Settling who will be on the crucial 2nd Line
Who emerges to claim a spot on the vital second line for the Nashville Predators is a key storyline to watch. Five of the six slots look pretty obvious with Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg, and Mikael Granlund. But who gets that sixth spot?
You would think it’s Philip Tomasino‘s to lose, but he does still have to show it in training camp. His solid rookie campaign should have him as the frontrunner.
It went a little unnoticed due to so many other career high seasons, but Tomasino impressively tallied 32 points in just 11:32 of average ice time. I’d call that being extremely efficient.
Tomasino was incredibly comfortable last season despite being so young and not having a regular place in the lineup. Now it will be important to find a consistent line for him, and the second line looks like the perfect spot for him with two veterans in Niederreiter and Johansen.
If for some reason Tomasino has a lackluster camp that gives coaches reason to pause on putting him in that elevated role, then perhaps Eeli Tolvanen gets another opportunity in the top-six.
Also, the unforeseeable could happen where Head Coach John Hynes breaks up the “Herd Line” and elevates Tanner Jeannot to a second line role. It doesn’t seem logical, but again coaches make unexpected lineup decisions all the time, and it will come down to what Hynes observes in the preseason action.
If Hynes doesn’t like what he sees from Tomasino on the second line, then Tolvanen would be your next best bet to open the season on the second line. This is a spot in the lineup to keep a close eye on.