Nashville Predators: Five Thoughts For Friday, December 22nd

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 19: Calle Jarnkrok #19 of the Nashville Predators is congratulated by teammates Craig Smith #15 and Ryan Johansen #92 after scoring a goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Bridgestone Arena on December 19, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 19: Calle Jarnkrok #19 of the Nashville Predators is congratulated by teammates Craig Smith #15 and Ryan Johansen #92 after scoring a goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Bridgestone Arena on December 19, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

Happy holidays from the family over here at Predlines. We wish everyone, the Nashville Predators included, a wonderful few days on break.

Happy holidays to all. This is one of the best times of the year to celebrate all that we have. The Nashville Predators certainly have a lot to be thankful for, including some great talent coming up through the pipeline. Dante Fabbro and Eeli Tolvanen look like the real deal as they tear through their respective leagues. While Tolvanen has cooled off a little, Fabbro has caught fire after a slow start.

The 2018 NHL draft holds a lot to be excited for, and while the Nashville Predators won’t end up with a top 10 pick in the draft. There could be some solid prospects that could fall between 20-31.

5. A blockbuster trade occurred, just not in the NHL.

The stove is hot, just not in the big leagues. Top prospect in the 2018 draft, Joesph Veleno, was just traded from the St. John Sea Dogs to the Drummondville Voltigeurs for a cornucopia of picks. The 6’1 center has struggled so far this year with 31 points in 31 games, although many believe it to be the scarcity of talent around him. The Sea Dogs are second to last overall with a record of 10-19-6.

The Sea Dogs will receive three first round picks and two second round picks, while the Voltigeurs pick up an excellent playmaker to compliment their team. The Voltigeurs are fifth in the QMJHL and are looking to make a run at the memorial cup this year. Many professional scouts have stated that Veleno’s movement will positively affect his draft stock. Although many have Veleno going in the top five already. He’s a name we’ll talk about in the NHL for the next decade, so why not start now?

4. Subban signs with Addidas

P.K. Subban is a key representative of the NHL and hockey in general. Too many of our stars are trained from the age of 14 to be robots and not show emotion in front of the press or fans. The Nashville Predators and their fans are lucky to have a player like Subban who is one of the best defensemen, but also one of the best personalities. Hopefully, a bigger role in Addidas means more Subban in commercials or on tv in general.

3. Outdoor games and why do the Blackhawks always get them?

Outdoor games were brought into the fold by the NHL for one thing, money. I hate to say it but it’s true, the NHL is a business after all. That’s why we saw an explosion of outdoor games a few seasons ago when the stadium series happened. The NHL was trying to capitalize on the craze and forgot the rule of supply and demand.

Now we’re back to one or two outdoor games a year and it makes sense for the most part. But a lot of people get angry at why the Blackhawks are always in them, and it goes back to my original reason. It’s because people all over North America tune in to watch the Blackhawks. No offense to any smaller market teams that are objectively better, but they probably don’t have the nationwide appeal.

I think the best thing to do would be incorporating smaller market teams in with established market teams. Tampa vs Toronto, Hawks vs Predators, Vegas vs Edmonton. Personally, I think Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby should be in every outdoor game (put your biases aside, you know it to be true) as they’re the most exciting players in the NHL. The NBA and NFL do such a great job of marketing rivalries between star players, whereas the NHL tries to market rivalries between teams. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but the rivalry between Dez Bryant and Josh Norman is way more compelling than the old rivalry from six years ago between the Canadiens and the Bruins.

There are ways to fix the outdoor game, unfortunately most options will sacrifice profits now for profits down the line. And the NHL can’t afford to lose profits now, apparently.

2. Is Ottawa blowing everything up?

Aren’t owners hilarious? They take your money, take your liver (seriously, look it up), and they move your favorite team out of Ottawa. Eugene Melnyk is quickly becoming the most hated man in Ottawa, and he’s said that he may be forced to move the team if fans keep avoiding the games. So what’s a good way to lower the payroll? Trading players.

Who’s on the way out though? Surely we couldn’t see version 2 of the Matt Duchene sweepstakes, so who might be on the move? A couple of big names could be Mike Hoffman (5.187 mil), Mark Stone (3.5 mil, upcoming RFA), and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (3.1 mil). Erik Karlsson would obviously be the prize, but who can afford to trade for him?

There is no such thing as fair market value for a player like Karlsson because he truly is the best defender in the NHL. Even two first round picks and blue chip prospect might not be enough to pry him away. Is a blowup in Ottawa imminent? Probably not, but expect one or two players to be on their way out.

1. Where are the Predators’ shots coming from?

Aren’t heat maps the best? They’ve got plenty of colors to keep us entertained and we learn something at the same time. What does the heat map above tell us? Nothing good, the Nashville Predators aren’t really getting shots in from the high danger areas. They instead elect to shoot from the sides and point in hopes of creating rebounds. These rebounds aren’t really happening though, except for that left side. Hopefully the Predators figure out a way to attack the slot and create some much better chances.

The shots against are a somewhat similar story. The Predators are doing a good job of shutting down the slot, but allow a lot of traffic in the net front area. Chances from the volcano (net area) are extremely high danger chances. Also, the Nashville Predators are giving up too many chances from the center of the point area. Wingers need to do a better job at forcing defensemen to the boards and keeping them from the middle of the ice. No matter how well a team is doing, there’s always room for improvement.

Next: Resetting The Predators Season Expectations Near Midway Point