For the most part, this Predators team is pretty solid, top-to-bottom. They've got lots of offensive pep in their forwards, their defense is certainly among the best in the league and their goaltending tandem soaks it all in and turns out wins. That's how it should be done and the Predators are making it look somewhat easy.
The real trick to this team appears that they've all been put together at really good times at each other's career path. Not very many guys on this roster are over the age of 30, except for their number one goalie, but he brings a ton of experience. The offense is still young, dynamic and with an addition or two, it's only getting younger and more dynamic. You throw in that they have one of the best home crowds in the NHL, if you believe what your eyes have seen on TV, they've got themselves into a pretty good spot right now.
Table last updated on August 10th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
I may have said this once or twice on this blog before, but I'm pretty excited to see what Eeli Tolvanen is going to do with the Nashville Predators. I'm a big fan of the natural goal scorers and he seems to fit snug into that mould.
Needless to say, I would think it to be rather surprising, if he isn't in the Calder Trophy running by the end of the regular season, after seeing what he could do for Finland at the international level. A solid off-season training regiment would certainly help his case at the physical level, but he shouldn't need much more, in terms of talent. He's got lots of that already.
First Round Picks
The back bone of this Predators team is goaltender Pekka Rinne and he's getting his dues in these projections, as he's one of the few players that I have topping the 100-point mark in hockey pool scoring this season. I wouldn't hesitate to take him as early as 1st overall, since I believe the Predators are going to be a strong team.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
I have eight forwards looking to jump into the top 200 this season, which is just more reason to believe the hype of this Nashville squad. Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, Kyle Turris, Eeli Tolvanen, Kevin Fiala, Craig Smith and Calle Jarnkrok could all be very good additions to your pool team at relative entry points at the draft. Forsberg is definitely worthy of some early round consideration, as he quietly leads with his scoring prowess.
Other Pool Worthy Defensemen
You can't go very long talking about the Predators blueline, which is excessively rich in talent. P.K Subban, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis are all top notch defenders and are projected to dominate the scoresheet with their puck moving abilities, while Mattias Ekholm quietly goes about his business and racks up his fair share of points as well.
In back-to-back seasons, Juuse Saros has finished 44th among all goalies in hockey pool scoring, keeping him in the hockey pool conversation, despite playing behind one of the league's premier minute eaters. The Predators haven't been afraid to play Saros in any situation and if Rinne tires at all, he can go for an extended period of time too.
Team to Pick From Late?
If there are any Predator players left late on in the draft, then yes, you should probably snap them up. They are going to be a popular bunch and there won't be many sleepers on this team, since that mustard yellow will be painted across many hockey pool team rosters.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
Surprisingly, the Predators are coming in with plenty of cap space for the rest of the season. I currently have their 23-man roster coming in with $7.7 million in cap space under the ceiling, which is all kinds of impressive. Nashville management is running an absolute clinic on how to run an NHL organization at the moment.
Shoulder surgery in the off-season for forward Ryan Hartman was the only thing on the list for the Predators, at the time of writing up this projections post. It did sound like he should be good to go for the start of the season, so it doesn't look like there is too much to worry about here.