Can the Preds rely on Jeremy Lauzon to play a bigger role?
The deadline acquisition was marginally productive in a limited role.
As we approach the start of the 2022-23 NHL season, On The Forecheck is taking an in-depth look at expectations for each Nashville Predators player for the new season. Today, we’re taking a look at defender Jeremy Lauzon.
Regular Season: 13 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 P, CF (5v5) 50.4%, 17:06 ATOI
Playoffs: 3 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, CF (5v5) 35.37%, 17:02 ATOI
Jeremy Lauzon, acquired at the trade deadline from the Seattle Kraken, was brought in to provide some additional grit, and also defensive depth, to a team that had similar players filling both of those roles.
While he actually provided decent defense at even strength during the regular season, Lauzon contributed very little in the way of offense—by which I mean moving the puck up the ice, as well as scoring. He managed one goal, tying the game back up late in the first period of an April 1 game against the Buffalo Sabres, but no others, and added no assists.
He’s never been a high scorer, with a career total of 5G and 13A over 142 games. The Preds should probably not be hoping to see too much more of that from him. Whether they can rein in his penalty-taking, when the team as a whole struggled badly with discipline last season, is also an open question.
Still, Lauzon is just 25 years old and was recently signed to a four (4)-year extension, so the team clearly has plans for him. The Colorado Avalanche outplayed him badly during the postseason, but that was true of just about the entire Predators team; during the regular season, Lauzon was a solid contributor defensively.
Gaining more familiarity with his teammates and the Preds’ systems should hopefully allow Lauzon to be more confident in breakouts, improving his defense further and bolstering the team’s offense. My best guess as to what the Preds are hoping to get from him is an old-fashioned reliable defensive defenseman who isn’t afraid to get a little rough in the blue paint, and the foundations of that are there in Lauzon’s game.
One Bold Prediction
That said, I don’t see Lauzon finishing all four years of his extension in Nashville. Whether it’s leaving as part of a trade package, getting sent to Milwaukee, or becoming another headscratcher of a buyout, David Poile hasn’t had a tendency to hold on to third-pairing defenders for that long.
Still, I think we’ll see better play from him this season than we did last. Unfortunately, I think we’ll also see more penalties.