Nashville Predators: Crunching the Numbers on the Slumping Power Play

Jan 17, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) takes a shot on goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 17, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) takes a shot on goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators power play has always been a topic of discussion. It’s a major eyesore for why the team is struggling to stay afloat right now.

Looking back to the 2017-2018 NHL regular season, the Nashville Predators have had a power play percentage over 20% on two occasions. In the 2017-2018 season they went 58/274 on the power play for a 21.17% success rate and again in the 2021-2022 season the power play was on fire and went 63/258 (24.42%).

In between those two seasons though, they had seasons of 12.94%, 17.26%, and 17.61% respectively. To make matters even worse, in two of those three seasons the Predators had more power play opportunities than the league average.

Last season’s 24.42% power play brought a false sense of hope that this Predators organization had finally figured out something on the man-advantage.

Ranking sixth overall in the NHL with the extra man, Matt Duchene led the way for the Predators with 16 goals followed by Roman Josi (11), Ryan Johansen (11), and Filip Forsberg (10).

Nashville Predators Power Play is Non-Existent

This season, like most other areas statistically, the Nashville Predators have been terrible on the power play. Unreliable and stagnant in critical junctures of the game. They are currently 24 for 147 with a 16.3% success rate. The league average for the 2022-2023 season is 31 for 142 (20.10%).

This lackluster play has the Predators ranking 29th overall in percentage and 27th in total power play goals. This all despite being 12th in power play opportunities. So it’s not for lack of chances.

Looking back at the four players that led the way last season, Josi has six goals followed by Forsberg (four goals), Duchene (four goals), and Johansen (three goals) with the opposing team in the box. With their current level of play, Josi is the only one of the four expected to score the same amount of power play goals as he did last year.

Not only have the Predators struggled to score goals on the power play but they have also given up four shorthanded goals through the first 44 games of the season. In the 2021-2022 season, they gave up five through 82 games played. Being on pace for nearly double the number of shorthanded goals from one season ago is an area that needs immediate improvement.

In a league where scoring is at a near all-time high, teams have to take advantage of having the extra man and get pucks in the back of the net to be successful and the Nashville Predators are not doing that enough.

What has Changed with the Nashville Predators Power Play?

Last season, the Nashville Predators were not afraid to shoot the puck. It seemed like they were absolutely relentless when it came to getting pucks on net on the power play. There was always someone in front of the net taking the opposing goalie’s eyes away making it possible for shots from the point to get through.

Ryan Johansen was a key contributor with the man advantage last season with a career high 11 power play goals. He has just three during the current campaign.

When you get the puck to the net, anything can happen. Whether it be a rebound that Duchene was getting and putting past the goalie, a Forsberg wrist shot from the faceoff circle, or a Josi bomb from the point. Pucks to the net is the key to success on the man advantage.

This season, the Nashville Predators look like they are more worried about getting the “perfect shot”. They are getting less pucks to the net on the power play and pass the puck around the perimeter the majority of the time.

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Passing the puck around the perimeter give the defense more time to gain possession of the puck and either clear it down ice, or worse, get an odd man rush on the penalty kill and have a shorthanded opportunity.

What Needs to Happen with this Struggling Nashville Predators PP?

Plain and simple, the Nashville Predators have to take advantage of the power play and start getting more pucks on net and past the opposing goalie. Too many times this season has the opposing team had a shorthanded chance where Juuse Saros or Kevin Lankinen has to make a save and freeze the puck and the Predators start from the defensive zone.

More needs to be expected from the Predators power play units as well. With firepower like Forsberg, Duchene, Johansen, Josi, and now the up-and-coming rookie Juuso Parssinen on the ice, the Predators should be getting the puck in the back of the net much more often.

If the Nashville Predators miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in nine years, it is all but guaranteed that the power play will be one of the main reason’s as to why it happens. Let’s get this power play turned around and see what happens down the stretch.