Nashville Predators: Must-Watch Games Early In The 2021-22 Season

Nov 29, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) skates out onto the ice before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Nashville Predators defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) skates out onto the ice before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Nashville Predators defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /
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As the dog days of summer begin to wind down and we gear up for training camp and the pre-season, excitement is beginning to build for the 2021-22 NHL season. The Nashville Predators will enter their 23rd season with many questions as they begin a mini rebuild phase.

Several key players have left Nashville through free agency, retirement, trades, or the expansion draft. As a result, this upcoming season will be the first since 2005 without Pekka Rinne on the Predators’ roster.

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Once the puck drops on October 14, some very familiar names and fan-favorites will not be in Nashville’s lineup, including Viktor Arvidsson, Ryan Ellis, and Calle Jarnkrok. Notable additions to the roster include goaltender David Rittich, forward Cody Glass, and defenseman Philippe Myers.

An early look at the Predators’ roster shows a mixture of veterans who will need to have stellar seasons and younger players who will need to fill some holes left by the departure of their former teammates.

The Predators’ front office and coaching staff could heavily lean on players like Eeli Tovanen and Tanner Jeannot to provide even more of an impact this season than they did last year.

We may also see prospect players such as Rem Pitlick and Philip Tomasino make appearances on the roster this year. Tomasino appears ready to join the roster and be a difference-maker right out of the gate.

The Predators will need their veterans to step up in a big way this season, especially Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen, who have struggled for the last couple of seasons. Mikael Granlund, fresh off of signing his new contract, will also be counted upon to provide points and leadership.

The x-factor for the Predators next season will be goaltender Juuse Saros. With his new contract firmly in place, Saros is the man in Nashville and will face his first season without friend and mentor Pekka Rinne. He will have to get off to a fast start this season and start the most games he has ever played in his career.

With the NHL going back to the normal divisions and a full 82-game schedule, this season looks to be an exciting one. The Predators start their season with a four-game stand at home and the first three games of the season are appointment viewing. So let’s take a look.