Nashville Predators: How the Playoff Roster Should be Built

Nashville Predators left wing Erik Haula (56)Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators left wing Erik Haula (56)Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 4
Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /


Let’s start with the top part of the lineup and the one that’s going to be leaned on to give goal support to Juuse Saros.

The top line shouldn’t have any dispute right now as it should be Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Eeli Tolvanen. I can absolutely see this trio getting hot at the right time and producing plenty of goal support to one of the best goaltenders in the NHL right now.

More from Predlines

I’m waiting to see Forsberg and Tolvanen rekindle that connection, especially on the power play. They’re going to have the tall order of matching what Carolina is going to throw at us with their top line.

As for Johansen, I trust him in high-pressure playoff moments. He’s been in these tense situations and knows what it takes. Even with some of the consistency issues, I’m confident in having Johansen center the top line with Forsberg and Tolvanen.

Top Line: Forsberg/Johansen/Tolvanen

The second line has more flux to it. Matt Duchene is the wild card here, which he has been for his entire stint with the Predators it seems like.

Duchene has been upping his level of play since coming back from injury, and he really found a spark in the season finale, albeit against a Hurricanes that was sitting a lot of their top players.

However, let me first begin with who should be locks on the second line. First off you have to go with Mikael Granlund. Another player that hasn’t always produced at as high of a level as you would like, but one that can ignite an entire line to generate offensive scoring chances.

One thing about this series with the Hurricanes that’s in our first round preview was that the Predators are going to have to figure out a way to match the speed and offensive pressure of Carolina.

I like Granlund centering the second line alongside Calle Jarnkrok and Viktor Arvidsson. As much as I like and respect the way Duchene has been stepping up his game of late, I’m leaving him off my second line, at least for now.

Jarnkrok has shown all season that he can score goals in big moments while also playing a solid defensive game as well. Arvidsson also steadily improved his game as the season progressed and I think this line can have some success to round out a top-six that I really feel confident in.

If Arvidsson can’t play in Game 1 due to a nagging injury that he suffered back on April 27 against Florida, then this will shift things dramatically in my lineup. If that’s the case, Kunin becomes a prime candidate to replace Arvidsson.

Second Line: Jarnkrok/Granlund/Arvidsson