The Nashville Predators may be looking for some outside help when it comes to fixing their league worst power play.
In this week’s edition of Elliot Friedman’s “31 Thoughts” column, Friedman mentioned Nashville as being “interested” in pursuing Jim Hiller.
Jim Hiller has been an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs since 2014. He was in charge of the Leafs’ power play during that time under the leadership of head coach Mike Babcock. Here was the full quote from Friedman’s column:
3. Another Toronto assistant, Jim Hiller, has blanket permission to interview with anyone, and is not expected back. Nashville is believed to be among the interested teams. Makes sense as Hiller has a reputation for power-play expertise. Former Florida coach Bob Boughner is a possibility as an Edmonton assistant. There are lots of rumours about Andrew Brunette next to Joel Quenneville in Florida, and there’re also rumblings of movement alongside Jeff Blashill in Detroit.
This past year, the Leafs finished with a 21.8% success rate on the power play, good for 8th in the league. As we all remember, the Predators finished with the league’s worst power play unit at only 12.9% success rate.
The Predators need answers for their power play and Jim Hiller might have them.
Proven Success With Proven Players
The Maple Leafs have had one of the league’s best power play units since Hiller joined the team. Since 2014, the Leafs have a 20.1% success rate on the power play, which ranks 7th in the league in that time. In that same time span, the Nashville Predators have only a 17.8% success rate, which ranks 27th in the league.
It’s important to consider who the Leafs’ added to their team since Hiller came on board. Adding Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares will make any power play unit better.
But as we saw last year, it’s not always about the personnel or offensive talent. Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, Ryan Johansen, Roman Josi, and P.K. Subban are excellent offensive players and yet struggled to make the power play work last year.
The power play system itself, under the guidance of Peter Laviolette (who says “he’s to blame” for the power play), failed the players. After last year, it’s time to get a new pair of eyes in the room to try something else.
You never know. If guys like Johansen and Forsberg and others can attack the power play with a completely new mindset using a strategy that’s proven to work, the Predators could get that unit back on track.
And in the end, if Hiller makes the unit a completely average power play unit, that would be a success. Anything that makes the power play better than the worst power play in the league is welcome.
We will have to wait to see if Peter Laviolette is on board with adding Jim Hiller to the staff. Coaches can be stubborn about giving up control over their team, particularly to outsiders. But based on Laviolette’s comments at the end of the season, I’d say he’s willing to try anything to fix the power play.
— Featured image via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports —