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Nashville coach calls out Sergei Kostitsyn, Craig Smith: ‘We expected production, we got none’

Greg Wyshynski
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It’s not exactly a state secret as to why the Nashville Predators finished outside the top 8 in the Western Conference. They regressed from the eighth best offensive team in the NHL (2.83 G/G) last season to 29th this season at 2.27 goals per game, tied with the Florida Panthers for the most putrid scoring attack in the NHL.

Two reasons for the decline in scoring: Sergei Kostitsyn and Craig Smith. The former’s points-per-game dropped from 0.57 last season to just 0.33 this season; the latter went from his impressive rookie total of 0.50 points per game down to 0.27.

In his end of season press conference in Sunday, and in a rare moment of candor about two players still under contract for next season, Coach Barry Trotz called them both out. From the Examiner:

“We expected production from Sergei and Craig Smith and we got none,” Trotz said. “Both those guys, we were looking at them to be top-six, top-seven forwards and we got no production. Craig Smith and Sergei were on power plays all year. I did it to try to get them going. I tried different things to get those guys going. I knew that we needed them because we score by committee and we had some committee members that didn’t get ‘er done.”

Nice Larry The Cable Guy reference, sir.

GM David Poile echoed his coach’s sentiments:

“We scored two goals or less in 27 of 48 games,” Poile said. “In those games, we only got three wins. We were 3-17-7 in those 27 games. When we reached three goals, we were 13-6-2. Now it doesn’t seem like a lot, but that’s what we’ve got to get to. That’s what we had last year. A 3-2 game is a winning formula for the Nashville Predators. We were a goal short every game. We’ve got to get better in that area.”

The Preds will have $22 million under the cap with which to play this summer. It'll be interesting to see how they address their scoring woes, given that so many of the players who contributed to those woes are under contract for next season.

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