Nashville Predators: Projecting the Starting Lineup if Season Started Today

Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators reacts with teammates after scoring a goal in the third period during the 2022 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators at Nissan Stadium on February 26, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators reacts with teammates after scoring a goal in the third period during the 2022 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators at Nissan Stadium on February 26, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

The Defensive Pairs and Starting Goaltender

Now for the defensive pairs. Roman Josi will obviously play on the first pairing, as he easily clocks in around 20+ minutes of ice time on most nights.

Usually, Dante Fabbro is paired with him, but with the Preds trading for Ryan McDonagh earlier in the offseason, I see him getting the call to play with Josi.

While yes, both are left-handed defensemen, McDonagh is interchangeable in that department and I see him logging top minutes with Josi as he is a solid defenseman who will play top-four minutes.

As for the second pairing, Hynes should stick with Ekholm-Carrier. Alexandre Carrier is a promising defenseman who had a rather solid season last year. It mostly went under the radar however due to multiple career years from the likes of Josi, Forsberg, and Duchene.

Mattias Ekholm had more of a down year, but is still solid defensively and deserves to be in a top-four role.

For the bottom pairing, I’m going with Lauzon-Fabbro. The Nashville Predators clearly believe in Jeremy Lauzon, signing him to an extension earlier in the offseason, and has proven to be a solid defensive depth piece that plays to the physical identity Hynes loves.

Fabbro is down here because he needs to be an active player, but there isn’t really any room for him on the top-four anymore. While a weird pairing, this is about the best you can do to make sure both Lauzon and Fabbro are, rightfully, in the lineup.

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For the starting goaltender, I mean, come on. It would be none other than 2022-23 Vezina FInalist Juuse Saros. Saros took over the crease during the 2020-2021 season, and has proven to be a top goaltender in the NHL.

Saros’ main signature is his lateral movement, and he can go post-to-post in nearly an instant. Make no mistake, the crease belongs to Saros, and he will have a bit of workload off of him with a rather solid Kevin Lankinen.

While only having a .891 save percentage and 3.50 GAA during the 2021-22 season, I attribute that more to the horrendous Blackhawks team that was playing in front of Lankinen.

Even in 2020-21, Lankinen posted a .909 save percentage and 3.01 GAA. Lankinen is a solid backup to Juuse Saros, which will be vital in keeping Nashville’s star goaltender healthy.

And that about sums it up for my picks for the 2022-23 starting lineup! This team has undoubtedly gotten better this offseason, and I’m excited to see what the new personnel will bring to the team. The countdown is on to October and to see what this new Nashville Predators roster is made of.