It may seem obvious. If one hockey player is faster than the other, a competitive advantage is almost certain. But as the game continues to evolve, the collective speed of an entire team may just be the most important attribute when it comes to building a winning squad.
Predators General Manager David Poile seems to believe that's the case when reviewing the moves he's made over the past few seasons.
The hiring of Head Coach Peter Laviolette, who prefers to run an up-tempo, offensive system, was the start. With the acquisitions of younger, faster players like Ryan Johansen and P.K. Subban over the past eight months, that trend is continuing.
As the Predators hit the ice for the first time in 2016-17 on Friday, on Day Two of training camp - for individual testing - that motto holds true more than ever.
"If you watch the World Cup of Hockey, of course the darling team is the North American team and how fast they are," Poile said. "Everybody now would certainly want to play like that, and we think we're going in the right direction with the type of players that we've acquired in the last few years, and the changing of coaches to Peter Laviolette and the way he wants to play offensively. I think it plays into all of the strengths of almost all of our players."
Video: Laviolette discusses the upcoming season with media
On the backend, Subban in particular will help greatly with the mindset: the faster, the better. With Laviolette's system in place, Subban, as well as the rest of the Nashville blue line, will continue to be encouraged to join the rush. It's something Subban and fellow defensemen like Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis are particularly adept at executing.
"You watch the playoffs, you watch Pittsburgh and the way they played, you watch the teams in the World Cup, and the speed of the game right now is incredible," Laviolette said. "Our defensemen are up the ice a lot. We attack a lot, they're down the walls in the offensive zone, they have the green light to move the puck and skate with the puck, and the way [Subban] plays the game applies to the way our team plays the game."
Some opportunities along the Preds blue line will exist for at least the first few days of on-ice practices in training camp as defensemen P.K. Subban and Ryan Ellis have both been sidelined with upper-body injuries. Both players will be re-evaluated after Nashville's doubleheader at Florida on Tuesday.