The last few seasons haven’t been the best for Derek Roy, who recently signed with the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. The 31-year old center signed a one-year $1 million contract with Nashville looking for a fresh start after a few injury-laden seasons.. Also announced on the same day was the signing of center Mike Ribeiro. These two signings seem to fulfill the want that David Poile had going into the off-season at center, especially with Mike Fisher out four to six months. In regards to what a top six forward should produce, Roy has struggled recently. Most of this is due to injury and reduction in playing time. With the St. Louis Blues last season Roy played 75 games and tallied 37 points (9G-28A). His best two seasons as a pro were with the Buffalo Sabres from 2007-2009 where he was registered 81 and 70 points, respectively. Roy comes into Nashville knowing the he will be leaned upon to provide offense under the new system with head coach Peter Laviolette.
“I played against him a lot,” said Roy on Laviolette. “I noticed that he does push the pace offensively. In the same fact, trying to stay safe defensively. This fits my game real well.”
Roy seems to also fit the mold of what will be needed in Nashville and in Laviolette’s system of playing sound offense while being smart in the defensive zone.
“For my play, I think I bring a lot of offense to the table,” said Roy. “I’ve done that my whole career. I try to play both sides of the puck. I’m defensive-minded first, then move toward the offensive zone. This year, there’s going to be a lot offense needed from me and I’m willing to put up some numbers.”
Over the past few years, Roy understands that his game has struggled. He’s spent this off-season trying to get in better shape so that his body can handle what will be needed of him for a full season.
“It’s tough with injuries throughout the last few years of my career,” said Roy. “Before that, I was a point a game player for four years in a row. It’s tough going into the summer just rehabbing and not training. It’s been a tough few years bouncing around. Hopefully this is going to be good for me. Coming into this summer, I wanted to get in the best shape I could. That’s why I [sought] out Gary Roberts to get in his workout program.”
Coming in as a veteran, Roy adds more knowledge to a team that is full of youth. It could provide a good mix of leadership and talent. Playing the role of mentor is something that Roy said he’s done throughout his career.
“That’s something I do without even noticing,” said Roy on mentoring. “If I see something in a young player’s game that he needs improvement on, I try to give them pointers to make them better. I learned from Chris Drury and Danny Briere in Buffalo. Later on in your career, you have to provide to the young guys as well.”
During his time with Buffalo, Roy pointed out that he remembers playing in Nashville and experiencing the well-known TV timeout standing ovation that Predators fans have become known for. It left a great impression on him and he’s excited to be with the team.
“I’m really excited to be a part of the Nashville Predator organization,” said Roy. “There were a lot of teams involved and I thought this was a really good fit for me. It’s a great city. I flew down to meet with David Poile and see the city. I’ve only heard great things about the city and organization. On the fan perspective, I don’t think they get enough credit around the league and how much they impact the team.”
Bringing Roy and Ribeiro will add plenty of options at center for the Predators. These low-risk, high-reward signings are worth it. If the players don’t pan out, then it’s basically a no-harm, no-foul situation. Roy should fit in well on the second line and be a set-up man for Craig Smith, who had a great season last year. While we can speculate on lines all day long, only time will tell what the Nashville Predators will look like next season.