The Smashville Staple: Defense
Most teams in the NHL would be okay with having Roman Josi and Shea Weber as their top defensive duo. All they are is the number one scoring defensive pair in the league- one of whom ranks 4th in scoring defensemen and the other wields a 108 mph slapshot.
As illustrated in this article, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis could serve as top-pair blueliners for a good portion of the league’s teams- and these numbers are coming with Nashville producing scoring with their forwards, allowing the defense to play a more defensively-oriented game. Ellis, who recently suffered an upper-body injury (puck to the head), was skating before last Saturday’s game, as was injured defender Anthony Bitetto. This bodes well for the Predators, as the two returning from injury before the postseason begins remains critical to the team’s success.
The defense is rounded out by rookie Petter Granberg and veteran Barret Jackman. The former performed admirably in a sixth defender role during the Predator’s franchise record point streak, and either man is a serviceable sixth/seventh option- again expanding Nashville’s depth beyond their active roster.
And our Fifth Reason:
Next: A Playoff Difference