As the Nashville Predators cling onto their gradually fading postseason hopes for 2023, their offensive structure does seem to be improving.
The Predators have hung around the bottom of the NHL in goal scoring for a large chunk of the season while having a power play that has been a constant struggle. A recent stretch has them trending back in the right direction.
Think about last season and all of the career years several players had for the Predators on the offensive end. It wasn’t just Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene. They led the charge, but there were others that boosted the team, like Ryan Johansen who had his highest goal total as a member of the Predators. Tanner Jeannot hit 20-plus goals after entering the season with only five NHL goals to his résumé.
Historically speaking the Nashville Predators were never a high-scoring, elite offensive team. They just broke into a frenzy last season, and it was sure entertainment to watch. Now we’ve come back down to reality a bit in 2022-23.
It was the power play, and primarily the top power play unit, that erupted. This season it has been a complete shift in the wrong direction, and it’s baffling to say the least.
How are the Nashville Predators Improving on the Offensive End?
First off, it takes time and patience to build chemistry on the offensive end. The forward core has been a fluid situation through the first 30-plus games. Kiefer Sherwood of all people scored the first goal of 2022-23 for the Nashville Predators.
Now I’m seeing way more structured zone entries and passes that are connecting. Guys are on the same page and seem to be more in sync with where one another or going to be.
When the offense was really sputtering, you were seeing bad zone exits which was leading to odd man rushes and Juuse Saros being in very precarious situations to bail the team out. That is still happening to a degree, but not at the same alarming level.
Who is making a huge difference in this regard? I have to first start with Cody Glass. I know he’s not scoring goals, but it’s not for lack of aggressiveness. He’s attacking the offensive zone and finding teammates. When the shot presents itself, he’s making the goalie make a save. That’s all you can ask for.
Glass is definitely making a positive impact on the offense now that he’s getting elevated ice time. In the recent win over the Ducks, Glass got 17 minutes of ice time and put six shots on goal.
You look at Glass’ possession metrics and they look strong as well. A 57.5 Corsi For % in all situations. His shots per game are also way up compared to the rest of his young NHL career. He’s averaging 1.56 shots per game this season, while never averaging more than 1.1 shots per game coming into 2022-23.
Forsberg is also really starting to find his hot streak. He’s coming off his ninth career hat trick in the OT loss to the Golden Knights on Friday. He’s always capable of taking games over and that’s what he did to at least help his team get a point in the standings in a game they probably should’ve lost in regulation.
The Nashville Predators will try to build on their recent offensive success against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night, a team who gives up the fifth-most goals against per game in the NHL.