There is a secret weapon on the Nashville Predators’ roster. We all know it. Letting Aberg loose would only help the bottom lines.
There is no doubt the roster of the Nashville Predators is laced with talent. The top four defensemen are often considered the best collection in the league. With the addition of Kyle Turris, the top two forward lines are threats to score all game. The JoFA line is performing at an elite level yet again.
But, it can’t just be the top to lines. In order to win it all, the Predators must have production from the entire roster. Stability helps build understanding and chemistry, thus shuffling the lines game in and game out is not ideal. Combining Nick Bonino, Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok is interesting; however, the lack of a true scoring winger limits the potency of the line.
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To me, it is simple. Move Jarnkrok to the fourth line, and put Pontus Aberg on the third.
Now, this is not an indictment of Jarnkrok’s ability or performance thus far. It is a move to match skills with need throughout the roster. Jarnkrok is not a winger. Sure, he is a 30-point scoring threat, but his skill set is best utilized from the center position.
Aberg, however, is a winger through and through. So far, his stats for this year mirror what he did in the regular season last year. We all know there is more to come. Whether it is Corsi numbers, high danger chances, or just points, Aberg’s numbers are comparable to his limited action in 2016-17.
But, there is more. When Aberg is on the ice this season, the Predators are converting on a higher percentage of high danger chances. Opponents are shooting for a much lower percentage. Granted, it is commonly against team’s third and fourth lines, but numbers are what they are.
What impresses me most is the energy Aberg showed in his return from his conditioning assignment. He has pressured the puck, sped up and down the ice and certainly showed some passion.
I compare Aberg to Kevin Fiala. Both are fast and noted for their ability to score. Fiala is finding his way, but he is also playing with Turris and Craig Smith. Maybe playing with Sissons and Bonino would open Aberg to more opportunities?
The fact remains the Nashville Predators need more from the third and fourth lines. More consistency, more points. Aberg has the talent. It is time we see it.