Nashville Predators: Predators Centers vs The Best of the West

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Fans of the Nashville Predators often worry about centers. Are they justified? How does Nashville compare to their competition?

Everybody knows that the Nashville Predators’ calling card is their defense & goaltending. It’s been that way throughout the 2010s, and the 2017-18 season appears to be no different. Even with Ryan Ellis out, Nashville shouldn’t have to worry about their defense too much. When you’ve got P.K. Subban & Roman Josi, worrying is downright silly. You can stack Nashville’s defensemen against any team’s group of defensemen in the National Hockey League and feel pretty good about the Predators’ chances.

One position Nashville fans have never felt particularly good about is center.

Is concern over the center position justified? Today I’ll look at the Nashville centers compared to the centers of other teams in the Western Conference considered to Stanley Cup contenders. The Anaheim Ducks & Edmonton Oilers appear as the cream of the Pacific Division. We know the Central is always a crapshoot so it’s a little tougher to pick two teams to highlight. I decided on the Minnesota Wild & Dallas Stars, but let’s face it, it could be the Chicago Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues standing in the Predators’ way. You never really know.

I’ve used four main statistics to judge the centers by. Goals & Assists are fairly self-explanatory.

FF%-Fenwick percentage at Even Strength. Fenwick is a player’s shots + misses. The average if 50%, so over 50% is good. If a team has an above 50% Fenwick percentage, the team was controlling the puck more often than not with you on the ice.

CF% rel – Relative Fenwick For percentage at even strength. Corsi is a player’s shots + blocks + misses. Basically, it adds a defensive component to the player’s Fenwick number. The relative Corsi takes the player’s value on ice and subtracts the team’s off-ice Corsi. The higher the better.