The injury bug is hitting a lot of teams at this point in the regular season, and the Nashville Predators are definitely one of those team bearing the brunt of that.
With the Predators riding high on a streak of winning 10 of 12 games, they’re still dealing with a rash of injuries to key players while also determining what to do in respect to the trade deadline.
Tonight the Nashville Predators take on the Detroit Red Wings for the eighth and final time this season, with the Predators leading the season series 5-2.
Viktor Arvidsson is the latest key player that the Predators hoped to get back in what looked like it could be a lengthy injury concern when it happened against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday:
Some positive news on the injury front
I had my fingers crossed that Arvidsson wasn’t going to become another injured player designated as “week-to-week”. We all know that this designation can go on for more than just a week or two, and with the regular season in its final month, that designation could mean the end of the season.
The Predators keep figuring out ways to win despite missing several key players, and Arvidsson was another one that the team was missing on Tuesday. They dug deep and managed to get the two points via the shootout.
A collective sigh of relief has to be flowing from Predators fans everywhere that Arvidsson isn’t joining the long list of lengthy injuries that currently includes Matt Duchene, Dante Fabbro, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Ellis, Alexandre Carrier, Brad Richardson and Mark Borowiecki.
Somehow the Predators keep digging deep to pull out wins, but it’s hard to imagine that this is sustainable if the injuries keep piling up and lingering.
The Predators are really in the driver’s seat to claim that fourth playoff spot by season’s end. They’re starting to create some cushion in the division race, per Micah Black McCurdy’s point projections:
Arvidsson is an important piece to the playoff push
Arvidsson is a key player to get back for the Predators. He’s been gradually improving as the season has went on after starting the season with a combination of bad puck luck and some poor offensive play.
Now we have to hope that Arvidsson doesn’t suffer any setbacks in his play after dealing with another hard hit. He’s battled all season long to make a positive impact on this team, so the spotlight will be on him tonight to see if he can fit right back into the lineup without any lingering issues.
Arvidsson is projected in the team’s official starting lineup to slot into the top line with rookie phenom Eeli Tolvanen and his long-time linemate Ryan Johansen. A great fit for Arvidsson in the lineup until Forsberg is able to return.
In 39 games this season Arvidsson has 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) and is tracking around the same pace that he was at last season, but far removed from his former self of being a 60-point scorer.
If, and this is a big “if”, the Predators ever get all of their key players back in time for a highly probable playoff appearance, then they’re going to have a lot of depth pieces to work with to build a postseason roster that can maybe shock some people.