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01-09-2006, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Nashville, TN
I think Tootoo has earned his spot on the Nashville roster for the rest of the season IMO. He has brought a lot more energy to the "Energy-4th line" than Stevenson ever did and has shown that he can play a discliplined style of hockey and not simply be a fight or penalty waiting to happen each time he steps out onto the ice.
Upshall is simply the odd-man out due to his ability to be sent to Milwaukee without clearing waivers. Upshall brings nothing to the table not already covered by the return of Scott Walker and can use more time in Milwaukee to develop his offensive game. I think that he has shown during his recall that he can play in the NHL and will be given the shot to play full-time as soon as next season.
IMO, Stevenson is nearing the end of his Predators career and should be moved for even a mid-round pick to keep Tootoo up in Nashville. Nichol seems to be a Trotz favorite and I've liked the little I've seen of him this season as well. Unfortunately, Nichol has to prove he can stay healthy...which he definitely hasn't shown thus far. Much like Allison, I think Nichol is a player that could be an everyday player for some NHL teams, but also has the ability to play a reserve role and excel.
As mentioned above, Fiddler and Smithson are 3rd line centers at best. They've overachieved during their recall and will/have settled back to Earth. Honestly though...I think they are our 3rd and 4th line centers respectively next season. They've shown they can play in the NHL and come on the low end of the payroll. With all due respect to our captain, I think that Fiddler has shown himself to be an effective checking line centerman and he has also shown the ability to log significant minutes on the penalty kill. Smithson adds some size to the lineup and is responsible defensively. Both Tootoo and Hordichuk have mentioned in interviews that on their line it is their duty to go into the corners and get the puck out and if he's open...move it to Smithson for a shot. Also, both Fiddler and Smithson are very good on faceoffs and can be trusted to take the "big draws" late in games.
Anyhow, to get back on topic...IMO Upshall is going to be better served by being sent down as long as Walker is in the lineup. I do believe however that he might stay up until the weekend so that the Predators can have a backup for Walker in case he needs a rest coming off his surgery.
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