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Preds Prowl: Bouillon's Back

by Tom Callahan / Nashville Predators
Francis Bouillon re-signed with the Predators today, and I’m pretty excited about this. All season long I felt Frankie filled in several different holes and did so in a way that you really didn’t notice what he was doing. Much like an umpire, you feel like he has his best games when you don’t even know he’s there. But there’s a bit more to it than that.

A solid, dependable player who I think can easily be overlooked on a team featuring guys named Suter and Weber, Bouillon is very strong and not afraid to dish out some physical punishment. He can also hold his own in the strength department against many NHL forward, something that the Preds hope to see down the road from Ryan Ellis, another player who doesn’t hit the 6-foot barrier but has plenty of talent.

Another characteristic I like in Bouillon is how he thinks the game. He is able to fill roles in different positions whether killing penalties, helping on the power play, or even strength play. Several times this year Bouillon was able to keep goals from being scored by covering for mistakes and holes in coverage. It’s little things like that, reading when your partner jumps or gets beaten, that mean the difference between being scored on or not at any junction.

On top of it all, Bouillon is a likeable guy and seems to fit in very well. You simply can’t discount how much chemistry plays into things over the course of a season. I’ve been a part of or covered winning teams where everyone got along (for the most part) and enjoyed being around one another all season long. That translates into fun at practice, fun during games, and a more solid bond all season. It always helps to have guys in the room that get along.

In the end, having Bouillon back on the blue line is a very comforting presence for the Predators, and also allows the younger players more time for growth. There won’t be a need to rush anyone in order to fill a hole on defense thanks to having him back, and Nashville gets a great return on its investment.

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