Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette joined ESPN 102.5 The Game’s Braden and Fitz Thursday morning to break down the Kyle Turris trade and how their lines will shift with a new center.
Kevin Fiala could benefit the most from the Kyle Turris trade. In their first two games together, Turris and Fiala were matched up on the second line with Craig Smith.
In Tuesday’s 6-3 win over the Capitals, Fiala notched his first goal of the season and his eighth assist. While anchoring the second line, Turris tallied three points in two games so far.
“We had to start somewhere with Kyle, Kevin Fiala was a guy we were eyeing the whole time as a winger that could potentially play with [Turris].” said Laviolette, “When that line came together it looked really good to me.”
Adding center depth allowed Laviolette to bring back their prized top line, the “JoFA” line. Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, and Viktor Arvidsson carried the Preds to success last season, but early on this year their line was a little scrambled.
In an attempt to create offense from top to bottom after offensive struggles in the first couple games, Laviolette moved his top wingers around to spread the wealth. Mixing Turris into the equation creates depth so the Preds won’t have to maneuver their prized line around.
“[The trade] allowed me to put the Johansen line back together which was such a big line.” Laviolette noted, “The numbers always pointed in the right direction for this line. It was split up for a little bit just trying to get some balance and depth through the lineup. We tried to manufacture some offense by splitting up that line and the trade really allowed us to put that line back together.”
Moving forward, the Preds look to continue their winning ways with key divisional matchups on the horizon. Nashville’s next three games are against the Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, and Winnipeg Jets.
Coach Laviolette emphasized how important it is to win within your division, “Division games always grab your attention and hopefully bring out the best in you because they’re so important to win.” Laviolette said, “If you can come through a stretch of these games and maintain a strong record it’s just going to help you move up in the standings and solidify your spot in the playoffs.”
To hear the full interview with Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette check ESPN 102.5 The Game’s SoundCloud page below.