Nashville Predators: These Players Are Facing the Most Pressure Entering Season

(Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Mikael Granlund

Granlund seemed almost non-existent after he joined the Predators at the beginning of March. He never really found a groove with his new squad on the all-important second line. Now the hope is a full offseason will allow him to come in very comfortable with Peter Laviolette’s system.

Although a low sample size, Granlund’s 0.31 points per game while with the Predators is the lowest of his career since his first season. How much of that is getting accustomed to a new team, or is it something else? Is he just not a good fit in Nashville? We’ve seen players thrive in one organization only to fall backward after being traded. This puts him under the spotlight out of the gate.

It’s also a contract year for Granlund, so he’s playing for a big payday. He’s going to likely be playing alongside Matt Duchene, so the scoring opportunities will be ample. He can’t be another no-show, otherwise, we will have to chalk this up as a wasted trade losing Kevin Fiala. Fiala was wildly inconsistent, but there’s no denying his high ceiling.

I’m still hopeful that Granlund comes in looking more like he did in Minnesota at the beginning of last season. You can’t make vast proclamations based on just 16 games with a new team. I do think he looked mildly better in the playoffs, even though his playoff goal was a little on the fluky side. He’ll be a critical piece of the second line, and should be one of the top goal scorers behind Duchene, Filip Forsberg, and Viktor Arvidsson.