J.P. Dumont entered training camp this year as a man on a mission. After averaging 67 points in his first three seasons as a Predator, he fell to 45 points (17g, 28a) last season.
A more telling tale is that he fell from being a fixture on one of the top two lines to third and fourth line duty after mid season. His ice time also dropped, from an early season range of 17 to 19 minutes to a 9-12 minute range.
By years end, J.P. did not appear to be enjoying his time at the rink as he had in the past. Many pundits wondered if he would return.
Dumont likes living in Nashville and raising his family here. I wouldn't be surprised if he joined several ex-Predators that have retired in the area. That being said, J.P. worked hard over the summer and showed up in the best shape that he has been in as a Predator and was used as an example by Barry Trotz when camp opened.
"Some of our veteran players really upped their conditioning. J. P. Dumont has done an outstanding job of getting his fitness level and body composition probably where it hasn't been in a while, which gets tougher as you get older," Trotz explained.
J.P. admitted that he wasn't pleased with last season's play, "As a player, you always try to improve yourself - personally I didn't like my performance. As a team I thought we were great and did some real good things but as a player you always try to get better and last year I didn't, so I have to make sure that I am ready and have a really good year this year."
"In Nashville we know that we are a really good team when we all play together," Dumont continued. "You see that every year, We are getting tighter and tighter and it's sad to say everything you go through and we didn't have a lot of success in the playoff but it's definitely going to change this year."
In the preseason, Dumont has played in three games, picking up a goal on four shots. The numbers don't jump out at you but the way he has played certainly has.
J.P. is skating as hard as anyone on the ice and has been aggressive, crashing the net and going to the had places, battling for pucks. He appears to be playing as well as he was before getting his bell rung by Alexandre Burrows a couple of years ago which seemed to affect his play for the remainder of that season.
I am going to go out on a limb and predict another 65 point year for Dumont as he earns more time on a skilled line and on the power play. An even bolder prediction is that J.P. will be the Predators nominee for the Masterton trophy. We'll check back in April to see how he does.
Pred Goalie Round-Up...
Everyone had thoughts on the Lindback-Dekanich battle coming to an end yesterday. Here was our post. I still do not believe that the battle is over as Lindback has to face every goalie that crosses the waiver wire or is released by their current team from now until when rosters are set at 2 p.m. next Wednesday.
Amanda DiPaolo has the best take on the situation that she describes as 13 feet of goalie.
Bryan Mullen caught up with Barry Trotz after the move for his take. He also has the reasoning behind Lindback playing the whole game on Wednesday.
Section 303, Forechecker, and David Boclair have their story on the move.
Admiral's Roundtable poses the question "Did Dekanich get a fair shake?"
From Dekanich himself came @dexshow: Disappointed on my way back to MKE. Will dominate there and be back soon. It's great to see the positive attitude.
In Pred Nation...
Post of the month in the Pred blog world is Jas Faulkner's expose on a whole slew of Predator blogs which is really informative and shows the personality of all involved. Thanks for letting me be a part of the project.
Brian Hunter at NHL.com has a feature on Patric Hornqvist and his famous draft position and another one on the Poile-Trotz combo. Finally, Hunter looks at the outlook for the Preds this season.
Bryan Mullen revisits the idea that Suter and Weber will be split at times as he discusses defense with Barry Trotz.
Forechecker pointed us to Kevin Allen's post where he thinks the Preds will compete for the Central Division title and will pick up another goalie. I agree on both points. Officially, Kevin has them picked sixth in the Western Conference.
Mark Willoughby has his weekly My View that includes such wise items like when you get old, getting lucky means that you found your car in the parking lot.
Jim Diamond has the details on the Predators Play with a Pro fund raising event.
Hockey Night in Nashville ponders who the Preds' breakout player will be this year.
Josh Cooper will have another Predators chat today at 1:30. Go here to join in.
If you have a question for Pekka Rinne, submit it here.
Shea Weber makes Nashville Lifestyles 25 most beautiful people. That's probably not something opposing players should bring up on the ice.
Upon his return to Windsor, Ryan Ellis was named captain of the Spitfires. Unfortunately, they lost their first game under Ellis's captaincy.
Aaron Sims reports on yesterday's activity at the Admirals camp. Milwaukee plays at Rockford tonight.
The Cincinnati Cyclones announced their camp roster on Thursday. Camp opens this weekend.
Thrashers.com has video highlights form Wednesday's game with the Preds. Lindback clearly should have stopped Eager's goal.
Around the NHL...
Sheldon Souray and Martin Gerber were placed on waivers by the Oilers. We'll see what happens later to day with that.
KingsCast has a great promo video for their second season based on "the Social Network" that opens today. These guys are really creative. They are also having a Tweetup in Las Vegas before the Kings-Avs game on Saturday. I wish I was going.
Matt Reitz looks at the purpose of the preseason.
The Rat Trick looks at the whole Jay Bouwmeester-Michale Peca debate with a good knowledge of Boumeester's talents.
Versus takes a look at who is the best player to lead a team in the NHL. Crosby is almost unanimous but Jeremy Roenick was another view.
The Hockey News has a top ten list of the league's craziest fans. How could the very staid ACC beat out Bridgestone Arena?
Steve Lapore looks at NHL Network's coverage of opening day.
Even Eklund thinks Rob Higgins new book may be the best fantasy book ever.
Chris Drury is unsure of what role he will play with the Rangers once he returns from his pending move to the injured reserve list.
Ryan Porth has his top five preseason Hart Trophy picks.
From PHT comes pics of the Blackhawks Championship rings. So who's will show up on Ebay first?
Ken Warren in Ottawa discusses the traditional booing of Gary Bettman.
Jordan Staal is without pain but has no timetable for a return. Weird injuries, like an infection, don't adhere to a timetable very well. He's killing a bunch of fantasy owners.
PGA star and Thrashers fan Stewart Cink gets an encouraging video from the Thrashers as he competes in the Ryder Cup.
Here is a very NHLish looking promo video from SKA ST Peteresburg in the KHL. How many former NHLers can you spot?
We can never get enough of Puck Daddy's jersey fouls.
Odds and Ends...
Yesterday's 50th Anniversary of The Flintstones made me feel old. Thanks for pointing to the occasion Google.
The fifth annual Slater Brothers Invitational surf contest will be held in Cocoa Beach October 22-24 to benefit skin cancer research and awareness.
Are you an "expert" on Religion? Take this quiz and see. I got 12 of 15 which probably allows me to continue my position as a preachers wife.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass