Ok, now I’ve been known to be a vast opponent of having J.P. in the lineup on a nightly basis…but you know what? I think he’s served his time on the bench and I think it’s time for him to be back on the ice.
Right now, he’s statistically been a non-factor for this team. He’s only scored in 6 games this season (two of those multi-goal games) and hasn’t really shown the offensive skills we’ve seen from him in the past. However, there are some hidden gems here.
When J.P. get’s at least one point in the game? This team is 10-3-1.
Whenever J.P.’s +/- is in the positive column? This team is 11-1-1.
When was the last time that J.P. PLAYED on a top line? J.P. is used to playing with other veterans to bolster his offense. Granted, playing with Halischuk and Mueller did wonders for him because he actually had to push HIMSELF to keep up with the kiddo’s, however when was the last time that he was on a veteran Predator line?
The Predators HAVE to start getting prepared for the post-season, not just trying to MAKE the post-season. One of the ways they need to do this is to get J.P. back in the mix and get him some SERIOUS playing time on the ice.
Dumont’s had at least 40 points in 8 of his last 9 seasons and 20 goals in 6 of his last 9. He is a veteran point man and although he has had a problem lately of passing when it comes to shooting, how many games on the bench does it take before he will get the point? Trotz is already restructuring his lines and there WILL be players coming back from injury here soon (Bouillon hopefully within the next couple of weeks and Sullivan early April), so why not get J.P. in now, put him on a top line, and get him back to the scoring J.P. that we are all used to.
This team NEEDS goals right now, it’s crucial. This team cannot win if they don’t have at least 3 goals in a game, it’s a statistical fact this season. So, why not put as much offensive firepower in as possible? Here’s my ideas for line combinations:
Line 1: Erat/Fisher/Legwand
Put Legwand as a winger. Why not? He’s not doing WAY too much in terms of offense and he is one of our WORST faceoff men. Why keep him there when he could be doing SO much as a winger? Let’s use his speed as a weapon offensively, not just defensively
Line 2: Dumont/Wilson/Hornqvist
That’s right folks, another switch-a-roo. I know, most of your pencil in Kostitsyn here, but why not give Dumont just a game or two at this spot? Who knows? He might ignite Wilson’s offense and he, IF he attempts, can put a extremely good wrister on net that Hornqvist could easily shovel in if there was a rebound. This seems like a good line waiting to happen
Line 3: Kostitsyn/Smithson/Ward
Some of you think that line 3 is our checking line. Granted, these players always seem to be our “grinders”, but oh have we forgotten? Ward can score. Smithson can score. Kostitsyn can score. Why not add a little speed to this line and get Spaling back to a center position where he belongs. Kostitsyn could grab the loose puck that Smithson churns out and get it down the ice very quickly and possibly light up Ward’s missing offense, something this team could benefit greatly from.
Line 4: Geoffrion/Spaling/Tootoo
This is a PERFECT line, I think all 3 of these players were made to play with each other. Given that Blake plays a lot of time at center, he may have trouble adjusting to left wing (even though he’s listed as a left winger), but think about it…Toots runs a guy over, forces the puck out, Spaling collects, passes to Geoffrion, who then buries the puck.
4 lines, folks, 4 COMPLETE lines. These could easily be used until we get some of our offensive/defensive corps back in action. I love the energy Halischuk brings to this team, but send him back to Milwaukee.
This team absolutely NEEDS a healthy effective J.P. Dumont. He could be a force in the playoffs for this team (48 games played: 17 goals, 16 assists +7), he could be a force for us now if put on the correct line and given the correct amount of playing time
This team NEEDS their resident, cabbie-hat wearing, Frenchman.
And just so you can get pumped about J.P.’s hopefully imminent return: