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2018-2019 NHL Preview: Nashville Predators

One of the deepest teams in the league

Winnipeg Jets v Nashville Predators - Game Seven Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2017-2018 standings. Twenty-Fourth up are the Nashville Predators currently in their 20th year in the NHL. They have made the playoffs the last four consecutive years good enough for the fourth longest active streak in the NHL (Behind Pittsburgh, Anaheim and Minnesota). They are just two season removed from a Stanley Cup loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017.

2017 – 2018 NHL Stats:

NHL Standings: 1th
Goals for Rank: 7th
Goals against Rank: 2nd
PP Rank: 12th
PK Rank: 6th

Projected 2018-2019 NHL Stats

NHL Standings: 7th
Western Conference Standings: 4th
Central Division Standings: 2nd
Coach: Peter Laviolette (328-182-99 regular season with Nashville; 30-25 playoffs)
(571-381-25-110 all-time coaching; 73-64)

Overview:

The Predators seemingly came out of nowhere entering the 2017 playoffs as an 8th seed and seeping the Chicago Blackhawks before a loss to the Penguins in the finals. It’s a story very reminiscent of the Las Vegas Knights this past season. Last year the Predators lost in the 2nd round to a stacked Winnipeg Jets team showing that any team can get hot in the playoffs. Top line Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Kevin Fiala is full of some dangerous shooters. The great part about Nashville is their depth, behind that top line Kyle Turris seems to get better each season, Victor Arvidsson has stepped up to be a pure goal scorer and Calle Jarnkrok adds a smart two way player. Eeli Tolvanen is one exciting prospect, Nick Bonino has experience and Craig Smith can get hot at any given time and a fourth line of Colton Sissons, Frederick Gaudreau and Ryan Hartman is among one of the best in the league. Ok so the forwards are stacked. Defensively, Roman Jose and Ryan Ellis are easily a top 5 pairing, Mattias Ekholm and P.K. Subban are a great pairing in terms of positioning and scoring. Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber might just be the only serious weakness on this team. In net the tandem of Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros both posted sub 2.5 GAA’s and Sv% .925 and up. Pekka is one of the best goalies in the league but he even outdid himself last year posting near career lows in GAA and SV%, I’m expecting him to regress slightly this year. Peter Laviolette is well seasoned and an excellent playoff coach, he will continue to be a valuable asset leading this team. The biggest deterrent for this team is probably their division, Minnesota is a pillar of consistency, Winnipeg has become potentially the most lethal team on offense, St. Louis has made a number of improvements and Dallas looks to be on the upswing. I will also be curious if the Austin Wilson suspension proves to be distracting for the team at the beginning of the season or if the retirement of Mike Fisher detracts from the leadership (not that he played a ton last year as it was).

Major Additions:

None

Major Subtractions:

Mike Fisher

Prospects and Picks:

-Eeli Tolvanen. Taken 30th overall in the 2017 draft, Eeli is among the 15 best NHL prospects right now. He spent most of last season in the KHL where he put up 36 points in 49 games. He spent a brief 3 game stint with the Predators with no points to show for it but he will be sitting on the second or third line this year and will definitely be an asset for this team. He can beat teams with his shot or his on ice vision and passing.

-Dante Fabbro. Taken 17th overall in the 2016 draft, Fabbro has spent the last two seasons playing for Boston University posting 47 points in 74 games. He is closer than most his age to coming up to the NHL but likely still a year away. He sees the ice very well and can read the play and how it will materialize in an expert fashion. Like many his age he needs to bulk up a bit and the team will want to see his game translate to the professional level.

Sleeper Fantasy Asset:

-Eeli Tolvanen. If he jumps past Calle Jarnkrok on the 2nd line then he is a must add. A line consisting of him and Victor Arvidsson is a recipe for 40-50+ points from both. If he stays on the third line is a very deep play. I would also add they Kyle Turris should see 50+ points given a full season with the team this year and should be looked at.

Cap Situation:

$66MM Spent; $12M in Cap room; 19 players signed; average team age 28.

Poll

Do the Predators have someone with over 64 points this year (they didn’t have one last year)

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    Yes
    (14 votes)
  • 12%
    No
    (2 votes)
16 votes total Vote Now