2014-15 OTF Report Card: Taylor Beck
Going into training camp, Taylor Beck was without a contract and pictured as a darkhorse to make the roster. Going into this summer, Beck looks to be a fine young role player who more than earned his keep.
In previous seasons, the Predators were all about some grit. Under the Barry Trotz regime, grit = guys who aren't terribly talented but are hard to play against. But at the same time, Trotz and his band of merry men preferred aged players like Eric Nystrom to fill these role as opposed to the younger players in the system. So in 2014, Taylor Beck was at the end of his ELC, and came into training camp without a deal in place. Not much was expected of Beck, to the point we didn't even do a season preview on the guy (and we liked Beck!).
But with new management comes new opportunities. Beck won over the new coach, and gradually became a member of the supporting cast as the season went along.
|5v5 P/60||5v5 SAT%||5v5 SAT% Rel||5v5 SCF%||5v5 ZSO%||5v5 PDO||5v5 TOI/Gm|
Taylor Beck benefited greatly from Peter Laviolette's coaching philosophy. Remember the first game of the year? Rich Clune played 5 minutes, and never touched the ice the rest of the season. That hole in the roster created an opportunity that a young player like Beck needed for his career. Beck filled in on the lower lines, and formed some decent chemistry; his season was that of another pedestrian grinder in the Barry Trotz mold, until the infamous Toronto game (see below). His role on the team was more solidified when Eric Nystrom took that bump on the boards in New Jersey. From that moment on, he formed an alliance with Paul Gaustad and Gabriel Bourque that proved to be a competent fourth line.
On a team that's now relying more on skill than grit, Taylor Beck showed what a big framed guy can do in front of the net.
A: He goes Andre Agassi on Jon Bernier.
Let's also take a moment to remind ourselves what could have been:
The Road Ahead:
Let's be clear; Taylor Beck is likely going to be a lower line player for his days in the NHL. And there's nothing wrong with that. After seeing how Lavy used Beck in the roster, it seems like he's becoming a coach's player. He's someone the coach will throw out there to do a specific job. Coaches love those guys. We know this because the last coach in Nashville tried to build a team full of Nick Spaling's.
Beck is still young, and his role on the team may grow from here. If Nashville keeps bringing up these smaller wingers like Kevin Fiala, Viktor Arvidsson, keeping guys like Beck around may be best for business just to give the team a change of pace. There are still some holes in his game and he could stand to be a bit more aware on the defensive side of the ice, but that's part of being a young player.
Taylor Beck didn't even have a spirit animal to start the year. Why? Very few people bet on him to play a role this year. Again, he showed up to camp without a contract, bet on himself, and took a spot.
So with that, we need to look at an animal that is good natured, has decent stature, has a willingness to do what is asked of him, and makes some awesome friends.
Taylor Beck's spirit animal is totally a golden retriever.
Average OTF Grade: B
What grade did Taylor Beck earn in 2014-2015?