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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Defensive Pairings

The Nashville Predators will once again roll with their dynamic duo up top with Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis. Two players who have been in this situation several times, and are ready to avenge the last three playoff appearances that have come up disappointingly short of expectations.

The second pairing you can make an argument for who to pair with Mattias Ekholm, but I’m going with Alexandre Carrier. Carrier is another young spark on this team that has earned their spot in the lineup.

That means moving down Dante Fabbro to the third pairing to play alongside Matt Benning. This is such a major upgrade from the bottom pairing situation that the Predators dealth with last season.

Fabbro and Benning need to avoid the costly turnovers in the defensive zone and just play smart. I trust they can do that in this role.

That means that Ben Harpur and Erik Gudbranson are staying off my playoff roster. I’ve liked what I’ve seen out of Benning in that third pairing role more than Harpur and Gudbranson.

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Defensive pairings: Josi/Ellis, Ekholm/Carrier, Benning/Fabbro

A lot of credit is owed to Hynes and Poile for having the confidence to keep this lineup together past the trade deadline and forge ahead despite a lot of belief in the team needing to sell.

I actually really like how I deep this lineup as become. There’s a lot of different pieces that can contribute to the Predators being able to make this series a highly competitive one.

There’s also this logjam of forwards that makes it difficult to leave out players like Grimaldi, Cousins and Olivier. The defensive pairings are pretty straightforward for me, but it’ll be interesting to see which way Hynes goes with his forwards.