Photo: Doug Brumley
"I certainly love to hit and if you want that puck you're going to have to put me down," Dumont said Friday.
J.P. Dumont, who became the newest Predator on Tuesday when he signed with Nashville as a free agent, made his first media appearance Friday afternoon at the Predators offices. The 28-year-old Montreal native arrived in Nashville on Thursday with his wife and the youngest of his two daughters, and he reported that he's been quite impressed by what his new hometown has to offer.
"So far, we've been here for two days and it's been great," he told members of the local media. "People are really warm and you really feel welcome.... It's something special."
The Dumont family has been on the hunt for a house during their brief reconnaissance trip to Music City. On Saturday, they will return to Buffalo, where Dumont spent his last five NHL seasons. He is scheduled to come back to Nashville in two weeks to begin preparations for training camp. When asked about his decision to select the Predators as his third NHL destination in eight years as a pro, Dumont said there wasn't much wavering between suitors.
"You try to do what's best for your family," the 6'1", 205-pound winger said. "When Nashville called and I talked to the organization, I knew right away that there was something special about that team. We went online the next day trying to find a place to stay and looking about the town. Two days later they called back and we agreed on a deal. That was it. I'm really happy that it's done now. I still have two weeks to get everything ready, but I don't have to worry about much. They've been taking care of us so well here so far, it's a real pleasure right now.
"I looked at the lineup too before I signed here," he added. "The team is unbelievable. They had a really good season last year, and are looking really good for the next few years--especially this year. That was a real easy decision."
Dumont, who has scored at least 20 goals in four of the past five seasons and came within one win of advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals with Buffalo earlier this year, is excited about plugging his style of play into his new team.
"I know I'm going to be here to produce offensively, but in the same time, I'm not going to be a liability defensively," he said. "I can play a really good game defensively as well. I use my size a lot. I'm not a fighter, like it's going to show in my stats, but I certainly love to hit and if you want that puck you're going to have to put me down. That's probably my game plan. I love to play physical, to get me some more room on the ice and get some room for my teammates as well."
For Dumont, who won a $2.9 million one-year contract through arbitration only to have Buffalo walk away from the decision and render him an unrestricted free agent, this spring's playoff run coupled with his fresh start in Nashville have fueled his desire for the Stanley Cup even more.
"I made the playoffs in 2001, my first year in Buffalo," he said. "We lost in the second round. After that it took a while before we went back to the playoffs. But last year, it was just so exciting that once you taste it, you want more. We had a great run, but I definitely didn't like the way it ended. When you're one win away to go to the Stanley Cup Finals, it's something that you play all year long for and now that I've tasted it I want more. When I was looking to sign, I saw Nashville was real interested in me. I saw what they did in the past and where they're going in the future. That was definitely an easy pick for me."