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: Marcel Goc.
Along with Francis Bouillon, Marcel Goc was the second of David Poile's bargain bin finds near the end of free agency last year. The San Jose Sharks had acquired depth centers Manny Malhotra and former Pred Scott Nichol, making Marcel expendable. He performed so far above expectations, that we were at one point considering him a possible answer to the Preds' power play woes. So really, here's to you, Doug Wilson. Goc ya!
The development of Colin Wilson and acquisition of Matthew Lombardi have muddied the waters at center, though, so it will be intriguing to see how Barry Trotz makes use of the versatile pivot in 2010-11.
We'll examine the possibilities for Goc's 2010-11 season after the jump.
4th line center/faceoff specialist. As mentioned above, Lombardi and Wilson presumably push Goc down a spot from last year, meaning that instead of Martin Erat and Patric Hornqvist, he'll probably be given some combination of Jordin Tootoo, Joel Ward, Jerred Smithson, or Jonas Andersson. Its a good problem to have for the Predators, however, because Goc is a player who excelled with the duties he was given in 09-10, and his presence will make the fourth line respectable. Barry Trotz would likely have no qualms rolling out a line of Smithson/Goc/Ward in an important defensive situation.
With fewer offensive duties, the Predators need Goc to win over 50% of his draws and play on the penalty kill. Increased scoring would be a bonus with linemates such as Smithson and Tootoo, but there will probably be spot shootout duty.
One year, $775,000. Pure mastery from David Poile, who went ahead and re-signed Goc way back in January. Perhaps the most cost-effective player on the Predators' roster.
Goc played in 73 games, potting 12 goals to go along with 18 assists. He finished the year with just 14 penalty minutes and a +10. 30 points from what was at the time a $550,000 player? I don't think anyone could've asked for anything more than that.
Looking at the Predators' roster and where Goc might fit, its hard to see him increasing his statistical productivity in 2010-11. There's a chance he becomes more valuable defensively, but lets mark him down for 10 goals and 14 assists in the coming season.