Nashville’s Best Case/Worst Case Scenarios: Third-Line


We stated our predictions for the Predators fourth-line for the upcoming season here along with our take on each fourth-liner’s best case/worst case scenarios. Now we shift our focus to the third-line we could consistently see next season in Nashville.

Here is the list we have come up with that shows our prediction of the Predators roster-sheet for this upcoming season. You will notice names such as Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok listed here.

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*Mike Fisher is expected to miss 4-6 months due to a ruptured Achillles.

The third-line last season featured just about every Predators forward on the roster other than the top-liners we know and see via the “on paper” approach. The third-line featured Gabriel Bourque, Matt Cullen, Eric Nystrom, Viktor Stalberg, former Predator Nick Spaling and others just to name a few. Pretty much every Predators forward outside of Mike Fisher, Craig Smith, and former Predator Patric Hornqvist saw time on Barry Trotz’s third-line last season.

None of us of course know exactly what new head coach Peter Laviolette may do with the line combinations with his new offensive-heavy approach making its way to Nashville; but looking at the Predators’ roster on paper and basing things off of the past (which may not have an implication of course) here is my prediction of the players we will see to start the season and see a majority of playing time on the third-line.

This table will be edited and used throughout the coming days as we take a look at the other lines for the Predators.

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Healthy Scratches: Rich Clune and Paul Gaustad

Injured Reserve (IR): Mike Fisher

Viktor Stalberg

Viktor Stalberg had his worst full NHL season of his career last year. With that being said, most people would agree that there is no where to go but up for Stalberg. Stalberg is one of the best skaters in the Predators’ system; he could benefit very well in a new offensive-heavy system this season with Peter Laviolette behind the bench.

Last season: 70 games played; 8 goals, 10 assists, 18 points, -14+/- rating

Best Case Scenario

Viktor Stalberg has his best season of his NHL career by scoring 23 goals and adding 25 assists for a total of 48 points. He also betters his +/- rating by doing so, finishing the year with a +8 +/- rating. Stalberg could also see time on the second pairing of the power-play unit if he produces points at a decently high-rate.

-Stalberg’s Best Case Stat-Line: 80 games played; 23 goals, 25 assists, 48 total points, +8 +/- rating

-Worst Case Scenario

Stalberg essentially has an identical season to last season. Stalberg doesn’t fit into the scheme of Laviolette’s system ,which I think is almost impossible to say, but ends up having an extremely slow start to the season and finds himself a healthy-scrath in some cases.

-Stalberg’s Worst Case Stat-Line: 58 games played; 6 goals, 11 assists, 17 total points, -15 +/- rating

Calle Jarnkrok

Calle Jarnkrok is a bit of a question mark for the Predators this season. Jarnkrok was the return-piece in the David Legwand trade to the Detroit Red Wings. Jarnkrok played in 12-games for the Predators last-season and impressed. He had nine-points in those 12-games. Jarnkrok is almost a guarantee to make the team, and I think he will fit in nicely with the speedy forwards Viktor Stalberg and Gabriel Bourque on the third-line.

Last season: 12 games played; 2 goals, 7 assists, 9 total points, +7 +/- rating

-Best Case Scenario

Simply putting things, Jarnkrok does as he is expected. Jarnkrok acts as the go-to third-line center for the Predators and produces at a high-rate. The twenty-two year old performs at a high-level anchoring the middle of the ice among his line-mates.

-Jarnkrok’s Best Case Stat-Line: 80 games played; 19 goals, 26 assists, 45 total points, +9 +/- rating

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-Worst Case Scenario

Jarnkrok gets off to an extremely slow start in the points category and is replaced in the lineup by one of the younger guys itching for a solid role for the Predators such as Colton Sissons.

-Jarnkrok’s Worst Case Stat-Line: 57 games played; 9 goals, 13 assists, 22 total points, -6 +/- rating

Gabriel Bourque

Gabriel Bourque is also still a very young forward in the Predators’ system. Bourque is still only twenty-three years old and is still a guy that is/could still be developing into a very solid NHL forward.

Last season: 74 games played; 9 goals, 17 assists, 26 total points, -5 +/- rating

-Best Case Scenario

Bourque has a breakout season for the Predators. Breakout season is a broad term, but in Bourque’s case, it’s a season where he slightly sniffs doubling his point total he had a year ago. Bourque was on pace for a good season in the lockout shortened 2012-2013 season with 16 points in 34 games played.

-Bourque’s Best Case Stat-Line: 76 games played; 17 goals, 25 assists, 42 total points, +5 +/- rating

-Worst Case Scenario

Bourque doesn’t keep developing as he has, and dips under the 20-point season total mark. If Bourque doesn’t produce as much as our predicted fourth-liner Matt Cullen does, Bourque could see himself on the fourth-line.

-Bourque’s Worst Case Stat-Line: 67 games played; 8 goals, 12 assists, 20 total points, -8 +/- rating.

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