Nashville Predators: Top 5 Differences from Last Season

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images) /

#3. Secondary Scoring

A major difference starting in 2017 that has the chance to hurt the Nashville Predators is their secondary scoring. Everyone knows how well the first line will be, but what about after that? Two of Nashville’s top six scorers from last season will not be returning, James Neal and Mike Fisher. This will definitely take a huge toll on the team and they will need to find scorers to fill that void.

Nashville did sign two new forwards through free agency, Nick Bonino and Scott Hartnell. Still, it is unlikely that either of them will be able to fill Neal’s and Fisher’s shoes. Fisher and Neal both scored more than 40 points last season, and Nick Bonino has only done that once in his entire career, and that was four years ago. Hartnell, on the other hand, has the skill set to score 40 or more points, it is just a matter of how much playing time he will get. Last season was his lowest since his rookie season where he averaged 10.

If the two free agent signings will not be able to replicate the scoring from Fisher and Neal. Then the Nashville Predators will need some younger guys to step up in a major way. Kevin Fiala is the most likely candidate to rise to the ranks. He was having a great run in the playoffs last season before injuring his leg. If he is able to return to form, look for him to contribute in a major way. After Fiala it is a bit of a mystery though. Craig Smith has the ability and Pontus Aberg has the potential, but at this point, all we can do is wait and see how things play out.