The 2012-13 lockout shortened season as a whole was disappointing for the Nashville Predators. It’s time to hand out the grades for each individual player. Today, we continue with the forwards…
Bang played in eight games for the Predators after spending the vast majority of the season in Milwaukee. He brought good size to the fourth line and recorded two asssists in that eight-game span. Bang’s size will play to his advantage moving forward.
Beck played well right from the start when he joined the Nashville lineup on Mar. 19 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He finished with three goals and four assists in 16 games played. Beck was the most consistent young forward in the large contingent that came from Milwaukee toward the end of the season. His future seems to be bright.
Bourque was the leading goal scorer for the Predators for a good portion of the season and ended up finishing second on the team in goals with 11 despite missing 14 games due to injury. Most of Bourque’s goals were scored by going to the front of the net and redirecting shots. Bourque’s all-around tenacity in his game makes him a very valuable asset for the Predators when he is healthy.
Bulter was claimed off of waivers by the Predators and seemed to struggle to consistently fit in and contribute early on. However, he found a way to be effective toward the end of the season. Butler finished with three goals and six assists with the Predators in 20 games played. All three goals game in the last seven games of the season.
Clune played his role very well and was one of the big surprises for the Predators. He brought a physical presence on a nightly basis and was one of the few Predators able to create some positive energy when things weren’t quite going their way. Clune did a good job of taking on Jordin Tootoo’s old role, and he even showed some offensive prowess at times. He finished with four goals and five assists and 113 penalty minutes.
Fisher struggled in the first half of the season, recording just eight points in the first 23 games of the season. He came on a bit stronger after that and compiled 21 points in 38 games played. Overall, it was mostly a disappointing season for Fisher. He finished third on the team in scoring, but the Predators are going to need more from him and a lot of other veterans moving forward.
Forsberg only played in five games for the Predators after being acquired from the Washington Capitals in a trade with Martin Erat and Michael Latta. He only had one assist, but he did show glimpses of being a really good player in the league down the road.
Gaustad battled injuries all season long. He only played in 23 of the 48 games but was effective in the faceoff circle. He finished with two goals and three assists on the season, but his biggest issue was staying healthy. He had some upper-body injuries throughout the season and was ultimately sidelined when he was forced to have shoulder surgery. He’s expected to be fully recovered and ready to go for next season’s training camp.
Things didn’t go Halischuk’s way in 2012-13. He found himself being scratched a lot in the first half of the season and didn’t seem to have the same luck as he did in 2011-12 when he scored a career-high 15 goals. Halischuk finished with five goals and six assists on the season, but he did struggle to find a way to be consistently effective. His game really improved after being sent down to Milwaukee for a conditioning assignment in March.
Henderson only played in four games for the Predators but played well in those four games. He scored a goal in his first career game and had a knack for being around the net.
Hornqvist was yet another Predator that had to battle injuries. He only played in 24 of the 48 games and finished with four goals and 10 assists. Despite missing half of the season, Hornqvist had more shots on goal than any other forward on the team. That speaks to his style of play. He’s not afraid to shoot, and the Predators need more of that. Overall, it was a disappointing year for Hornqvist because he had trouble staying on the ice.
Kostitsyn finished the season with only three goals and 12 assists in 46 games. He’s supposed to be one of Nashville’s top forwards, but he simply did not live up to those expectations in 2012-13. It was not a good season for Kostitsyn. He had only 42 shots on goal in 46 games played. The Predators are going to need a lot more out of him moving forward.
Legwand finished the season leading the Predators in goals (12) and all forwards in points (25), as he came on strong in the second half of the season. He struggled to be effective in the first half. While Legwand was much more effective in the second half, the Predators need more consistency out of him. He’s a veteran forward that has been a solid two-way player for his entire career. There were times in 2012-13 where he was not solid offensively or defensively.
It was a very disappointing season for Smith, who was looking to take a jump to the next level in his second NHL season. Smith just seemed to be snake bitten all season long. He finished with only four goals in 44 games played and was mostly restricted to playing in the bottom six. He’s going to be an important piece to the puzzle for the Predators moving forward.
Spaling finished the season with nine goals and four assists in 47 games played and was moderately effective in the faceoff circle. Spaling’s defensive part of his game makes him a valuable asset, but there were times this season where that part of his game was lacking. The Predators need more from him on both sides of the puck.
Watson seemed to look more and more comfortable with each game he played in the NHL, but there were times where he simply looked lost. He had one goal in six games played with the Predators. He’s got the potential to be a solid NHL player in the future, and his size definitely works to his advantage.
Wilson looked like he had taken his game to another level before missing the last 23 games of the season due to injury. He was the leading scorer at the time of his injury, piling up 19 points in 25 games. Even after missing 23 games, Wilson still finished as the fourth leading scorer for the Predators. If he can stay healthy, he’s poised to have a breakout season in 2013-14.
Yip was yet another player that battled injury. He played in 34 for games for the Predators and compiled three goals and five assists. Yip also brought a physical presence, but he needs to find a way to be more effective. He’s a tough guy, but he needs to produce more offensively moving forward. Yip is an unrestricted free agent this off-season.