The Nashville Predators have boasted one of the best power play units in the NHL. Although the second unit has made much less of an impact.
Kyle Turris is a powerplay monster, last year he averaged 3:32 minutes per game. This year he’s averaging a bit less but he’s still producing. He currently has four powerplay points including two goals. The Nashville Predators currently own some of the best power play stats in the NHL, but those mostly come from the first unit. The second unit has been lacking a playmaker, and it looks like they finally have one in Turris.
Adding Turris means that the Predators can even out each unit’s time on ice, so as to keep all players a bit more fresh. This also means that the Predators can maybe adjust their power play style to sit players who already shoulder a heavy workload.
As I mentioned, the first unit has been on fire. That unit is Scott Hartnell, Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg with P.K. Subban and Roman Josi on the backend. The second line has been Kevin Fiala, Colton Sissons (at times), Craig Smith, with Viktor Arvidsson and Mattias Ekholm on defense.
While these are two good units, putting Turris on the second unit makes it exponentially better. If I had my way, I’d put Turris on the second unit at center and move Sissons to the wing. From there I’d move Smith onto the first unit and move Subban or Josi to the second unit in a defensive role. My units would look like
You’ll notice that I take Mattias Ekholm off the powerplay entirely, this has absolutely nothing to do with Ekholm’s skill. The man is currently playing over 25 minutes a night on average against the toughest competition. He might need a break. Obviously, this will line-up will change once Ryan Ellis returns from injury. At that point, Ellis will replace Smith and Smith will replace Sissons if he isn’t performing up to par.
So at this point I should mention that Kyle Turris played with the best defenseman in the NHL, Erik Karlsson. Karlsson is the best power play quarterback the NHL has seen since possibly Bobby Orr or Scott Niedermayer. While Turris has produced admirably on the power play, I’m a little curious to see if the production continues without that crutch. Although P.K. Subban or Mattias Ekholm isn’t too much of a step-down.
Does he make an impact?
Yes, almost immediately so. The current second unit doesn’t really have a playmaker besides Smith, and Smith can be frigid at times. Putting a more consistent playmaker like Turris should really help Fiala and Sissons get on the board more. Who knows though, the Nashville Predators have been so topsy-turvy this season that every prediction seems to go awry. I will venture to make a cold take, and say that Turris will affect this power play in a positive light.