Predators head coach Barry Trotz appeared on XM 204 Home Ice with Mike Ross and James “Boomer” Gordon this afternoon and covered a wide variety of topics. Here are a few notes from the interview.
On contracts… The core of the team is locked up for a while. First summer in a while that there hasn’t been major controversy with key players leaving.
Making the playoffs… Preds missed by four points last year. Three outstanding D-men, good forwards coming up, and Sully for the whole year should help make up those points.
On Sully… Makes a lot happen on the ice with and without the puck. He makes everyone he plays with a better player.
On Legwand and Erat… Good two way players. Should be at the prime age. It's time for them to step up and express themselves at the next level and take leadership role. Trotz has talked to both and they understand the expectation. He has seen Leggy and he looks healthy and ready to go.
On Weber… has not reached his peak. Still will continue to improve. Will do well in Olympics.
On Suter… Trotz feels he will be a top three d-man for the US team.
On Hamhuis… Has opened a lot of eyes at Olympic camp.
On Sulzer… Trotz feels he will crack the lineup. Very mature, and experienced in Olympics, World Championships, and two years at Milwaukee. Has good size, outstanding passing skills, and is a puck moving defenseman.
Franson and Lassko… are the other two on defense that look ready to make the team.
On Ryan Ellis… at draft lots of interest in a trade when he was still available at 11. Really processes the game, good vision and decision making.
On Colin Wilson… Excellent chance to play this year. Trotz compared him to Rod Brind Amour at the same age with more offensive upside.
On Jon Blum… another defenseman with good vision and processing skills. Looks bigger off the ice than on the ice. Will see some action with the Preds this year.
On Rinne and Ellis… As a coach would like to see each play 50-50 and be successful. Obviously Pekka is number one going into camp but has confidence to put either in on any given night.
On teaching the game… Entire staff made up of good teachers. Teaching is the Pred’s lifeline. Never going to spend to the cap, usually closer to the mid-point. Have to have very focused staff and organization. You don’t have to spend to the cap to win the Stanley Cup.
So there you go. Those are a few thoughts and cryptic notes on what Barry Trotz is thinking two and one half weeks before the camp opens.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass