Trotz: Stalberg ‘has to start producing’
There’s an interesting situation at play in Nashville between Barry Trotz and Viktor Stalberg.
Stalberg, one of the club’s big offseason acquisitions, has gone scoreless in six games since returning from a preseason shoulder injury -- and that’s not good enough, according to Trotz.
“Stalberg will have to get going here a little bit,” Trotz told The Tennessean. “We tried to move him up here a little bit. He’s still learning us and we’re still learning him. But the games are going by now … six now, so he has to start producing.”
But the Swedish forward isn’t just taking that critique.
“I’m here to work hard and play hard, but I also am probably here to produce a little bit and obviously playing 10 minutes is tough to get that quality ice-time,” Stalberg countered. “But you have to deserve that ice-time. I’m trying to do everything I can here with the minutes I have and show them I deserve to play more.”
In Stalberg’s defense, he hasn’t been put in many quality scoring situations. He’s averaging around 11 minutes per game, often times on the fourth line -- but the counter-argument there is that in order for him to get more opportunities, he’ll need to make something of the ones he’s already getting.
On a larger scale, it’s interesting to note how aggressive Trotz has been early in the season with regards to unproductive forwards. On Tuesday, the Preds made highly-touted rookie Filip Forsberg a healthy scratch, with Trotz saying “I thought Filip could have another level in his game,” and “sometimes, he looks to me a little bit tired.”
It’s no secret Nashville was displeased with missing the playoffs last year, averaging a league-low 2.27 goals per game. Following the year, Trotz called out both Craig Smith and ex-Predator Sergei Kostitsyn for their lack of production.