MONTREAL – It’s probably no coincidence that Jérémy Lauzon’s game has progressed at high speed since he set foot in the Nashville Predators locker room.
Whether he looks left or right, he can find a high-quality veteran who knows a thing or two about what it’s like to be a young fullback trying to break into the big league. With Roman Josi, Ryan McDonagh and Mattias Ekholm as models, it is hard to go wrong.
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“Of course they have a great influence on me, confirmed the Quebec defender. My confidence climbs as the season progresses. These are guys who all have at least 700 games of experience in the League and who really want to help us. For a young person, it’s fun to have leaders like them showing the way forward. »
The three heavyweights of the country town brigade are influential to the point where they kind of create the mold in which their young teammates, like Lauzon, Alex Carrier and Dante Fabbrojust have to try to register as best they can.
« When you look at a guy like Ryan, I see a lot of similarities with Jeremy’s game, » Hynes said. He takes penalties, he is imposing and he can skate. The control of space, his way of containing opponents, I think these are all things that Jeremy learns from him.
“And then there are guys like Roman and Mattias that he can watch to see how they pick their moments to go on offense and how they position themselves to generate offense. »
All these examples allow the native of Val-d’Or to emancipate himself in his own style of play, while finding some of his offensive instincts – an aspect that he had not yet managed to exploit since his time with professionals.
It may not show on the scoresheet – he has just two goals and three assists in 34 games – but it shows in the way he plays and the confidence he displays.
“It’s something that I have always worked on and that I had in the junior, explained the rear of 25 years. In the NHL, it was more complicated and I had less confidence offensively. Lately it seems like I’m moving the puck better, skating a lot better and creating more stuff on offense. »
« He’s doing a better job on the offensive blue line, » Hynes said. He knows when to use his shot and when to make another play choice. He’s more comfortable with the puck and he’s completing his game. He’s always been solid both ways, but he improves the attacking side of his game a lot. »
Video: NSH@VGK: Lauzon scores his first of the season
One thing is certain, Lauzon has the strong impression of having finally found his niche in Nashville. After three seasons with the Boston Bruins and a short stint with the Seattle Kraken, he is entitled to some stability now that he signed a four-year contract in the summer.
He felt immediately at home when he landed in Nashville, having been traded at the last trade deadline. That also has an impact on his game on the ice.
“I quickly felt in my place, the organization trusts me and I’m happy to be here, he concluded. It’s a bit different from the context that there was in Seattle. I feel a little more like Boston; I have more responsibilities and I feel that the coaches support me. »