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Nashville Predators groom Craig Smith at center

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Old
02-27-2013, 08:26 AM
  #1
AtlantaWhaler
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Nashville Predators groom Craig Smith at center

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Coach Barry Trotz has used Smith as a center for the past couple of games because of center Paul Gaustad’s upper-body injury. Gaustad is scheduled to return to the lineup Wednesday at Anaheim or Saturday at San Jose, but Trotz said he’s committed to keeping Smith in the middle for the long term.
http://www.tennessean.com/article/20...302260079/2079

I love it. IF he pans out, he can become the top-6 center this team sorely needs. It also shows that Trotzy is starting to see what we fans are seeing in Fisher and Leggy.

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02-27-2013, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlantaWhaler View Post
http://www.tennessean.com/article/20...302260079/2079

I love it. IF he pans out, he can become the top-6 center this team sorely needs. It also shows that Trotzy is starting to see what we fans are seeing in Fisher and Leggy.
I think the plan has always been to eventually replace Fisher and Legwand with Smith and Wilson.

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02-27-2013, 09:14 AM
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I think the plan has always been to eventually replace Fisher and Legwand with Smith and Wilson.
Has Wilson played center much

I can't see Trotz going with 2 offensive centers. He'll have Spaling on the top 2 lines with Wilson as a winger.

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02-27-2013, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by triggrman View Post
Has Wilson played center much

I can't see Trotz going with 2 offensive centers. He'll have Spaling on the top 2 lines with Wilson as a winger.
The way Wilson has been playing at wing, I'm not sure I'd want to see him moved to center. Let him stay at wing where he has more freedom to focus on offense.

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02-27-2013, 09:28 AM
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Good centers are hard to come by and if Smith has got the tools, this would be an excellent move. You get the feeling that Smith is talented and can play well in the bigs, but is just missing something - he's just not yet in the right situation. Maybe sort of like Peverley was while in Nash - except maybe this time we hold on and use Smith the right way.

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02-27-2013, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Nothing Is New View Post
Good centers are hard to come by and if Smith has got the tools, this would be an excellent move. You get the feeling that Smith is talented and can play well in the bigs, but is just missing something - he's just not yet in the right situation. Maybe sort of like Peverley was while in Nash - except maybe this time we hold on and use Smith the right way.
1. no chance of the preds letting smith go
2. comparing peverly to smith is like comparing leggy to crosby.

Smith centering 2 responsible and speedy wings is what his line will look like next year - maybe this one if he keeps it up and Leggy and Fish continue their collective offensive woes. Marty probably on the right, not sure yet what the left looks like - Gabby or SK I guess if we don't acquire someone, although I wouldn't mind seeing them try Leggy there.

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02-27-2013, 11:55 AM
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What if Gaustad never got injured? Would Smith have even gotten a chance?

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02-27-2013, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by triggrman View Post
Has Wilson played center much

I can't see Trotz going with 2 offensive centers. He'll have Spaling on the top 2 lines with Wilson as a winger.
Trotz said if there had been an 82 game season this year that he would have started Wilson at center and kept him there. With the compacted season he decided against this with each game being important. So I think we can almost have Wilson as a center written in stone starting next year.

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02-27-2013, 06:05 PM
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Trotz said if there had been an 82 game season this year that he would have started Wilson at center and kept him there. With the compacted season he decided against this with each game being important. So I think we can almost have Wilson as a center written in stone starting next year.
I think we may try Wilson at center. Whether he sticks is another question though. IMO he won't. He's been playing wing too long to go back and excel. It would set his development back to relearn another position. Not to mention he's the worst face off guy on the team. I'd love to be wrong but I don't see it.

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02-27-2013, 06:12 PM
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I think we may try Wilson at center. Whether he sticks is another question though. IMO he won't. He's been playing wing too long to go back and excel. It would set his development back to relearn another position. Not to mention he's the worst face off guy on the team. I'd love to be wrong but I don't see it.
Wasn't he drafted as a center?

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02-27-2013, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Everlong View Post
Wasn't he drafted as a center?
Yes, but he's played 95% of his pro career as a winger. He'd basically have to relearn the position and also learn how to take face offs. All while not regressing offensively since we need him. If he starts slumping again this year, I could see it, but not if he keeps his current level.

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02-27-2013, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Everlong View Post
Wasn't he drafted as a center?

His profile page lists him as a center

http://predators.nhl.com/club/player.htm?id=8474569

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02-27-2013, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Paranoid Android View Post
Yes, but he's played 95% of his pro career as a winger. He'd basically have to relearn the position and also learn how to take face offs. All while not regressing offensively since we need him. If he starts slumping again this year, I could see it, but not if he keeps his current level.
Sounds alot like Kadri in Toronto. Drafted as a center, played about 80% of his AHL career as a winger. Has a freckled NHL history the last few years where he played mostly wing. Only this year has he been given the keys to the center position and he's flourished after being kicked and booted for turnovers over the years. Faceoffs a problem obviously, but it's a learning process. There's no reason to think Wilson can't succeed at the position.


Last edited by Everlong: 02-27-2013 at 06:30 PM.
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02-27-2013, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Everlong View Post
Sounds alot like Kadri in Toronto. Drafted as a center, played about 80% of his AHL career as a winger. Has a freckled NHL history the last few years where he played mostly wing. Only this year has he been given the keys to the center position and he's flourished after being kicked and booted for turnovers over the years. Faceoffs a problem obviously, but it's a learning process. There's no reason to think Wilson can't succeed at the position.
I will admit that I'm more skeptical than most with players switching positions. I've never been a fan of it, especially over the long haul. But Kadri, for example, will have played wing for over 2 years less than Wilson if the switch is made next year. I think that's a significant amount of time to have an effect. I'm not very familiar with Kadri though.

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02-27-2013, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paranoid Android View Post
Yes, but he's played 95% of his pro career as a winger. He'd basically have to relearn the position and also learn how to take face offs. All while not regressing offensively since we need him. If he starts slumping again this year, I could see it, but not if he keeps his current level.
he could pick up being a center in no time. You dont forget how to take faceoffs. Look at erats faceoff percentage, he isnt a center but whenever he takes a faceoff he usually wins it. Last 4 games has had 2 100%, 50%, and 40% FO wins. Its just something you know how to do, like riding a bike.

sidenote: does anyone notice that recently Marty has started out as a center expecting the first person to get kicked out of the FO circle to have Fisher come in as the "2nd" faceoff guy?

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02-27-2013, 07:12 PM
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We have ample guys that can play center. Fisher, Legwand, Gaustad, Wilson, Smith, Spaling, etc. The true centers will be that way (Fisher and Gaustad) and the others are probably interchangable, including Leggy. If we can pick up a bonafide top-line center we can bump Fisher down to a more productive role and mix and match accordingly.

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02-27-2013, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CantbeatzPekka View Post
he could pick up being a center in no time. You dont forget how to take faceoffs. Look at erats faceoff percentage, he isnt a center but whenever he takes a faceoff he usually wins it. Last 4 games has had 2 100%, 50%, and 40% FO wins. Its just something you know how to do, like riding a bike.

sidenote: does anyone notice that recently Marty has started out as a center expecting the first person to get kicked out of the FO circle to have Fisher come in as the "2nd" faceoff guy?
Faceoffs are just a small part of the difference between playing center and wing, it's really a totally different position.

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02-27-2013, 08:52 PM
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Faceoffs are just a small part of the difference between playing center and wing, it's really a totally different position.
I know what each position does, ive played both. Wilson is a a natural center. People who are saying he couldnt just switch to center are wrong. We would maybe see a dip in his scoring, but that would be due to him having more responsibility as a center...

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02-27-2013, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CantbeatzPekka View Post
I know what each position does, ive played both. Wilson is a a natural center. People who are saying he couldnt just switch to center are wrong. We would maybe see a dip in his scoring, but that would be due to him having more responsibility as a center...
This is a very optimistic view. Hope you are right, but I highly doubt it. You can't just flip a switch and start playing center. Rarely ever works out in real life.

I think Trotz mainly said what he did about Wilson because he struggled last year and wanted to throw him in at center to get him going. But now that he was embraced the wing position and is playing very well, I don't think he messes with that. Don't fix what ain't broke.

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02-27-2013, 11:37 PM
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Im not calling for a switch, im just saying Wilson can 100% play center if needed.

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02-27-2013, 11:45 PM
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Im not calling for a switch, im just saying Wilson can 100% play center if needed.
Based off of what though? How can you say that with 100% certainty when he's never successfully done it?

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02-27-2013, 11:56 PM
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Based off of what though? How can you say that with 100% certainty when he's never successfully done it?
hes never successfully done anything until this season. so that is irrelevant.

EDIT: To answer your question, he was drafted as a center, and is a NATURAL center. He successfully did it at the Collegate level, fyi

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02-28-2013, 12:16 AM
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hes never successfully done anything until this season. so that is irrelevant.

EDIT: To answer your question, he was drafted as a center, and is a NATURAL center. He successfully did it at the Collegate level, fyi
Harsh

And yes, I said that a few posts back. I'm well aware. Huge, HUGE difference between playing center in college and the show.

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02-28-2013, 12:04 PM
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Harsh

And yes, I said that a few posts back. I'm well aware. Huge, HUGE difference between playing center in college and the show.
well it is true, its hard to argue for him on that one. But yeah I was just pointing out that he has played center successfully in college and was a hobey baker finalist. The kid can play center is my only point. I am not wanting him to switch at all, yet. In the future it would be nice to have him pick it back up and us have smith and wilson down the middle. On paper it looks good

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03-02-2013, 02:52 AM
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Trotz has already publicly said Wilson will be moved to Center either late this season or next.

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