The Nashville Predators power play unit has been a sore subject in recent memory, but I assure you it wasn’t always horrendous.
Last season the Nashville Predators finished dead last in the NHL in power play percentage at a meager 15 percent conversion rate. And somehow they still won the Central Division, only to suffer the fate of losing in the first round of the playoffs.
This current season they had nowhere to go but up, and showed mild improvement. Not enough to get too excited over it as they’re current 25th in power play percentage at 17.3.
The introduction of Dan Lambert before the season as an assistant coach to fix the power play has shown mild results not worth getting too excited about. This is an area that has to show much more improvement for the Predators to return to being among the NHL’s best teams.
Be that as it may, the Predators have had plenty of outstanding power play specialists over their two decades of existence, along with excellent leaders on the ice to lead those power play units to execute a flawless gameplan.
With no hockey being played right now, I went back and assembled my all-time best Predators power play unit. The one I’d select if my team needs the go-ahead goal to clinch the Stanley Cup.
For argument’s sake, we’re selecting these players at the time of when they played for the Predators. You can’t have them at their peaks unless they were in their peaks as a member of the Predators.
The first and easiest choice
The first player that immediately jumped to my mind was Paul Kariya. The first superstar player to really join the Predators franchise, which he joined for 2005-2007.
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This was around a time when the Predators were finally starting to charge up the NHL hiearchy and compete with the top teams on a regular basis. The playoffs didn’t seem so out of reach anymore.
Kariya came in and immediately made a huge impact offensively. He put up an astounding 32 assists on the power play in his first season to go along with 14 power play goals.
The incredible power play production from Kariya wasn’t matched the next season, but he still remains one of the most offensively talented players in Predators history. He absolutely is my undisputed top pick for the Predators all-time best power play unit.
Kariya ranks in the Top-100 on the NHL all-time list for power play goals with 139. Jason Arnott was the only other former Predators player ahead of him.
Two of the very best
I can’t leave out the best two defenseman in team history, especially from an offensive standpoint and on the power play.
When it comes to Roman Josi, his game just keeps getting better and evolving into superstar status. In fact, he’s already a superstar and on that exclusive elite level.
Josi’s offensive prowess is just magnificent to watch. He skates so effortlessly and makes opposing players look foolish chasing him around. He has to be on my critical power play unit that’s going out to clinch the Stanley Cup.
Weber’s slapshot was just so unstoppable for opposing goaltenders that you just had to hope that his accuracy was off. If he was dialed in, then some poor defender had to sacrifice their body to stop it.
Nearly half of Weber’s 166 regular season goals for Nashville came via the power play. He also racked up another 107 power play assists during his 11 years with the Predators.
Weber also is the current leader in Predators franchise history with those 80 power play goals that he patented by rocketing them by goaltenders at unfathomable speeds.
You need a couple elite offensive-minded defenseman on your power play unit, and who better for the Predators than Josi and Weber?
Going for the ultimate leader
It got tougher to pick the last two because there are plenty of worthy candidates out there that wore the Predators sweater over the years and did great work on the power play.
My next choice is Mike Fisher, who is hands down the best captain in Predators history. He embodies what it takes to be a team captain both on and off the ice.
With the game on the line, I know Fisher is going to come out on the power play unit and execute the gameplan to the best of his ability. I need that leadership out there on the ice with the game on the line in this hypothetical scenario.
Fisher rounded out his last eight seasons in the NHL with the Predators, putting up 28 power play goals and 19 game-winning goals. He put up another 40 assists on the power play.
Change of heart
This last choice was really tough and I had to think about it for a while. I originally wanted to go with Steve Sullivan here due to his craftiness on the offensive end and ability to create breakaways.
However, I had a change of heart and went with Jason Arnott. Even though he was on the back end of his NHL career with the Predators, he was still a force to be reckoned with.
You put Arnott out there with the Kariya, Fisher, Weber and Josi and I really like my chances that one of these clutch players are going to find the back of the net.
Arnott ranks 57th on the all-time NHL list for most power play goals with 145, which is more than any other player that’s ever played for the Nashville Predators.
Along with Sullivan, I also initially wanted Alexander Radulov on my power play unit. After a deeper dive, I saw that Radulov never really had a big impact on the power play for the Predators as he only put up nine power play goals in 154 games with Nashville.
Others that are worth an honorable mention and can be argued for are Patric Hornqvist, David Legwand, J.P. Dumont and Filip Forsberg. But I could only pick five, so be kind in your comments below about your disagreement with my picks.
All-Time Predators Power Play Unit:
Paul Kariya/Jason Arnott/Mike Fisher/Shea Weber/Roman Josi