For the lack of consistency and sustained success the Nashville Predators have shown in the first half of 2022-23, at least we have rookie Juuso Pärssinen growing into a more impactful player every game he plays.
Pärssinen has cracked into the top-10 in rookie point scoring in the NHL with 17 points in 28 games. All of the rookies ahead of him in point scoring have played more games than him, and most by10 or more games.
As the Nashville Predators continue to be a perplexing team that has high odds of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2014, Pärssinen remains a big reason to keep watching this team.
Pärssinen is playing major minutes for the Nashville Predators
The amount of pressure being throw at Pärssinen is pretty significant considering he didn’t begin the season on the NHL roster. Everyone knew he had enough talent to be considered right out of training camp, but instead started the season off with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL.
In just 10 games for the Admirals, Pärssinen put up nine points and got the attention of Head Coach John Hynes and his staff to get the call-up. It looks like he’s up here for the long haul.
In Pärssinen’s most recent game, a disappointing 5-3 loss for the Nashville Predators, he was standing out all over the offensive zone like a savvy NHL veteran:
Pärssinen is currently seventh on the Nashville Predators in points with 17 and fifth in assists with 13. He has recorded an assist in six consecutive games and has games of recording two assists three times, all coming in the last month.
Hynes loves to shake the lines up constantly, but keeping Pärssinen with Forsberg and Duchene is something he should hold strong with. It’s great for Pärssinen’s growth, and it actually gives the team the best chance to pull out of an offensive rut they’ve basically been in all season.
In terms of points per game, Pärssinen is sixth among NHL rookies at 0.66. The leader, and clear favorite to win the Calder Trophy, is Matty Beniers at 0.86 per game.
NHL Rookie Leaders in Points Per Game
- Matty Beniers, SEA: 0.86
- Lukas Reichel, CHI: 0.75
- Matias Maccelli, ARI: 0.73
- Samuel Fagemo, LAK: 067
- Cole Perfetti, WPG: 0.66
- Juuso Pärssinen, NSH: 0.61
As Pärssinen gets more playing time under his belt, still a whole half of the regular season remaining, I think he can climb up the rookie ladder even more. Realistically not enough to push Beniers, but certainly start getting more eyeballs on him from a national perspective.
Pärssinen’s next step is to know when to be a little selfish and throw pucks at the net. He’s already showing to be an excellent puck distributor and a true center. Now he needs to keep rounding out his offensive games.
Witht that said, how seamless Pärssinen has made the transition to the NHL look at age 21 and only 19 games of AHL experience is pretty astounding. If the Nashville Predators are going to commit to any sort of rebuild in the coming year or two, you better believe that the growth and continued development of Pärssinen into a dominant top-six center will be a main focal point.
Pärssinen was drafted in 2019 by the Nashville Predators as a seventh-round pick (#210 overall) and is Exhibit A that you don’t have to tank for the lottery to draft effectively and find some talented player to draft.
It’s never going to be a perfect science, but scouting is everything and this is looking like a home run steal of a pick as Pärssinen is now a mainstay in the Nashville Predators starting lineup.