O n March 19, the Nashville Predators called forward Taylor Beck up from the Milwaukee Admirals, their AHL affiliate.
Two weeks later, the biggest question mark about Beck appears to be, “Why did Nashville wait so long?”
Almost immediately, Beck began to make an impact with the Predators. In his second game in Calgary, Beck put up a team high 4 shots on goal. In his third NHL game, he scored his first goal and tacked on his first assist in his first game at Bridgestone Arena.
On Monday night, Beck scored the second goal of his career, a third period tying goal against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center that would allow Nashville to gain a standings point in their 3-2 shootout loss.
Finally, on Tuesday night, Beck managed the first assist on 2 of Nashville’s 3 goals in the Predators’ 3-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena.
“My linemates are making this really easy on me,” Beck said. “(David Legwand) is playing really great right now. As long as we win, I’m happy with the way things are going. I’ve been happy with my play so far.”
Earlier in the season when the Predators’ scoring was at a premium, Nashville head coach Barry Trotz specifically identified a portion of the problem as a lack of players having the confidence to drive down the middle to the net. In his 8 games, Beck has appeared to have no fear driving to any part of the ice.
“I have a big body and I try to use it to my advantage ” Beck said. “I know the defensemen are big and strong here, but I try my best to be strong on the puck as much as I can and take it to the net. Whether that’s going up the middle, down the boards or below the net, I do anything I can to help the team.”
Through 8 NHL games, Beck has 6 points (2 goals – 4 assists). All 6 of those points have come in the last 6 games. Also, Beck’s plus/minus is a +5, which – while a somewhat flawed statistic – is indicative of the fact that his line has been producing with him in it.
“”I feel like I’ve been fitting in so far,” Beck said. “As long as I can keep taking pucks to the net and playing well defensively, I should be happy with my play.”
After scoring 41 points in his previous 78 AHL games, Beck had 41 points in 50 games in Milwaukee this year before getting the NHL call. Despite being in Nashville for two weeks, he’s still the team’s leading scorer on the year. Prior to last season, Beck – a third round pick in 2009 – earned a reputation as a scorer in junior with the Guelph Storm, registering consecutive 90+ point seasons.
“I’m just trying to bring the puck to the net as much as I can, be a power forward out there and shoot the puck as much as I can,” Beck said.
Since adding Beck to the lineup, the Predators have a record of 4-2-2. As of Tuesday night, the team is in 9th place with 38 points. They are tied with St. Louis, but the Blues having the tiebreaker due to playing 3 fewer games. Nashville only has 11 games left in the regular season, but could conceivably wind up in a playoff spot.
“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing,” Beck said. ” We have points in 6 of our last 7 games, I think. As long as we keep going on the right path and as long as we win, we control our own destiny.”
Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua