Chad Minton’s pick (@chad_minton)
This is going to be a more defensive-minded team next season, and that will likely lead to more penalties. Penalties aren’t always bad in certain situations. But the team has to get away from committing sloppy penalties in situations when the team is trying to make a comeback.
Last season the Predators were top-ten in penalty minutes, all while being one of the worst penalty killing teams in the league. A terrible combination.
Austin Watson is gone, and he took bad penalties far too often. Mark Borowiecki is coming in as the “enforcer” in a lot of ways. He’s not bringing much, if any, offensive prowess. But he’s bringing grit and grind, and that’s unquestionably going to lead to penalties. He’ll be smarter and more calculated in the way he takes them.
Others to keep an eye on that will push Borowiecki for most penalty minutes will be Ekholm and Brad Richardson. Two players who are savvy veterans that will find themselves in moments when a penalty is necessary to save a high-danger scoring opportunity.
Expect the Predators to be another heavily-penalized team in 2021 with so much youth and new faces on the roster. Borowiecki the easy choice here, but he’ll be smarter in the way he takes them than others have been in the past.