Nashville Predators Need Colton Sissons to Keep Growing

NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 1: Colton Sissons #10 of the Nashville Predators celebrates his goal against the Los Angeles Kings during an NHL game at Bridgestone Arena on February 1, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 1: Colton Sissons #10 of the Nashville Predators celebrates his goal against the Los Angeles Kings during an NHL game at Bridgestone Arena on February 1, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

A major factor to the Nashville Predators winning the Presidents’ Trophy is their depth. Colton Sissons has a role, but it needs to keep growing.

The season ended horribly for the Nashville Predators in terms of expectations. The silver lining is this team is built to be near the top of the league for many years to come. Young, promising players like Colton Sissons are the reason why. However, there’s room for minor improvement.

Sissons is the player that’s easy to forget. We’ll get games without hearing much about him. He doesn’t always show up in the highlights. However, he’s very important to providing scoring depth that great teams need.

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You can also find holes in Sissons’ game. The fact is he’s been with the Predators since 2013, and we want to start seeing more consistency in his production. There was a slight spike in production last season, but next season we need to see much more.

Sissons plays nearly a full season

The 2017-18 season marks Sissons’ first full-time season with the Nashville Predators. His 81 games played, which is second-most on the team behind P.K. Subban‘s 82 regular season appearances. It’s an impressive feat for a young player who is starting to find his way as a regular contributor to the team.

Sissons has gradually started to become more reliable in the offense. The goal this season was to see him play a full slate and see what kind of production he can provide. He’s obviously very important to the third and fourth lines at the center position. His best hockey is probably still ahead of him, and hopefully that’s in a Predators uniform.

Looking over his season, Sissons had several scoring droughts throughout the season. His longest was to end the season, which reached 11 games. He may not be a main part of the scoring threat, but these long droughts without recording a point can’t happen. When you’re not getting production from the back part of your lineup, it puts an enormous amount of pressure on the top centers like Ryan Johansen and Kyle Turris.

Sissons also suffered a 12-game stretch with just a single point recorded from early December to early January. Again, these long stretches have to be avoided moving forward if he wants to stay a regular player in the lineup. Thanks to playing in 81 games, Sissons does end up setting several new career-highs.

A lot of room for growth

We can’t be too hard on the young Sissons. I still believe he has a moderately bright future as a depth player. It’s too early to say he’s peaked or if he’s going to blossom into something greater. He’s highly-regarded by head coach Peter Laviolette, who inserted Sissons into the starting lineup during the Filip Forsberg suspension:

One area that Sissons can hopefully keep growing in is his possession stats. His Corsi percentage falls just short of 50 percent, which is below average. Again, he’s a young player who should keep getting better in areas like this. That number does come close to being the best of his short career that hasn’t even reached 200 games.

Sissons also needs to become more consistent. I touched earlier on his scoring droughts that went sometimes a month at a time. The Predators don’t need him to lead the scoring attack, but he certainly has to contribute more often. Just 27 points in 81 games isn’t going to get the job done in the long term.

What makes up for the regular season droughts is Sissons coming alive in the postseason. It’s better late than never, and players raising their level of play for the postseason is always a beautiful thing to see. He has nine career postseason goals, compared to 22 career regular-season goals. Clearly, he elevates his level of play when the postseason arrives.

Final Thoughts

I’m nowhere near ready to say that we’ve already seen the best Sissons has to offer. Next season will be interesting to see how he grows and where he falls in the lineup. With one more year remaining on his current contract, next season is a big one for him. His production needs to increase for the Predators to give him a long-term deal.

I like the intangibles that Sissons brings to the team. He’s got the leadership trait and is a player that you’re happy to see wearing a Predators uniform. That alone gives me faith that he’ll keep improving his game to eventually evolve into a top player on this roster.

Next: Kevin Fiala Shows Huge Potential

It wasn’t a terrible season for Sissons by any means, but I did expect more out of him in his fourth season with the Predators. He’s just 24-years-old, so there’s no reason to give up on him.  He has these scoring spurts that make you realize the talent is there. However, I want to see much more out of him next season before I’m ready to say he has a long future in Nashville. My season grade puts him just slightly above average thanks to the intangibles, his young age and his raw talent.

B-. . Center. Nashville Predators. COLTON SISSONS