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 /
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Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators center Luke Kunin (11) Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Bottom-Six

Going to the third line, this is where I’m keeping Duchene. At least for now. Obviously things can change quickly in a playoff series, but initially I like keeping him on a third line that needs an offensive spark.

Duchene, even though his contract says he should be in the top-six, fits better in this spot alongside Erik Haula and Luke Kunin.

This line will be gritty and tenacious with their forechecking, but also have offensive capabilities with all three. Haula and Kunin have turned out to be solid offseason acquisitions by GM David Poile.

The combined goal output from these three players in the regular season is 25 goals, with a combined point output of 53. This line can definitely make some things happen in all areas of the ice.

Third Line: Haula/Duchene/Kunin

There’s really no reason for too much debate on the fourth line, or the infamously named “Herd Line”. Probably the most consistent line for the Predators all season has been their fourth line.

However, there is a tough decision to make on who gets the start after Mathieu Olivier has returned to the lineup and played in the season finale, registering just over 13 minutes of ice time.

This is a really difficult call for me to make, but I’m keeping the fourth line intact with Colton Sissons, Yakov Trenin and Tanner Jeannot. I just can’t take them out as starters despite Olivier being deserving as well to be a starter.

There’s no way I’m removing Jeannot out of the starting lineup after everything he’s done down the stretch of the season. He’s earned himself a full-time spot on the fourth line.

I definitely can’t see benching Sissons either with his playoff experience, so it really comes down to Trenin or Olivier. I like Trenin’s ability to score while also playing a physical game slightly more than what Olivier brings.

Either way, the Predators can’t go wrong here and the odd man out should be a healthy scratch.

This might come down to some players being interchangeable from game to game depending on how things are going and if Hynes sees the need to make a change based on individual performance.

Olivier, Rocco Grimaldi and Nick Cousins are my scratches heading into Game 1. I want them around to insert into the lineup if the Predators need to make adjustments, which means leaving out veteran Brad Richardson.

As mentioned earlier regarding Arvidsson’s injury, if he can’t go in Game 1 then Grimaldi is the first player I’d move in to play on the third line and take Kunin’s spot.

Fourth Line: Trenin/Sissons/Jeannot

Scratches: Olivier, Grimaldi, Cousins