The Nashville Predators needed a true second line center and they got one. It’s not Matt Duchene but Kyle Turris is more than capable of filling in the gap.
I don’t know about everyone else, but my family had a knack for saying extremely cliche things. Whether it was don’t count your chickens before they hatch or till the cows come home, there was a cliche for everything. I’m here to recite my personal favorite, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. While the JoFA line is extremely effective in the offensive zone and dominates possession, sharing the wealth is still the best idea in my opinion. Kyle Turris will help a lot with secondary scoring, but he can’t do it alone. Keeping Arvidsson, or better yet Forsberg off the first line would help ease Turris into a new role with a new team.
Instead of reuniting the JoFA line and trying a myriad of talent around Turris, why not put him in an immediate position to succeed with some elite scoring talent? To better clarify, here is the top six that I would roll out.
Ryan Johansen stays the first line center. We can moan all we want about how he’s not scoring goals at the moment, but he’s far and away the best possession driver on the team. Johansen creates so many opportunities that it would be crazy to move him down. Scott Hartnell would be my pick on the left side, which isn’t a bold opinion anymore. The duo has looked great together in the LA and Anaheim. They have produced a Corsi of 53.95% and a Fenwick of 56.14%, great numbers coming from a line that’s generally facing top defensive pairings. In all honesty, those numbers are actually down from their averages, but that’s because Hartnell usually faces third line competition and Johansen usually has Forsberg on his wing. So it’s actually impressive to see positive numbers coming from players who aren’t exactly in their comfort zone.
The third man on the right would remain Viktor Arvidsson. Arvidsson is a high motor jack of all trades player, but he doesn’t drive possession like Forsberg and Johansen do. That’s a reason why I’d move Forsberg over Arvidsson, so that Arvidsson can stay with an analytics darling like Johansen. I don’t want to take anything away from Arvidsson, but he’s just not the same player without Johansen or Forsberg. The good news is all three have a combined Corsi of 55.26% and a Fenwick of 56.67%.
So all in all, the new first line would be Hartnell-Johansen-Arvidsson. A dangerous trio for sure.
To the surprise of no one, Filip Forsberg will headline this line on the left wing. He’s an elite sniper who can score from almost anywhere in the offensive zone. Putting a bonafide sniper like Forsberg with Turris will help him ease into the team. It also might help Turris start producing in five on five situations, something he’s struggled with this year. Forsberg had played on the second line over the past few games, and I think continuing to do so will help spread the scoring.
As we all expect, Kyle Turris will center the second line. This might be a good move for him as he won’t have to face first pair defencemen like he did in Ottawa. Also, no offense to Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone, but giving Turris a sniper like Forsberg may do wonders for his point totals.
Then there’s the elusive second line winger. David Poile should’ve known that he was going to trade for Kyle Turris and sign Nick Bonino during the expansion draft so he could shoot that bum, Calle Jarnkork into the hole known as Vegas. This way they could’ve kept James Neal who would’ve totally shot 45% to start the season for the Nashville Predators… Disclaimer, I’m joking. There are quite a few options for the right wing spot. The one I’m most curious about is Pontus Aberg, although that’s a long shot after Peter Laviolette benched him after his best game of the season in Anaheim. So I’m going with my gut and saying it will be Craig Smith.
The Nashville Predators finally have center depth! Who knew it would Kyle Turris and Ryan Johansen leading the way but here we are. I’m a little disappointed we won’t get to see Turris against Columbus, but it’s probably for the best. Let him start in Nashville after a few days of developing some chemistry with his new mates.
This is it. There really aren’t any excuses anymore, besides maybe Ryan Ellis being out. The Nashville Predators are going all in. The bottom six also looks pretty good as well, but that’s for another article. David Poile had to give up quite a bit, but at this moment, it seems worth it.