Predators Season Preview: Saros to Lead the Charge Again

The 2022-23 NHL season begins on October 7. With training camp opening soon, NHL.com is taking a look at the three keys, the scoop on roster questions and the projected lineup for each of the 32 teams. Today, the Nashville Predators.

Coach: John Hynes (season four)

Last season: 45-30-7, fifth place in the Central Division; lost to the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the Western Conference

3 KEYS

1. Saros Workload

Goalie juuse saros led the NHL with 67 games last season after never starting more than 35. But late in the season he suffered a lower-body injury that kept him out during the Predators’ four-game loss to the Avalanche in the Stanley’s first round. Cup Playoffs. Saros was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy and told the Predators website earlier this month that he felt great all season. But playing so many games over multiple seasons can be exhausting. kevin lankinen he signed a one-year deal, and if he can provide a reliable backup option, it would ease Saros’ load and allow him to be fresh and healthy for the playoff push — and potentially a deep run.

Video: Juuse Saros’ 10 best saves of the 2021-22 season

2. Tolvanen stepping up

In 2020-21, forward Eeli Tolvanen led the Predators with six power-play goals and had 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 40 games, raising hopes that the 30th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft was poised for a big role . Last season, the 23-year-old had 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 75 games and scored a power-play goal. Nashville scored 262 goals last season, but nearly a third of that (32.4 percent) came from forwards. matte duchenne (Predators-record 43 goals) and Philip Forsberg (The best run in the NHL 42). Ryan Johansen (26) was the only other player to score more than 25. Tolvanen has been a goal scorer at every other level of hockey he’s played, and the Predators certainly hope he can find that scoring touch in the NHL.

3. Meet high expectations

The Predators traded for defense ryan macdonagh to join a unit led by the Norris Trophy winner josi roman Y Mattias Ekholmand signed the six-time 20-goal scorer Nino Niederreiter to provide secondary scoring up front behind Forsberg, Duchene and Johansen. With Saros, who was third in the NHL with 38 wins and third in voting for the Vezina Trophy, there will be high expectations for a team that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2018. The way the players handle it, especially as principle, it will be worth looking at.

TEMPLATE SUMMARY

making the cut

Five of the top six forwards look set with Forsberg, Johansen, Duchene, Niederreiter and mikael granlund all places secured in the first two lines. Who plays with them? Tolvanen is likely to get the first shot, but tanner jeannot, who led NHL rookies with 24 goals last season, could also have a chance. Another option could be Philip Tomasinowho added 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists) in 76 games as a debutant.

The most intriguing addition

McDonagh brings experience gained from two Stanley Cup championships and three straight trips to the Cup Finals with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 33-year-old can play in any situation, even against the opposition’s best lines, which would ease Josi’s workload in a similar way to the way he eased the workload of Victor Hedman with Tampa Bay.

Biggest Potential Surprise

Tomasino could steal a spot in the top six after an impressive rookie season. The 21-year-old averaged 1.74 points per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 on ice, ninth among rookie forwards to play at least 50 games, despite averaging 10:00 5-on-5 on ice per game, which was 29th out of 30 ranked players. He finished the regular season strong with 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in his last 28 games, including three of his four multipoint games.

ready to break

cody glass was acquired in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights for forward patrick nolan on July 17, 2021, hoping the center could tap into the potential Vegas saw when it selected him with the No. 6 pick in the 2017 draft. He had one assist in eight NHL games, but excelled in the League. American Hockey, leading Milwaukee with 62 points (14 goals, 48 ‚Äč‚Äčassists) in 66 games. Still 23 years old and entering his fourth season of professional hockey, this could be the season that Glass establishes himself as a full-time NHL player.

fantasy sleeper

Niederreiter, LW (average fantasy draft position: 172.7) — He led the Carolina Hurricanes in 5-on-5 goals per 60 minutes (1.10) last season and has a solid coverage record in the fantasy category (57 points, 14 power-play points, 186 shots on goal with the Minnesota Wild in 2016-17). Niederreiter, who also offers solid shooting coverage (1.5 per game in 732 NHL games), is a deep fantasy sleeper ahead of a top-nine role for the Predators, who were tied for 12th. in goals per game (3.20) last season and improved this offseason. –Pete Jensen

PROJECTED LINE

Filip Forsberg-Mikael Granlund-Matt Duchene

Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Johansen, Eeli Tolvanen

Tanner Jeannot- Colton SissonsYakov Trenin

Zach Sandford –Cody Glass-Philip Tomasino

Roman Josh. Dante Fabbro

Mattias Ekholm-Ryan McDonagh

Jeremy LauzonAlexandre Bearer

juuse saros

kevin lankinen

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