With Matt Benning and Mark Borowiecki on injured reserve, it is no surprise to see the Predators look to bolster the bottom end of their defense corps. Lauzon has played 53 games for the Kraken this season, with 1 goal and 5 assists, and is second among Kraken defenders in time spent killing penalties.
Lauzon was picked 52nd overall in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins, and has played 129 NHL games for Boston and Seattle. But while his profile seems to fit the target Predators general manager David Poile was looking for, the price seems especially steep for two big reasons: performance and the market.
Jeremy Lauzon does not grade out well—he’s an offensive black hole (which isn’t inherently bad for a defender) while also being solely replacement-level on defense. At first glance, it feels like Lauzon’s skillset doesn’t bring anything better than that of someone like Jeremy Davies, not even considering Benning and Borowiecki.
Seattle has been a bad team—what you expect normal expansion teams to look like—so the question arises: does he look bad because the rest of the team is bad? The above is ISOLATED impact, which accounts for teammates, and if you look at goals above replacement (GAR) for Seattle, well, it’s not great: he was last on the team in Seattle in GAR, and will take over as Nashville’s worst-graded player, according to the metrics developed by Evolving Hockey.
I think if there’s anything impressive about that chart, there’s at least the fact that this might be the first time in awhile I’ve seen a player with no positive GAR components. But I don’t know if that will be comforting to most.
Andy and Rono have a great resource creating player cards and highlighting a player’s strengths and weaknesses. If nothing else, Lauzon is playing incredibly difficult minutes and is an excellent zone entry defender, in the top 20% of the NHL in entry denials. But everything else? Pretty bleak.
Using another resource (hockeyviz.com), Lauzon seems a little better off—he’s below average on offense, almost break-even defensively, and not a weakness on special teams. His penalty-killing impact may be the main factor in the decision to sign him (his penalty-killing impact is 4% better than NHL average).
As for the free agent market, the Predators apparently had interest in players like Boston’s Justin Braun, but with earlier trades on Sunday (such as Seattle sending Mark Giordano to Toronto), a guy like Braun would be too pricy. However, as we know by now, Braun was traded today for a third-rounder in 2023, so it’s not hard to see why the biggest reaction to the Lauzon trade was “overpayment”.
Stay tuned to On The Forecheck as we provide deeper analysis of Nashville’s acquisitions later this week!