Nashville Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette joined ESPN 102.5 The Game’s Braden and Fitz on Tuesday morning to discuss the recovery process during a shortened summer and how the Preds plan to move forward.
After a long NHL season and extended postseason for the Preds, players need time to rest and heal nagging injuries. For Kevin Fiala and Ryan Johansen, the offseason was just enough time to recover and prepare themselves for the season after their injuries.
“Those guys [Johansen and Fiala] are looking really good in camp. They’re both able to play at full contact, they came in great shape”, Coach Laviolette said, “They put a lot of time into [recovery], they understood the time crunch they were under.”
The only player that hasn’t fully recovered is Ryan Ellis, after offseason knee surgery. He is expected to return around the midway point of the season.
With Ellis’ injury, the top six defensemen are a tad uncertain for the first two months of the season. After the trade for Alexei Emelin and young Sam Girard emerging, the Preds have options to mix and match their defense pairings.
“I feel like we have good depth on not only defense but with our forward group as well”, Laviolette said, “If things aren’t going well or we need to refresh, we have the personnel to do that and refresh.”
As the season begins, Laviolette said the team has a “hunger” to reach the Cup again. Laviolette believes gaining playoff experience over recent seasons can propel his team back to the Finals this season.
You can hear the full interview with Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette by clicking on the SoundCloud link below.