Nashville Predators scouts have searched the world over in recent years to find smooth-skating, puck-moving defensemen capable of producing points.
The current IIHF World Championships are the latest indication that they have done OK in that regard.
As the tournament entered its second week Friday, all 16 teams had played four games apiece. There were 10 defensemen who had three points or more – three of them played for Nashville.
Seth Jones (USA) had four points (one goal, three assists), which was tied for second among all blue liners. Ryan Ellis (Canada) and Roman Josi (Switzerland) were among five defensemen with three points apiece. Each had three assists.
DEFENSEMAN SCORING LEADERS
2014 IIHF World Championships
Ondrej Nemec, Czech Republic – 5 points (one goal, four assists)
Seth Jones, United States – 4 points, (one goal, three assists)
Anton Belov, Russia – 4 points, (one goal, three assists)
Kevin Dallman, Kazakhstan – 4 points (four assists)
Jason Garrison, Canada – 4 points (four assists)
Roman Josi (Switzerland) – 3 points (three assists)
Ryan Ellis (Canada) – 3 points (three assists)
Arturs Kulda (Latvia) – 3 points (three goals)
Jacob Trouba (USA) – 3 points (two goals, one assist)
Jeff Petry (USA) – 3 points (three assists)
During the NHL regular season, 25 defensemen finished with 40 points or more. The Predators were one of six teams that had more than one. Shea Weber tied for third with 56 (23 goals, 33 assists) and Josi tied for 23rd with 40 (13 goals, 27 assists). Weber was the Predators’ leading scorer.
Franchise officials have said for years that they believe the traditional stationary defenseman is on its way out in favor of the two-way players who can cover ground in their own end and still contribute offense when opportunities arise.
Ellis’ plus-5 rating through four games is the best among the 33 defensemen with multiple points in the tournament. Jones (pictured) is a plus-3.