Nashville Predators: Midseason Grades for the Young Guns

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Miikka Salomäki: 24 years old

Salomaki has appeared in 27 games so far this season. Unlike some of his teammates, he’s stayed in Nashville throughout the year. In other words, he’s spent 15 games watching from the press box. When Salomaki plays, he spends most of his time as a bottom-six winger, primarily playing alongside Calle Jarnkrok and Austin Watson.

He’s managed just six points (2G, 4A) in those appearances. That isn’t actually too bad considering how defensively Nashville’s bottom lines are forced to play. Here’s how his possession numbers look at five-on-five:

9:55 50.00 54.55 34.08

*average time on ice per game

If you’re a boring nerd like me, those are some beautiful results. In the fourth column, you can see just how defensive he’s been playing this season. A whopping 66% of his total faceoffs have been taken in the defensive or neutral zone. That kind of weight on his line makes room for the top six to remain blissfully sheltered throughout each game.

On top of his difficult assignment, Salomaki has done very well with puck possession. The Nashville Predators have a nice advantage in high-danger chances with Salomaki on the ice. Again, keep in mind that he’s starting in a defensive position an overwhelming majority of the time. That combination of factors, even with his relatively low time on ice, give Salomaki a nice grade from me.

Midseason grade: B+