First Unit: Sissons, Jeannot, McDonagh, Ekholm
The Predators’ first penalty kill unit is not super tough to decipher. Sissons is nearly a lock for the first center since his skills — being a defensive forward who is also responsible with the puck on his stick — make him tailor-made for this type of role.
Jeannot, who is a super physical forward capable of outworking his opponents on both ends of the ice, played critical minutes on the kill last year and definitely makes the most sense to stay on the top unit.
Adding McDonagh is where the Predators’ penalty kill really should take a big step forward. Being a stay-at-home defenseman by nature, he was brought in to do dirty work and keep pucks out of the net at both even strength and with the man in the box. There can be no doubt that he will be one of the mainstays on the first unit.
The final guy rounding it out is Ekholm, who has always played similarly to McDonagh and will do his best work in primarily defensive situations.
This right here is the best combination of forwards and defensemen on the Nashville Predators who will do the best work in their own zone, and they should be able to frustrate opposing power plays consistently.