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Annual Report Card: Paul Gaustad

Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua

Jun 24, 2013

Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua


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Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua

Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua

Paul Gaustad was brought into the Predators organization at the trade deadline last season for the playoff push. He brought size, a tenacious defensive effort, and was a master of the face-off. Nashville traded a first round pick to the Sabres for him and it paid off somewhat in the playoffs. He earned a sizable contract after that and here is where we are now…

From Then to Now

Gaustad was known for having a strong work ethic and Sabres fans loved him for it. Many were upset by his departure from Buffalo and wished him well in his new pursuits with the Predators.

He was well over 20 points a year with the Sabres but since then his goal totals have diminished considerably. For perspective, Gaustad has only scored three goals in 47 games played (including the playoffs) for the Predators. Even though he was not brought into the organization for his offensive output, this is a bit of a concern.

Beyond the Stats

The stats don’t lie as Paul Gaustad is huge on the faceoff dot. How huge? Think third in the entire league in faceoff percentage, keeping company with the likes of Bergeron, Toews, and Thornton. The big difference is those players can also contribute offensively. Having a great faceoff guy is an advantage, but the inability to score goals and points is crucial in evaluating what Gaustad brings to the table (see Radek Bonk and Yanic Perreault).

A difference in Gaustad and a former Predator and faceoff-specialist Jerred Smithson (13th in faceoff percentage at 55.7%) is price. Neither can really contribute offensively as the numbers show, but Smithson makes $800,000 per year and Gaustad makes $3.25M. Realistically, that’s just his cap hit. He will make $4M this year.

The Best of Gaustad

Gaustad had two assists against the St. Louis Blues on February 5th of this year, his only two point effort all season. One of Gaustad’s better abilities is to take draws from either hand and win them at a rate of over 59%.

X Marks the Dot

Paul Gaustad is the epitome of a one-dimensional player with his staggering ability to win a majority of the faceoffs for the Nashville Predators. Even a small contribution on offense would be a welcome surprise and was expected with his average of 12 goals per year with the Buffalo Sabres, who play a similar system to Nashville.

With his exorbitant salary, many would argue that he should be part of the Predators amnesty buyout, but considering how much actual money spent affects the Predators and that Poile gave up a 1st round pick for him, look for Gaustad and the organization to tough it out and play out the rest of his contract. Hopefully Gaustad can stay healthy as lingering injury issues have plagued his ability to get into a groove.

FINAL GRADE: D

With the injuries, the contract and the lack of offense, Gaustad has not come close to living up to what he did for the Sabres and was slated to do for Nashville. The loss of the first round pick stings even more and this season did not help his stock to rise in the eyes of the fans. If not for his amazing faceoff prowess, it would be an F for everything listed above even in a shortened season. However, at this juncture, Gaustad garners a D.