Hot on the heels of Jim Diamond's report on possible Montreal-Nashville trade talks, fans have begun speculating about possible deals between the two teams. Many of these theories involve J.P. Dumont getting traded, based on a few glaringly obvious reasons - his offensive production has plummeted over the last year, his salary ($4 million per season through 2011-12) is among the highest on the team, and of course he's a French-Canadian from Montreal, so there's the homecoming angle at work, too.
But is he really a guy that the Nashville Predators are looking to get rid of?
Follow after the jump as we ponder the question of J.P. Dumont, and then stick around for your morning hockey news...
It's a busy week in Smashville with San Jose coming in Tuesday, Vancouver on Thursday, and Phoenix on Saturday, so take the OTF Discount on Nashville Predators tickets for these, or any other home game!
One of the things I'm finally getting around to is cobbling together my own database of game-by-game NHL data, so here's a look at J.P. Dumont's ice time per game (orange is even-strength, purple is power play) for this season, and the last two. The black lines are 20-game moving averages, to point out the trend:
Notice that while J.P.'s even-strength ice time took a dive in the 2nd half of last season (and continues to decline), his work on the power play has maintained steady around the 2:00 per game mark. If Dumont were truly in deep disfavor with Barry Trotz, I'd expect to see his PP time slashed as well, and/or some games spent watching from the press box as a healthy scratch. But neither of those things have happened, nor have we heard one peep about J.P. acting disgruntled; by all accounts he's a good teammate, and a solid pro.
Could it really be that Coach simply wants to leverage J.P. the best way he can within the overall team concept? His long-standing criticism has been that Dumont has a tendency to become passive, following the play rather than moving his feet and creating it. Limiting his 5-on-5 work would seem to make sense, then, while the power play would still represent an opportunity to leverage J.P.'s offensive skill set without worrying so much about defensive liabilities.
Simply put, I would propose that J.P. Dumont isn't quite as dispensable as many Predators fans seem to think, and when combined with his No Movement clause, it would seem incredibly unlikely for J.P. to moved at this year's Trade Deadline. Impossible? Of course not. But highly, highly unlikely.
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