Leading up to the lockout-shortened season, we will be providing 2012-13 previews for each player. In no specific order, we continue with Hal Gill today…
After playing 53 games in Montreal, Hal Gill was acquired by the Nashville Predators 10 days prior to the trade deadline in exchange for Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney and a second-round pick.
Gill very useful for the Predators on a penalty kill unit that immediately improved upon his arrival, clicking at a 89.3% rate and rising from 16th to 10th in the league’s rankings. In 23 games with the Predators he had five assists and a plus-4 rating. His presence had a trickle-down effect on the rest of the defense corps. Due to a broken tibia, Gill missed the entire first round against Detroit and wasn’t at full speed in the second round against Phoenix.
In June, Gill signed a two-year, $4 million contract to stay with the Predators instead of testing free agency.
Gill opted to stay in Nashville during the lockout and help run the on-ice drills in Franklin.
As things stand now, Gill will start the season next to Ryan Ellis on the blue-line. Their contrasting styles could benefit each other. Gill’s stay-at-home game should allow Ellis to occasionally play more freely in the offensive zone. Gill logged 17:08 of ice time per game a season ago, the lowest average since his rookie year in Boston. I wouldn’t expect that number to increase too much, if at all, given his age (37) and the condensed schedule.
The loss of Ryan Suter likely means Gill’s role on the penalty kill and in the locker room will increase. He’s still the only player in the room with a Stanley Cup ring.