon went into 2009-10 burdened with very little expectation - he was signed near the beginning of the year, and as an insurance policy to younger players such as Kevin Klein and Cody Franson. I'd be lying if I told you I thought he would perform as admirably as he did. We'll take a look at his upcoming campaign after the jump.
By my count, 4th defenseman. Kevin Klein should be ready to step into the role occupied by Dan Hamhuis last year, so 'The Cube' will slide up a spot, even if it means he covers for Franson on the third pair.
Two years, $2.7 million. It was a well-deserved extension from David Poile, as Bouillon ended the year preferable to Klein in crunch time and on occasion outperforming more well-regarded players like Hamhuis.
loss departure of Hamhuis, Francis' tasks will be increased in importance and quantity this year. Expect heavy penalty kill duty for Bouillon and 19:00+/- a night, likely in a 2nd pair situation. The Predators don't need much scoring from Bouillon, but a slight increase in last year's production would not be unwelcome.
First, this thing of beauty:
Bouillon played in 81 games last year, scoring 3 goals to go with 8 assists. He compiled 50 penalty minutes while averaging 19:18 minutes on ice.
With a larger role and better partner, I think we might see a slight improvement in Bouillon's play over the course of 82 games. It remains to be seen who Barry Trotz pairs him up with, so any prediction is merely guesswork. That said, I'll go with 4 goals and 12 assists from The Cube.