Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- The Nashville Predators opened up the preseason with two wins over the visiting Florida Panthers, but fans didn’t get to see new addition Matt Duchene.
The Centerman, who comes down from the Columbus, has been in town about two weeks now and has jumped right into practices with his new team.
“I just got into town about two Sundays ago, but it’s been great. This team is really talented. This is an awesome city and there is a reason why I wanted to be here,” said Matt Duchene.
The Canadian-born skater always has his eye on Music City and now that he’s finally here, everything feels natural.
“It’s way easier than the last two times I’ve changed teams. Hopefully I get in a rhythm here quick. I feel pretty good, it’s feeling natural, where the last two teams I’ve been with, it didn’t come natural right away,” added Duchene.
“Playing against him the last 8 years or so I know what kind of player he is and inside the locker room so far he’s been great,” said Craig Smith.
With a new team, comes expectations. This season, the Predators are focusing on boasting their offensive numbers. Duchene will be a major part of the plan, and he knows how to handle the pressure.
“That’s what I’m used to. I’ve got to be an offensive guy and produce that way but also you don’t want to be a liability defensively. That’s a part of the game that doesn’t come as naturally for me but it’s something I put a lot of work into. I want to be dependable and be out on the ice in all situations,” said Duchene.
The Predators are still early on in training camp and while there are no set lines yet, Duchene has spent the past couple of days alongside Filip Forsberg. Perhaps the making of the Predators’ second line?
Filip Forsberg said, “This is about the second or third time we’ve been skating together and it’s getting better. We’ve been playing against him for multiple years, so we know how good of a player he is. We look forward to building on that chemistry now.”
Duchene is expected to be on the ice for the Predators in their upcoming preseason games. The team will be back in action on Friday, on the road against Tampa Bay and will return home on Saturday to host the Lightening.