Nashville Predators: Predlines staff debates impact of younger players

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: Head coach Peter Laviolette of the Nashville Predators looks on from the bench during the game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 4, 2018 in New York City. The Nashville Predators won 3-2. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: Head coach Peter Laviolette of the Nashville Predators looks on from the bench during the game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 4, 2018 in New York City. The Nashville Predators won 3-2. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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TAMPA, FL – SEPTEMBER 22: Nashville Predators right wing Eeli Tolvanen (11) skates in the first period of the NHL preseason game between the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning on September 22, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL – SEPTEMBER 22: Nashville Predators right wing Eeli Tolvanen (11) skates in the first period of the NHL preseason game between the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning on September 22, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Still hope for the rookie

When it comes to impacting the Nashville Predators this season, Eeli Tolvanen still tops my list. What we are seeing from Zac Rinaldo has impressed, to say the least. He leads the team in CorsiFor/60 and is third in CF% when adjusted for quality of competition. With all the fear and concern of him taking penalties, Rinaldo only has one call against him this season.

Ryan Hartman is going to leave a mark on this roster as well. His constant effort on defense creates chaos for opponents. Can he be the goal-scorer he was with the Blackhawks his first season? I do not know. But, he will play an important role.

For me, however, I am still in the camp of Eeli Tolvanen. While he has yet to make an impressive splash with the Predators, the hope and potential is still there. At 18-years-old, Tolvanen played 57 games between the NHL, KHL, and Olympics. He excelled everywhere but in the NHL so far. The size and speed of the game are unlike anything he witnessed before. But, he is young, hungry, and talented. Once he scores a few goals in Milwaukee, he will regain any lost confidence.

If you look at the current Predators lineup, you can see a constant philosophy. Coach Peter Laviolette pairs a goal scorer with a great center and a gritty, energetic forward. The top two lines show this idea for sure.  Could you imagine a line of Nick Bonino, Hartman, and Tolvanen? It is not the JoFA line, but the potential for scoring significantly increases. The only concern is Tolvanen’s defense. Still, another line who can score is an impact most teams do not possess.

Centers of attention. dark. Next

Honestly, any of these players could impact the Predators team. But, it only takes one to make a huge difference.