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 Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Kevin Fiala

This, I admit, could be a contentious choice. Nobody can deny Kevin Fiala‘s abilities, but it is bold to classify him as one of Nashville’s top six impact players. However, I completely stand by it.

The reason is simple. Throughout last season and so far during this season, Kevin Fiala has led the team in expected goals for percentage. What does that mean? With Kevin Fiala on the ice, the Nashville Predators are statistically expected to score more goals than they concede. Furthermore, his impact in this category is greater than any other player on the team.

He is heavily sheltered, I will admit. However, that is to be expected for a 21-year-old winger in the NHL. There’s no benefit to Fiala or the team to force him into a defensive role. To his credit, he is taking full advantage of the favorable zone deployment.

You should immediately notice that both Kevin Fiala’s oZS% and xGF% values are considerably higher than the other players in this list. Unfortunately, there is a pretty serious decline in his expected goals percentage from last season to this season.

Still, his value of 54.45% is the best on the team, and well above the desired 50% mark. As the season continues, expect even more production from the young forward. His development will continue to improve for the next few years, and his production will follow.

It’s unquestionable: the Nashville Predators are a much better team with Kevin Fiala on the ice.