The picture is getting a little more clear as we continue to speculate what the opening roster will look like for the Nashville Predators on October 3rd.
Fresh off of a thrilling preseason overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Nashville Predators are making roster adjustments with the regular season less than two weeks away. They’ll take on the Minnesota Wild to open the 2019-20 campaign.
The Predators are deep, there’s no question about that. Their bottom six has a good mixture of young talent and proven veterans. Now sorting these pieces out is the challenging part that’s still unclear. We do have more clarity as the roster has been officially trimmed down to 26 players, per the Predators official website.
Those six players are Colin Blackwell, Laurent Dauphin, goaltender Troy Grosenick, Anthony Richard, Alexandre Carrier and Matt Donovan. These players have been sent to the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, who suddenly have a loaded roster in their own right. They’ll be fun to watch this season. This latest round of roster moves offer no real surprises.
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The Predators now have a few days to decide how they will trim their roster down to the 23-player limit that is required. There are a few players battling for a couple of spots, most notably Miikka Salomaki, Frederick Gaudreau, Jarred Tinordi and Daniel Carr. Out of those four, which one slips through past October 1st?
Top two lines look set
There’s a lot of hope and not much uncertainty in the top two lines. We know that Matt Duchene is going to likely anchor the second line and boost a last-place power play unit. We know that the big three of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson hopefully aren’t going to be broken up. I will say it was fun watching Duchene play with Forsberg against Tampa Bay Saturday night.
Mikael Granlund is hopefully more comfortable now that he’s had a full offseason with the Nashville Predators and learning Peter Laviolette‘s system. He’s desperately needed to step up and be efficient this season.
There’s the question of where Kyle Turris is going to be put. The consensus seems to be leaning towards him playing on the wing, instead of at center, alongside Duchene. I’ve seen a moderately productive offseason from Turris and somewhat optimistic that he bounces back.
Who will be on the outside looking in
Tinordi is an easy pick to not make the final 23-man roster. There’s just not room on the roster for the 27-year-old defenseman that hasn’t played in an NHL game since the 2015-16 season for Arizona. The Predators are already set with their top-three defensive pairings in my mind.
After that, the decision gets a little tougher. I’d like to see Daniel Carr make the roster, but I’m afraid he’s not going to make it and that the Predators are going to lean towards the more conservative decision of Matt Irwin as another defenseman on the roster. At least at the start, the Predators might just end up playing this safe.
Then there’s the battle between Gaudreau and Salomaki. One of these two probably won’t make it. Both have had their troubles finding consistency and staying on the roster regularly. I like Salomaki’s grit and hustle more than what Gaudreau has brought in his three seasons with Nashville. However, Gaudreau is more versatile as a center.
That means Gaudreau, Tinordi and Carr are my prediction for the last three to get moved to get the roster to 23 players. I feel the Predators are going to choose to go with veterans over youth to start out of the gate. It will obviously be a fluid situation early on and we’ll have to keep a close eye out on roster announcements each and every game. I’m sure some of these high-ceiling players like Eeli Tolvanen, Rem Pitlick and Carr will get their chances sooner rather than later.