Nashville Predators: Will Impact Players Drive Predators to Success?

(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) /

Team statistics

The Nashville Predators are coming off the most successful season in franchise history. In these situations, “hangovers” are not uncommon. Take a look at the Pittsburgh Penguins, for example. After their second consecutive Cup, Micah Blake McCurdy of HockeyViz gives them just a 67% chance of making this year’s playoffs. For curiosity’s sake, the same model gives Nashville a 94% chance of making the playoffs.

In the following graph, you’ll see two lines. The dark blue line represents Nashville’s expected goals for percentage (xGF%). In other words, these values represent the expected ratio of Nashville goals scored to goals allowed by Nashville. If this value is 50%, Nashville is expected to score exactly as many goals as they concede over a given time.

The gold line represents their actual goals for percentage (GF%) during the regular season of each indicated year. Keep in mind that all of the values in this article come from five-on-five; there are no special teams included.

Created by Michael Wade (1/26/2018)
Created by Michael Wade (1/26/2018) /

Compared to last season, the Nashville Predators expected goal percentage has decreased by almost 4%. Their actual goals for percentage is actually a bit higher, however. This can be attributed to a number of factors, but primarily goaltending. Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros have both been overperforming, statistically speaking, which can create some variance in the expected goals model.

Now we’ll look at some individual players.