The fantasy impact of Nashville hiring Peter Laviolette
The Nashville Predators have named Peter Laviolette their second coach in franchise history, taking over from mainstay Barry Trotz. The fantasy implications are obvious, as anyone besides Trotz would have to be an offensive improvement.
Not counting the three games Laviolette coached this year for the Flyers before getting fired, his previous four campaigns in Philadelphia saw the Flyers rank eighth, third, second, and ninth in goals for. In two of those seasons Philly averaged more than three goals a night. Granted, one could make an argument that Nashville didn't have as much talent as the Flyers did at the forward position, but Laviolette is still certainly an upgrade from an offensive fantasy perspective.
To further that point, check out this Puck Daddy piece from today that outlines Laviolette’s history.
“Laviolette’s offensive-minded philosophy is evidenced by his teams’ goals for rankings through the years – six times in eight full seasons his teams have finished in the Top 10 in the category, with three of those being top-three results. When coaching a team for a full season, Laviolette’s squad has never finished lower than 13th in goals for. That doesn’t include his two midseason takeovers where the Hurricanes improved their goals for average from 1.87 to 2.23 when he moved behind the bench in 2003-04, and when the Flyers finished eighth in goals for in 2009-10.”
Another thing to keep in mind with Laviolette is that he plays his stars big minutes. Claude Giroux saw more than 20 minutes a night over the last two seasons Laviolette was in Philadelphia and you would have to go all the way back to 2006-07 when one of Trotz's forwards (Paul Kariya) averaged more than 20 per night. Trotz was notorious for giving defenders like Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Roman Josi big minutes, but when it came to the forwards, not so much.
The main difference Preds fans and fantasy owners will have to get used to is the defensive system. The team simply won't be as defensive minded as they were under Trotz and some players could suffer. Pekka Rinne and any Nashville goalie will no longer have that security blanket of a stingy defensive system to count on. That doesn't necessarily mean you should avoid taking Rinne in your pool, just keep in mind he could be facing some more quality scoring chances on a nightly basis.
Young and inexperienced defenders could also see their plus/minus take a bigger hit. Someone like Seth Jones who would have had the benefit of developing in a defensive-first system, now will have to learn to be a little less risky with the puck.
Players this helps, in order:
Players this hurts, in order:
Carter Hutton (if re-signed)