Nashville Predators: Who Should Be In, Who Should Be Out vs Seattle

Mathieu Olivier #25 of the Nashville Predators celebrates a goal during a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on January 30, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mathieu Olivier #25 of the Nashville Predators celebrates a goal during a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on January 30, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Time is running out for Nashville Predators Head Coach John Hynes to figure out who gets the final NHL roster spot for the season-opener against the Seattle Kraken on Thursday.

This offseason, more so than normal, has been full of uncertainty and changes. Change can be a good thing for this franchise that’s been going in reverse since their 2017 run to the Stanley Cup Final.

With change comes difficult decisions, and growing pains for inexperienced players who are inevitably going to make mistakes.

One roster spot remaining for the Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators have their roster down to 24 players, and it has to be down to 23 players by this afternoon. Essentially, it’s about whether to find room for Philip Tomasino or start him off in the AHL.

The worst option would be to keep him on the bench or give him very little playing time. He needs to be getting regular ice time, whether it’s on the NHL level or in the AHL.

Mathieu Olivier is a player that has made his impact already on the NHL, but could lose a roster spot if Tomasino gets the starting spot. He played in 30 games last season averaging just under 11 minutes of ice time per game.

It really is anyone’s guess on who will get this final coveted roster spot. Tomasino doesn’t require waivers, so it’s possible that Hynes decides to initially start him off in the AHL where he can continue to develop, and most likely put together another dominant season for the Admirals.

However, the argument against that is Tomasino has already hit his ceiling in the AHL, and the only way he’s going to develop more is by getting into the NHL now rather than later.

Then you also have Ben Harpur hanging around as the another player on the roster bubble. A big, rugged defenseman that doesn’t bring you much else.

Giving Harpur a spot over Tomasino just feels wrong in every way, but we’ll see if Hynes values physicality and size over finesse and offensive skill. I really hope that’s not the case as Tomasino brings you so much more potential.

Final verdict

Tomasino has proven on every level that he’s ready for this moment and he should get this final roster spot, and in return I would cut Harpur.

The Predators lack a lot of highly offensive skilled players, and Tomasino obviously can provide a huge boost in that area, whereas Harpur is going to bring you very little other than another big body that can hit. The Predators have plenty of players that can already do that.

That would also mean that Olivier sticks around as a healthy scratch against the Seattle Kraken. I see Olivier as a rotational player throughout the season, and essentially the next man up if injuries or poor play arises.

Rocco Grimaldi was always perceived as hanging around on that roster fringe, but he’s another player that will end up being a rotational player.

The latest practice line rushes are out from Adam Vingan of The Athletic, and it indicates that Tomasino is in on that third line with Cody Glass and Nick Cousins:

The top-six for the Predators looks set with Filip Forsberg/Ryan Johansen/Matt Duchene and Luke Kunin/Mikael Granlund/Eeli Tolvanen. I really like how this two lines have formed throughout training camp.

dark. Next. Top Players Who Are Ready for Breakout Seasons for Predators in 2021-22

Defensively, I’d much rather see Mark Borowiecki or Matt Benning get that final defensive spot over Harpur, but we’ll see how that shapes out on Thursday. If it were me, I’m starting Tomasino on the third line where he’s practicing today, and using Olivier and Grimaldi as healthy scratches.

It’s taken a lot of sorting out and shuffling for Hynes, but it appears he’s got his final roster ready to go for Thursday against the Seattle Kraken.