The Nashville Predators keep going all over the place in the standings. It’s hard to make the right NHL predictions for this team, as the roster constantly experiences change. The year of 2021 will be no exception, as the Predators will see plenty of new faces after a few older stars left. Our preview of the team shows that they will likely see 2021 as a season of change.
The Preds have some useful players to watch, but the team has lost too many of its top players this offseason. The club will need some of its players who have been slumping to make a comeback this year if they want a shot at the playoffs.
What to See With the Predators
The Nashville Predators saw Craig Smith, Mikael Granlund, and Nick Bonino leave in the offseason. These forwards were among the most active goal-scorers on the team. Filip Forsberg remains on the roster, and he will be more reliant on Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen to perform this season. Forsberg had a weak shooting percentage last season, as he was at 10.6 percent, a total much less than the 12.3 he averages for his career.
Ryan Johansen slumped last season, getting 36 points in 68 games last year. Matt Duchene also had thirteen goals, his worst seasonal total in his career. The two will need extra help from Forsberg if they are going to rebound and perform any better this coming season.
The team will also rely on Eeli Tolvanen to be productive. He scored more than twenty goals with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals last season. He has been playing with Jokerit in the KHL while waiting for the NHL season to start, so he is still refining his skills and getting some playing time.
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) December 20, 2020
Elsewhere on the team, Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi will lead the defense. Josi had 65 points last year, a career high. He is also one of the more active shooters among defensemen in the NHL. Ellis had 38 points in 49 games last year, although he has shown more skill on even-strength than what he displays in other situations on the ice.
Juuse Saros will be the new starter for the team this season. Pekka Rinne was the starter for a while, but he has been relegated to the backup position following Saros’ outstanding performance last season, especially in the playoffs. Saros had a 2.70 GAA and 91.4 percent save percentage last season. Both of these totals were substantially greater than what Rinne saw last season.
Where Will the Preds Finish in Their Division?
We predict the Nashville Predators will finish in fourth place in the Central Division. The Predators have some appealing pieces, but losing plenty of talented forwards will hurt.
Will the Predators Make the Playoffs?
While the Nashville Predators will put in a substantial amount of effort towards trying to compete for the playoffs, we feel the Preds will miss out on the postseason this coming year. The competition for the Predators will be too great for them to overcome.
The coming season will likely focus on seeing how well some of the team’s new faces will compete, as the team is not going to be as effective as people would hope this year.
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Image by: Michael Miller