30 in 15: Beck looking for breakthrough with Predators
Wednesday, 09.18.2013 / 3:00 AM
By Mike G. Morreale
It's hard to believe how far left wing Taylor Beck has come since sustaining a concussion in November 2012 following a violent crash into the boards while playing for the Nashville Predators' American Hockey League team in Milwaukee.
The 2009 third-round pick (No. 70) would rejoin the team less than three weeks after the incident and pick up where he left off, finishing the season with 11 goals and 41 points in 50 games. He'd score 16 games with the Predators, producing three goals and seven points.
Beck's first NHL goal came March 23 against the Columbus Blue Jackets' Sergei Bobrovsky off a wrist shot from the right circle. Bobrovsky won the 2013 Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie.
"I've worked my whole life to score goals in the NHL," Beck told the media after the game. "Now that I finally got my first, it is a great feeling."
Not a lot has been written about the 22-year-old power forward from Niagara Falls, Ontario, but barring a setback in training camp, that's about to change in 2013-14.
"He's spent his time in Milwaukee, and has been a high producer there with a well-rounded game," Nashville coach Barry Trotz told NHL.com. "He was called up last year with all our injuries and played a lot of good hockey for us. He makes things happen and has matured."
In 128 AHL games, Beck has 27 goals, 82 points and 60 penalty minutes. In four seasons with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, the 6-foot-2, 207-pound right-handed shot had 110 goals and 267 points in 246 games, an average of 1.09 points per game.
"Taylor is a big body who has crossed the threshold [in his career]," Trotz said. "I believe he's a good prospect for us with a solid game. To me, he's the guy getting no attention who is a heck of a hockey player."
Trotz said he expects Beck to pick up where he left off this preseason. Beck has the same expectations in his attempt to remain with the Predators this season.
"I have a big body and I try to use it to my advantage," Beck told reporters last season. "I know the defensemen are big and strong [in the NHL], but I try my best to be strong on the puck as much as I can and take it to the net. Whether that's going up the middle, down the boards or below the net, I'll do anything I can."