Nashville Predators Will Have to Reload Power Play With New Look

Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) talks with Nashville Predators right wing Eeli Tolvanen (28) during the first period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) talks with Nashville Predators right wing Eeli Tolvanen (28) during the first period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s been no secret as to how bad the Nashville Predators power play has been in recent years, and many times has held the team back from going further in the postseason.

We’ve beaten are heads against the wall for a few years now watching this power play. The preseason expectations are rather low for the Nashville Predators as we sit in August and still over a month away from training camp.

The Development Camp roster has been announced, and here’s the full list of players attending:

Most of these players will be key pieces to the Milwaukee Admirals, but Philip Tomasino is of course the caveat. If he instantly makes a quick impact on the NHL level once he’s called up, then don’t count him out to get a look on the power play if the unit starts off horribly again.

Times are changing for new-look Nashville Predators, including the power play

Just like the team as a whole is going through significant changes, so is the power play after some key departures. That might not necessarily be a bad thing. Change is probably what is needed for this struggling unit.

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Calle Jarnkrok and Ryan Ellis had roles on the power play over the years, so those two will have to be replaced quickly.

Jarnkrok managed just two goals on the power play last season, while Ellis appeared in just 35 games and registered just four power play points.

The team as a whole rallied to finish 23rd in the NHL in power play percentage, which is sadly a steady improvement since 2018-19 when they finished dead last in the NHL in this important category.

So obviously a big point of emphasis for Head Coach John Hynes and his coaching staff once training camp gets going is to rebuild this power play unit now that players like Jarnkrok, Ellis and Viktor Arvidsson are all gone.

Erik Haula is also gone as he was lost in free agency. He wasn’t a major factor on the power play, but did see some minutes on the unit and contributed three points.

As I previously stated, change isn’t always a bad thing, and that’s certainly the case here. I welcome new personnel and different combinations.

Need a creative, fresh and new approach from John Hynes

Some candidates that should be considered for the new-look power play are Tanner Jeannot and Alexandre Carrier. Carrier has strong offensive skills, and Jeannot plays with a relentless style of play that could be very valuable to a power play unit.

Carrier really impressed us all this past season as his role elevated alongside Roman Josi. He finished the season averaging over 20 minutes of ice time per game, and now I’d like to see what he can produce on the power play in the role that Ellis had for so long.

Returning players like Josi, Ryan JohansenFilip Forsberg, Eeli Tolvanen, and Mikael Granlund figure to once again be the main weapons on the power play, but an overhaul of this unit is needed in terms of how they attack. It’s just been way too predictable over the years, although it did show signs of improvement as the team made that late and improbable push into the playoffs last season.

Tolvanen (six power play goals, 12 power play points) took off like a rocket early in the season as he was providing the majority of his point production with the man advantage. You know he’ll once again be the main threat for the Predators, and he should be alongside Forsberg.

This team is probably going to have a hard time scoring goals in general, so the power play can’t afford to be near the bottom again. That will spell disaster and force Juuse Saros, or whoever is in net, to play near perfect to give the team a chance on the scoreboard.

This is going to take some experimenting for Hynes when it comes to power play line combinations. Again, Jeannot and Carrier are my top two candidates that deserve a strong look to get more power play time.

Call me crazy, but I’m actually somewhat optimistic that this unit can keep showing gradual improvement and maybe even be around the middle of the league on the power play in 2021-22. But I want to see creativity and the coaching staff try new combinations.

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The Predators won the Presidents Trophy in 2017-18, the season their power play was 11th in the NHL, converting on 21.3 percent of their chances. They converted 17.6 percent this past season.

Again, it’s modest improvement, but it seems they’re heading in the right direction to finally rectify this weakness and turn it into a strength. It will be refreshing to see new players get a chance to show what they can produce.