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Trotz defends decision to scratch Stalberg

Oct 26, 2013, 11:03 AM EDT

Viktor Stalberg #25 of the Nashville Predators warms up prior to a game against the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena on October 24, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.
(October 23, 2013 - Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

The Nashville Predators were among the worst teams offensively last season, which encouraged them to sign Viktor Stalberg to a four-year, $12 million deal over the summer. Stalberg had 23 points in 47 games last season with the Chicago Blackhawks, but he might have done better if he wasn’t limited to an average of 14:07 minutes per game.

The thought was that his playing time would increase when he moved from one of the deepest teams in the NHL to a Predators squad with an anemic offense. Instead, Stalberg’s ice time has actually gone down significantly this season — and that was before he was made a healthy scratch on Thursday. Consequently, he has no points in six games.

To be clear, it’s not because the Predators’ offense has been any better in 2013-14 — so far they’re actually averaging fewer goals per game — although their defense and the now injured goaltender Pekka Rinne have guided them to a 6-4-1 start.

Still, Predators coach Barry Trotz feels that limiting Stalberg’s playing time right now will help him in the long run, according to the Tennessean. Especially after Stalberg started the season on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, Trotz is taking it slow as the 27-year-old forward gets used to his new team and system.

“It is never fun watching,” Stalberg said. “It is embarrassing, too; I have to be better. It is up to me to make a difference out there, so I will do everything I can once I get back in and try to get it going.”

The Nashville Predators will face the St. Louis Blues tonight.

  1. hammerhead5573 - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    What a shame. He never seems to get better than just a 3rd or 4th liner. And seriously what on earth did the Preds see in this guy that every other team did not?

    • shamu1the1whale - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      His perfect perpetual tan and stylish fashion sense?

    • chotime01 - Oct 26, 2013 at 9:14 PM

      You can’t really blame him for not being able to produce with averaging around 10 minutes of ice time and in the 4th line most of the time he’s on the ice. Preds just aren’t really using him at all. He is much better then dead beat Legwand who hasn’t done anything in the past few years. I honestly do not know what they see in Legwand that they don’t see in Stalberg.

  2. csilojohnson - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Seems worthy of a spot on Preds offense.

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