The Nashville Predators took a big step toward solving their power play problems by hiring assistant coach Dan Lambert today.
This is a fantastic move by David Poile and, in the end, probably the best way to solve the Preds power play problems for now.
The former Spokane Chiefs and Kelowna Rockets coach will arrive in Nashville with eight years coaching experience and some seriously impressive power play success. His ability to transform power plays is undeniable. No doubt head coach Peter Laviolette and his team will welcome Dan Lambert with open arms.
“I’m certainly hoping that with the pieces in place there and the players on the roster, we can find success,” Lambert said on Tuesday. “We’re certainly going to work toward that.”
Success on the Power Play
The Predators, in their search for a way to fix the power play, needed someone to come in who knew what they were doing. Early returns on the man advantage under Peter Laviolette were modest, but after a disastrous “worst in the league” performance last year, change was needed.
Some thought one of the current assistant coaches, Kevin McCarthy or Dan Muse, needed to go. But McCarthy has been with Laviolette for 13 years and Muse has had some success with the penalty kill so far.
The idea of bringing the axe down on an assistant (or Laviolette himself) because of a terrible power play never made much sense. Why fire a coaching staff with a general track record of success in Nashville because of one component of the game? There’s always been another option on the table: hire a third assistant coach to handle the power play.
Enter Dan Lambert.
So what does Lambert’s success with the power play look like? Here you go:
His teams have finished in the top half of the league in power play success six times out of eight seasons. They’ve finished in the top five three times, and finished at the top of the league twice.
We don’t know for sure if Lambert was solely in charge of the power play for all of his eight coaching seasons. But given that he’s the common thread that runs through all four teams he’s coached, Lambert is likely the reason for most of that success.
Given all this, it certainly seems like Lambert is the man for the job.
A Full Staff
With Dan Lambert on board, things are a bit crowded behind the Preds bench. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Now that Lambert can handle the power play duties, Laviolette can focus on other tasks. You know, like continuing to keep Kevin McCarthy away from the power play.
All joking aside, this hire takes a lot off of Laviolette’s plate. Don’t forget how much time Laviolette and the assistant coaches had to devote to fixing the power play, especially late in the season. He talked at length about it at the last press conference of the year and seemed quite overwhelmed by the problem. There’s no doubt it was a drain on their resources.
Now Laviolette, Muse, and McCarthy can focus on what they do well instead of straining to fix what they struggle with.
The Nashville Predators still have a lot they need to improve with their team going into next season. But by hiring Dan Lambert, they’ve already addressed a huge problem.
And there’s plenty of summer left.
— Featured image via Marissa Baecker —