As the Nashville Predators look to secure their spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they will be without their major trade deadline acquisition for the near future. The team announced today that defenseman Jeremy Lauzon will not play tonight against St. Louis and is going to be out of the lineup with a lower-body injury on a week-to-week designation.
Lauzon, 24, had arrived in Nashville via a trade deadline deal with the Seattle Kraken, who acquired him from the Boston Bruins in the expansion draft. The Predators paid a second-round pick to acquire Lauzon, an indication of how highly the team valued the young blueliner as part of the team’s plans for this season and beyond. Lauzon has gotten into 13 games for the Predators since the trade, and has scored one goal, logged 14 penalty minutes, and is a +3, all while playing a touch over 17 minutes a night. The Predators are a team with enviable defensive depth and should be able to absorb this loss, but the team paid a decent price to acquire Lauzon so coach John Hynes and the rest of the Predators organization have to be hopeful that Lauzon recovers sooner rather than later.
For Lauzon, this injury is a disappointment as he may miss time in the playoffs, should Nashville make it there. Lauzon’s hard-nosed, physical style plays better in a playoff environment where officiating is less strict, so if this injury costs Lauzon time in the playoffs it will come as a missed opportunity for him. A good playoff run can greatly enhance a physical defenseman’s reputation across the league, (as the Canadiens’ run in 2021 did for Ben Chiarot) so as a pending restricted free agent with arbitration rights this injury could cost Lauzon an opportunity to enhance his case for this summer.