USA TODAY Sports
Scoring has been the weak spot for the Nashville Predators this season, so how much of the blame for that lies with their centermen?
For details on the advanced stats appearing in the boxes below, consult yesterday's post on the defense & goaltending.
Fisher is still struggling at the offensive end of the ice, and as the team's top center, that has become a tremendous problem. He's still working hard in the defensive zone (he stands 2nd among all forwards in Blocked Shots), but much more is needed from the veteran.
When it comes to taking lots of defensive-zone faceoffs and keeping trouble out of the way, Gaustad is getting the job done. He has pulled into 1st in the league among regular faceoff-takers, and has fared better than his mates on the penalty kill, although that area has slid backwards considerably over the last couple weeks.
*sigh* I'd like to look for positives, but there just haven't been many. His offensive production has been meager (at this pace, he'd put up 25 points in a regular 82-game season) and the defense hasn't been there either. We've seen similar disappearing acts in years past for weeks at a time, but in a 48-game season, the Preds can't afford for Legwand to underperform for much longer.
Spaling is having trouble standing out from the crowd on a team loaded with forwards known more for their work effort than their skill. His possession numbers are the worst among the Preds' centers, and he takes only a handful of faceoffs any more, but does remain a key component of the penalty kill.