Nashville Predators: Looking at the Power Play Units

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (middle) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (middle) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators Power Play unit will have some different players this season.  What will it look like?

The Nashville Predators will have a new look this season on defense with the acquisition of P.K. Subban, Yannick Weber, and Matt Carle. It’s fair to say our defensive play with be a tad different with the new guys, but how will the changes affect our special teams? Shea Weber was one of the main focal points for our power play last season, and he was very effective. Out of his 20 goals last season 14 of them were on the power play.

The Preds first unit, that included Weber, would pass the puck around until they found an opening or until specifically Weber was open for a one-timer slap shot by the hardest shot in the NHL. Weber is now gone but Subban and the rest of the defense are guys who are dangerous when on the attack. Even though the Predators have always been known for their defense David Poile has used his wizard wand to gather some talented forwards for this team too.

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Filip Forsberg, James Neal, and Ryan Johansen are the cornerstones to this teams forwards. Joey is a playmaking center that has some sweet hands especially when it comes to finding the open man. Forsberg and Neal are the goal scorers who provided 30 goal seasons apiece last season. Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher are the two older guys, but both provide different resources that can help on the PP.

Ribeiro is a playmaker just like Johansen. Ribs has been known his whole career as a pass first guy. Fisher is a strong body who likes to get in front of the net and either screen the goalie, defect some goals in, or battle to knock the puck through. They got some outstanding players, but for some reason the Preds couldn’t take advantage when they had the PP in the playoffs. In fact it was hard to watch, but maybe this season we can change our luck.

Here are the likely power play unit combinations for The Nashville Predators.

First Unit

Forwards: Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Mike Ribeiro

Defense: P.K. Subban, Roman Josi

It’s tough to keep your best scoring trio off of the same line, but just like on your starting five you want to spread out the talent. Both Forsberg and Johansen can score, and both Johansen and Ribeiro can both make the passing plays. Its kinda perfect if you think about it. Having a goal scorer, a playmaker, and a guy who can do both provides different options and keeps the penalty killers on edge.

Here’s a great example of Ribeiro’s passing and Forsberg’s scoring talents. In overtime against Montreal the team passed around to find the open guy, and Ribs found Filip open for a one timer across the next. Price is an élite goalie, but not even the best can get post to post that fast. Joey is just as effective at scoring and in his first game he showed just that.

On defense its going to be a bit more interesting. As most people have pointed out Roman Josi and Shea Weber had a great partnership. Josi was the puck handler and Weber was the slap shot and the safety net if Josi losses the puck. Now you’re providing the possibility of two puck handlers. I really like the idea of Subban and Josi, but the question is if their similar styles will cause some issues. If you’re going to have your defenseman joining the rush you want to make sure you don’t put yourself at risk.

I can understand some people might be worried about Subban’s high-risk high-reward type of attack, but his game and Josi’s game will complement one another and will give The Preds higher scoring chances on the PP.

Second Unit

Forwards: James Neal, Mike Fisher, Craig Smith

Defensemen: Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis

Neal will be the focal point of this line because he’s a pure goal scorer I just can’t express that enough. He makes shots and creates opportunities.

Mike Fisher, as stated before, is the body in front of the net. The guy that annoys goalies and defenders because let’s be honest no one likes that guy blocking their goaltender’s vision. Crag Smith has become a reliable scorer for the Preds since he’s got here. He had a solid season on a line with Forsberg and Ribeiro, and he’s a guy I see as a reliable body to help score goals in all situations.

Ekholm and Ellis are the perfect pair and I’d hate to see them split up. This is an example of why I believe in the Josi and Subban connection. These guys are fast and both can attack at any chance they get. Ekholm had a great postseason and a lot had to do with the rush attack.

This isn’t a power play goal, but it shows exactly what Lavy expects of his defensemen. Attack the net and create opportunities.

The Extras

Forward: Colin Wilson

Defenseman: Yannick Weber

These are two guys I want to believe in. Both had solid offensive years in 2014-2015 seasons but then faltered last season. Wilson has shown he can provide scoring in the postseason but needs to be more consistent. If he can get his act together he can give The Predators an extra threat, and could be put with any unit. Weber is someone we will have to keep a close eye on.

Once again he had a great season two years ago, but what we don’t know is if he’s capable of making a comeback. Poile signed him to a make it or break it one year deal. He’s a defenseman who fits Laviolette’s system and has the speed to be a threat, but will he turn it around or be pushed aside by someone else?

Next: Nashville Predators One-Sided Rivalry Problem

The Nashville Predators have a lot of talent this next season and we could see a ton of red lamps being lit up in Bridgestone Arena. I’m excited to see if our boys can make our power play a deadlier unit.