Top pairing: Roman Josi — Ryan Ellis
Second pairing: Mattias Ekholm — Dante Fabbro
Third pairing: Alexandre Carrier — Jeremy Davies
The Predlines crew was near unanimous in wanting Josi and Ellis to be the first pairing on defense.
Josi and Ellis have had near seamless chemistry since the start of last year, and it would make sense to keep one of the best defensive duos in the league intact when Ellis returns from his injury.
As far of the rest of the defense goes, the writers were all over the place in terms of projections.
Not all of us agree on the best course of action for Ekholm, who is becoming increasingly less likely to be traded by the day, but the ultimate consensus was that the Predators to keep him and reunite him with Fabbro.
Fabbro has only continued to improve his game since assuming a full-time role last year, and Ekholm is playing arguably the best hockey of his career this year. They have a chance to be a much more lethal, two-way pair if put back together again, so it would make sense to let them re-gain their chemistry.
This would leave the recently injured Carrier on the third pairing, who has not only met expectations, but exceeded them at both ends of the ice since getting is first real chance at the NHL level.
It’s just that crucial that the youth continues to get as much ice time as possible, and with how good Davies has looked in the small amount of time he has been on the ice, he has earned the opportunity to stay.
This is our consensus healthy lineup for the Predators assuming they can enter this home stretch of the regular season pushing for that final playoff spot.