Another week has flown by in the pre-season and questions linger. The Nashville Predators have a big week ahead and many decisions that need to be made.
Another week full of hopeful stories and disappointments. We saw skaters seemingly play their way into the opening night, but we’ve also seen skaters play their way back to Milwaukee. More about that later in the article though. Opening night is under a week away and there are still a few questions for the Nashville Predators to answer. How will David Poile and Peter Laviolette handle the roster? Will there be any big snubs? Only time will tell.
5. Salomaki on the third line?
Miikka Salomaki has come out swinging in the pre-season and showing that he deserves a spot on the roster. Honestly, it feels like we all forgot about him in the last year after injuries kept him to just five games. Well, there’s no way we can’t acknowledge him now. Salomaki’s recorded three goals in three games and is hitting everything that moves. He’s also been doing well according to advanced stats by not posting less than a 50.00 Fenwick score. Even though the Nashville Predators had a less than impressive game against Columbus. But where does Salomaki fit in? On the third line?
But where does Salomaki fit in? On the third line? Does he replace Pontus Aberg? Well, that’s not a clean cut question. Aberg brings a level of skill that Salomaki doesn’t possess, although Salomaki brings a physical presence. Maybe a fourth line is a more suitable…
4. Recent camp cuts down to 26, must be 23 by October 3rd
The Nashville Predators made some real cuts within the last week or so. A few notable names were Emil Pettersson, Yakov Trenin, and, most notably, Alexandre Carrier. Many people including myself had high hopes for Carrier although it seems like Samuel Girard has surpassed him on the depth chart. I didn’t expect much from Pettersson and Trenin, but both were a bit invisible. They both have excuses though. This will be Trenin’s first year in the AHL and first year against professional competition. Pettersson has played against professional competition over in Europe, although he hid it on international ice. Which, as we know, is wider than North American ice. So there was bound to be some growing pains.
Well now there are 26 players and there can only be 23 by October 3rd. The good news for the guys on the bubble is that since Ryan Ellis is injured, that means only two players must be cut rather than three. The three likely players to be cut are center Vladislav Kamenev, defenseman Anthony Bitetto, and defenseman Samuel Girard. Bitetto is a non-factor to me as he’s a 7th defenseman at best. But Girard is a different story, I’ll talk more about him later in the article though. Kamenev is a player that could go either way though. The Predators are deep at forward and center so it might be another year in the AHL for the young center.
3. Calgary stadium drama should make Nashville Predators fans feel lucky
The Flames and the city of Calgary are going through quite the spat right now. The Flames desperately want a new arena, but they don’t want to pay for it. Instead, they want the taxpayer to foot most of the bill and the mayor has fought back. I’m usually against politics in sports but this week has been a doozy, for Canada and the United States. Now the Flames are backing a mayoral candidate who is pushing to fund the arena out of the city’s pocket. I have no idea how it’ll end up, but I can tell you one thing, I’m typically against helping billionaires pay for a million dollar stadium.
As it sits now, the Flames will contribute 275 million towards a 550 million dollar stadium, and the rest will come from the city. Not the worst deal, but it doesn’t stop there. The city will be required to pay for security and there were rumors that there would be no revenue sharing. That would be a huge blow to the city, and it’s not like the Flames are going anywhere.
Sorry I totally forgot this was a Nashville Predators article. Well in an article from the Tennessean in may, it was reported that Bridgestone Arena will need 183.3 million dollars over the next 20 years. The only difference is that the Nashville Predators are happy to foot the majority of the bill and love their location. They’re not going anywhere anytime soon, thanks to a great ownership group and a great location.
2. Eeli Tolvanen is off to a scorching start in KHL
The newest Nashville Predators first-round draft pick is making it seem like an absolute steal. Eeli Tolvanen is off to a scorching start with seven goals and 12 points in 11 games. His fast-paced style will fit in well when he joins the Nashville Predators in the next few seasons. He seems like Arvidsson-lite, although more skilled but less physical.
I don’t think Tolvanen will continue on at this pace, and that a slump is incoming. But overall, I think he will continue to grow as a player and seriously impress people. In my mind, Tolvanen will be the steal of the 2017 draft.
1. Girard is playing his way onto the Nashville Predators
Samuel Girard is what I expected Alexandre Carrier to be. Girard played a total of 24:02 minutes last night versus the Blue Jackets and didn’t look terrible. He spent most of his time with Matt Irwin, rather than Roman Josi who I thought he would.
Girard has been a wonderful addition to the Nashville Predators pre-season brigade and has left many wondering where he fits in come the season opener. He just posted his first negative Corsi score on Thursday but still managed to post a positive Fenwick. Wherever this kid plays, he brings positive possession scores and points. Expect him to get his full nine games with the Nashville Predators before he is sent down for his final year in juniors. I don’t think he’ll make the line-up full time but he’ll at least get some games in.
Girard has played first line minutes over the last few games and I expect him to continue the trend during the final pre-season game.