Top Line: Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson
Collectively these three play beautiful hockey together. However, injuries plagued this unit last season and kept us from seeing top results. The last-place Predators power play was also a mystery, and this unit deserves some blame for that.
Starting with Ryan Johansen at center, he can be frustrating at times. He’s great at finding open wingers and setting them up. However, his own offensive game really needs to show improvement to elevate him to the next tier of NHL centers. He had just 14 goals last season, which isn’t good enough for me.
Forsberg and Arvidsson missed lengthy amounts of time with injuries. It definitely disrupted the chemistry of this team mid-season. Both guys could be in store for career-high seasons in offensive production. That absolutely have what it takes to put up the gaudy numbers that we see from other top lines within the division.
I can’t put the Predators top line above a few other teams because there’s times when they do seem to disappear. You also can’t overlook how bad the power play was, which in turn kept their offensive numbers down lower than what you would like to see.
This could all change this season, but as of now the Predators are going to be relying on balanced scoring from all four lines to get them deep in the playoffs. Contract negotiations that other teams are facing also has the Predators’ top line higher than what it would be with every team at full strength.