Last season, amidst the myriad of injuries to the Predators lineup, Trotz and Poile agreed to let the NHL’s first fourth-generation hockey player and Brentwood’s own Blake Geoffrion get the call-up from Milwaukee. Aside from a magnificent homecoming that sparked the crowd at Bridgestone Arena, Geoffrion would go on to be the saving grace in one of the most epic come-from-behind wins in franchise history against the Buffalo Sabres with a hat trick night to send the game to overtime where it was eventually won by Martin Erat.
But where has this offensive spark gone? Has it been buried on the fourth line? With the breakout play of Craig Smith along with Colin Wilson, Martin Erat, and Patric Hornqvist returning to their much expected form, when and where is Geoffrion supposed to shine?
A natural center that is listed as a left-winger, Geoffrion has had numerous line-mates on the fourth line. Due to reshuffling of lineups and the constant back and forth of players such as Bergfors (when the Predators need more offensive tenacity) or Brian McGrattan (when the Predators need a physical presence) Geoffrion has been left with not much of a cohesive unit to build any kind of chemistry.
Here are Blake Geoffrion’s stats over the 20 regular season games played in the 2010-2011 season:
6 Goals, 2 Assists, 8 Points, +3, 8 Hits, 4 Blocks, and 11 Takeaways.
Through 17 games this season, here are the numbers for Geoffrion:
0 Goals, 2 Assists, 2 Points, E, 23 Hits, 5 Blocks, 7 Takeaways.
Some will point to his languishing on the fourth line as proof for the drop in production due to the paltry amount of minutes the fourth line has been issued. Unfortunately, Geoffrion’s average even strength TOI per game is 8:32 so, once again, where has the production gone? Granted he scored the hat-trick, boosting his goal totals for the 20 games he played last season, but to drop down to 2 points over 17 games is not the kind of offensive drop the Predators can afford for their 2nd round pick of 2006.
Although his hits totals this season are a good sign of him stepping up to the opponents top two lines and playing the grittier style that the Predators are known for, his penalty minutes might be another cause for concern going from only 7PIM in 2010-2011 to 13PIM in the 17 games played thus far.
Only time will tell whether or not Blake Geoffrion can start contributing for the Nashville Predators and continue in the same offensively gifted fashion that won him the Hobey Baker Award (the Heisman of College Hockey). Or is it possible Geoffrion will become the next Jerred Smithson, a stalwart defensive forward who has a knack for winning face-offs and bringing their lunch pail to the arena?
What are your thoughts on the hometown kid? Does the lack of offensive production from Geoffrion concern you or does the stepping up of other players gloss over Geoffrion’s goal-scoring drought (since the fateful Buffalo game on March 20, 2011)?