Nashville Predators: Don’t Be Afraid to Open Season with Youth Line

Nashville Predators center Rem Pitlick Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators center Rem Pitlick Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

As the Nashville Predators begin a period of transition, we will see many new faces enter the lineup, and with that will come some growing pains which is why the preseason expectations are so low on the outside looing in.

It is still important to not rush the development of the youth, and having three inexperienced players on a single line might be a recipe for struggle at the very beginning.

That being said, it would not be a bad idea for Head Coach John Hynes to roll a line of all youngsters at the beginning of the 2021-2022 season.

At the end of the day, expectations are not very high for this team, and the experience and growth they could gain from playing together would far outweigh the potential losses.

One particular trio has lots of potential

One line that could provide a spark for the Nashville Predators is one of Philip Tomasino, Cody Glass, and Rem Pitlick.  Let’s begin by covering the former, who should be on the roster to begin the new season.

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Tomasino has excelled at every level he has played at, and with where the team currently is, it would benefit both parties to at least see what he can do in Nashville.

There are concerns about Tomasino playing his natural position of center due to his size, but he has both play-making abilities and a good shot, so there is no doubt that he could work out as a winger.

We also just saw Tomasino in the Predators Future Stars Game to wrap up Development Camp. He didn’t score any goals, but he did look very comfortable out there controlling the puck and with his skating.

Glass — someone who most heavily thrives in front of the net — is the one who would ideally center this trio.  The Vegas Golden Knights’ abundance of talent and depth and status as a full-fledged Stanley Cup contender somewhat robbed him of a chance to make an impact for them, but with a Predators team that is on a different trajectory, it would be worthwhile to see what kind of impact he can make.

Pitlick has already seen playing time for the Predators and has impressed.  He looked comfortable on the puck, and with his shot and nose for the net, he has the all-around skills to be an impact player for this team starting now.

All of these players are natural centers, but have enough versatility to complement one another. The only thing holding them back right now is lack of experience, so why not give them a chance when there is little to lose?

Opportunity to play does not mean big minutes right away

The Predators and their fans are hoping that these players can play in a top-six role when they reach their best, but expectations should be more modest right now.  The point of putting them together on a line right now is to give both them and the team a chance to see where they are in their development.

They do not need to play significant minutes in order for the team to figure out where they need to improve.  They don’t even need to play more minutes than the “Herd Line,” which was the fourth line in 2020-2021.

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It goes without saying that such a raw trio is bound to have their screw-ups in the early-going, so Hynes has to be wary of how often he plays them if he put them together.  But all three have to see the NHL at some time and on a consistent basis, not just for a game here and a game there.

Now is the time to let Tomasino, Glass and Pitlick ease into their eventual roles and play on the same line together in the season-opener against the Seattle Kraken on October 14.