Don’t ever fall in love with a particular Nashville Predators lineup because odds are it’ll change within the next two games.
Another interesting combination of lines for the Nashville Predators is most likely being rolled out tonight against the Vancouver Canucks. Both teams are looking to stop the bleeding after recent rough patches.
This lineup for tonight against a young Canucks team is probably the most intriguing I’ve seen all season from the Predators. It features moving Mikael Granlund back to the top line after his brief stint on the fourth line where his point drought continued. He hasn’t registered a point in his last 12 games and has just a meager four points on the season.
Another interesting note from this lineup is putting Viktor Arvidsson on the second line with Matt Duchene. Personally I’m very excited and interested to see Arvidsson and Duchene work together, along with Calle Jarnkrok as the third skater.
Finding the right balance
It’s no secret that we’ve seen numerous line combination as Peter Laviolette tries to find the perfect balance to his highly-talented roster. It started off strong with Filip Forsberg and Duchene playing alongside one another, but then Forsberg’s injury happened. We haven’t seen them really go back to that since then.
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Forsberg is rounding back into form and returning back to the elite scorer he’s always been. He’s going to be on the top line, and should remain there for the long-term. He has goals in three-straight games after opening up the 2019-20 season with goals in five-straight games.
Perhaps Granlund can break out of his funk by playing with Forsberg and Ryan Johansen. I’m starting to run out of excuses for him . I realize some of it is bad luck, but eventually he has to start creating his own luck. This is especially true when he’s playing alongside highly-skilled players like Johansen and Forsberg.
The bottom six features two players who need to break out of their own funks in Craig Smith and Kyle Turris. When it comes to Turris, he’s cooled off considerably after blazing out of the gate. Trade rumors will continue to swirl around him as he tries to live up to a highly-criticized contract.
It’s hasn’t been all bad for the bottom six, as Nick Bonino has found a steady home on the third line. I’ve been very pleased with the production from the third line for most of the season thanks in large part to Bonino’s play. Credit is due to Colton Sissons and Rocco Grimaldi for their considerable amount of time bouncing between lines three and four.
Have to start finding stability
As the season rolls along it’s going to become more crucial to find a lineup that works and stick with it. Constantly changing up the lines disrupts team chemistry. It’s still pretty early in the season so it’s understandable to see the Predators still looking for that perfect balance.
With this particular projected lineup, I really love the second and third lines. I’m hopeful that Granlund can find his game and return to the productive player he was before he came here last season from the Minnesota Wild. He’s the missing link to really unlocking the full potential of this lineup and solidifying the top two lines.
If Granlund starts getting on fire and producing consistently, then you have your lineup that you should stick with. And it’s the lineup you’re looking at tonight that will be rolled out against Vancouver. The Predators really need this Granlund trade from last season to work out. As of now, it hasn’t worked out for either team as Kevin Fiala hasn’t panned out for Minnesota.
So there you have it. Another new lineup to give you hope that the Predators unlock their full potential, which is a deep run in the playoffs in a few months. Now is the time to be tinkering with what works, but they really need to figure it out soon as the team is fully healthy and the Central Division race is as competitive as ever.
Here’s a quick look at the full projected lineup from the forwards tonight against the Canucks from the Predators official website. Not going to touch on the defensive pairings because it’s remained pretty constant aside from the revolving door of Yannick Weber and Matt Irwin:
Filip Forsberg-Ryan Johansen-Mikael Granlund
Calle Jarnkrok-Matt Duchene-Viktor Arvidsson
Rocco Grimaldi-Nick Bonino-Craig Smith
Austin Watson-Kyle Turris-Colton Sissons