Great friends off the ice, Jason Arnott
and J.P. Dumont talked during the summer about the need to not just pick up where they left off last season, but pick up the slack left in the wake of Alexander Radulov
's departure to the Kontinental Hockey League.
So far, the linemates, who each had 72 points last season, have done a masterful job.
"It's tough to replace a potential 30-goal scorer in this League when you're not getting anyone in return for him," Arnott told NHL.com. "I think we've shocked some people by how much we are scoring."
Arnott, who missed three games with a broken ring finger on his right hand, has 5 goals and 4 assists in 7 games. Dumont has a team-high 13 points on 2 goals and 11 assists through 10 games. The Predators are 5-4-1 and were fourth in the NHL with 34 goals entering Friday night's action.
"You look around the League and a lot of the high scoring teams have a lot of high skill up front," Arnott said. "We don't have six top forwards. We pretty much have four (including David Legwand
and Martin Erat
). You really miss that fifth and sixth guy, and it has been difficult, but we kind of just go out and play and everybody chips in where we can. So far it's been great. Knock on wood we keep it going."
Amazingly, Arnott is on a better than point-per-game pace despite averaging roughly a minute and a half less of ice time than he did last season. He's playing 17:28 per game so far this season after playing 18:59 per game last season.
Arnott said he's choosing to keep his shifts short because it's early in the season and he's already missed some games. The Predators are also averaging nearly 15 minutes in penalties per game, and Arnott does not play much on the penalty kill.
"It was only three games that I missed, but you can really feel it when you come back," Arnott said. "If you don't keep them short you really feel it in the second and third periods. I don't want to get burned out right now. It's working out OK right now."