Nashville Predators James Neal (18). Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators Sniper James Neal
Yahoo Rankings – 71 ESPN Ranking – 86, 57th in Forwards NHL.com -112
I hate to keep saying that I think that these guys are going to have a better year but James Neal is another Predator that I think will do just that. Even though he had 23 goals last year which is certainly nothing to complain about for anyone in the Predators Blue and Gold, more was expected.
That was his lowest total ever in a full season and he only had 37 points, another low point. He battled some injury problems in the latter part of the season and he moved back and forth a little between the top two lines when the first line went into a February swoon.
As I mentioned before, I can’t believe that the Predators power play won’t be better this year after last year’s struggles and I think Neal can be a big part of that. We certainly saw plenty of flashes of brilliance last season and it was refreshing to have a player that seemed to know where to be and how to snap off shots at the net. It seemed like Neal was snake-bit for part of the season where nothing would go in even on good opportunities. He had only 3 power play goals and 4 points and that has to be an aberration.
In fantasy mode, he can help you with Goal Scoring and Power Play points but is also an asset in leagues that count Penalty Minutes. He has always been known for spending a little time in the Sin Bin and last year was no exception with 57 minutes of penalty time.
If you believe, as I do that the Predators will score more this year, especially on the Power Play, then James Neal will be a nice forward to pick up later in your draft. He is eligible at both wing positions in Yahoo which always helps when plugging in your lineups.
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