Nashville Predators Training Camp: Fresh Faces, New Mindset

Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) and center Matt Duchene (95) celebrate the win over the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Predators won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) and center Matt Duchene (95) celebrate the win over the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Predators won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports /

Sunday marked day one of the Nashville Predators’ training camp. New teammates and a new defensive mindset may spark a resurgence in Smashville.

On Saturday, the Nashville Predators released their training camp roster. It was rife with the names of new players who we have been waiting to see in a navy and gold jersey.

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Per Brooks Bratten of the Predators’ official website, 40 players are attending the 11-day training camp. The coaches will whittle this number down to 23 roster spots and four to six taxi squad members after camp.

This training camp will also feature two scrimmages that will be invaluable for Head Coach John Hynes.

These two scrimmages will be the only opportunities to see how Hynes’ players will react in game-type situations as there will be no exhibition games this season.

GM David Poile made several offseason moves to shore up the Predators’ deficiencies on the game’s defensive side.

To create a grittier defensive core, Poile signed free-agent defensemen Matt Benning and Mark Borowiecki. Both should be slotted as the third defensive pairing once the season starts.

Poile also added some pieces on offense who are known to play tough, physical games. Nick Cousins and Brad Richardson will both factor into the Predators’ grittier mindset.

There will be four goaltenders attending camp this year. In addition to probable starter Juuse Saros, veteran Pekka Rinne, and Milwaukee Admiral Connor Ingram, free-agent signee Kasimir Kaskisuo will also be vying for a roster spot or a taxi squad slot.

Team Leaders Speak

Sunday’s schedule included team meetings, testing, and media availability. Hynes, Poile, Captain Roman Josi, Ryan Johansen, Ryan Ellis, and Filip Forsberg all took questions from the media.

The Predators will be moving towards a more defensive playstyle. They desire to be once again known as a team all of the NHL should be afraid to face.

This new defensive mindset has been Poile’s aim since the Predators were knocked out of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers by the Arizona Coyotes.

Is The Youth Movement In Jeopardy?

During his end of season media interview, Poile spoke at length about a youth movement that included players like Eeli Tolvanen and Philip Tomasino. It appears that he may be moving on from that stance a bit.

As the offseason progressed, each of Poile’s free agent signings seemed to make the likelihood of a youth takeover highly improbable, evidenced by the recent signings of forwards Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula.

This training camp could be the best chance for Tolvanen to make the roster or even the taxi squad. He will need to make a big impression on the coaches.

Tomasino is on a hot streak playing for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships and will miss the beginning of camp. It’s no secret that he wants to be on Nashville’s roster right now.

If Poile and Hynes have intentions of signing Tomasino, they are holding their cards close.

No Time To Waste

It seems that everyone in the Predators’ organization has bought into the fact that the redemption of Smashville is paramount. This training camp may be one of the most important in recent years.

Hynes has eleven days to integrate his new players and mold this team into a competitor. The season is fast approaching, and although it is shorter than usual, the schedule dictates that the Predators will need to get off to a good start this season and never look back.

Years of mediocrity and struggles have pushed the Predators into an area they don’t want to be in. They now have their backs to the wall with lots to prove if they’re going to move to the top of the realigned Central Division and beyond.

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