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Matt Halischuk: Exceeding Expectations


Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America

Throughout the broadcast of the Nashville Predators loss to the L.A. Kings, Pete Weber and Terry Crisp kept highlighting the undeniable and overwhelming tenacity and drive displayed by Matt Halischuk. For a third line winger, Halishcuk is living up to these accolades due to his hustling play and determined aggression that has been another bright spot on a team that scores by committee.

Matt Halischuk comes out of the LA. tilt fourth in goals for the Nashville Predators behind Hornqvist, Legwand, and Smith. The amazing thing is the company he is keeping as far as having the 4 goals and 2 assists at this point of the season. Other players that have comparable numbers include:

Dainius Zubrus
Matt D’Agostini
Tuomo Ruutu
Brandon Sutter
Travis Moen

Matt Halischuk has done all the little things that coaches love to see in their third liners. He competes at a high level and causes miss-matches for the opposing teams’ top line. He crashes the net and agitates behind the net, knocking defensemen off the puck and setting up scoring chances for his teammates or himself as was evident with his goal against L.A. It was a full-on assault where Halischuk came from behind the net with a wrap-around sweep that came out in front and got batted back toward Bernier and off a defender’s skate. Halischuk followed the play and went cross-body to pot the goal as the goalie was maneuvering to the shooter’s right hand side. An opportunistic goal for sure, but one that could only be scored with determination and awareness; two things Halischuk is now known to possess in mass quantities.

It should also be acknowledged that Halischuk provides this output at a bargain; something Predators fans have become accustomed with GM David Poile at the helm. Another comparison using the other forwards with 6 points (4G,2A) paints another masterpiece for Poile’s use of wise expenditures:

Daniel Zubrus – $3.4M
Matt D’Agostini – $1.65M
Tuomo Ruutu – $3.8M
Brandon Sutter – $2.06M
Travis Moen – $1.5M

Matt Halischuk – $712,000

As an after thought to the Arnott trade, Matt Halischuk has found a stable home on the third line with Jordin Tootoo and Jerred Smithson/Nick Spaling. His ability to sniff out the puck and fire shots on net will heartily serve the likes of Coach Trotz, David Poile and the Nashville Predators.