At the 2023 NHL All-Star break, the Nashville Predators rank 20th with a 24-18-6 record (54 points).
Nashville sits three points out of a wildcard spot and has only come within an arms reach of maintaining a trip to the postseason. Their hand has been caught more times than not going for the cookie jar. How they respond to a long break off the ice will be interesting to watch.
This time last year on Feb. 1 the Nashville Predators were the second-best team in the Western Conference through 46 games. Now Nashville sits fifth in the division.
Teams like the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets have done a 180 regarding how far back they were one calendar year ago. Now both teams are the first to 60 points in the Central and have seven more points than the third-place Minnesota Wild.
Looking back this season, the Predators have had one stretch of winning four straight and three streaks of winning three in a row. The losing has been just as spotty for Nashville. The two longest losing streaks being five games (10/13/22 – 10/22/22) & then six games (12/08/22 – 12/17/23).
So how have some of the fan favorites and newcomers done this season?
Roman Josi: A-
Only Adam Fox and Victor Hedman had better numbers (47 points) than Josi at this point last season. Nashville’s captain ended the 21-22 campaign as the NHL’s top-scoring defenseman with 96 points in 80 games.
Josi has remained the Predators’ best performer aside from Juuse Saros and the Swiss native currently has 41 points through 48 games. He’s scored the most powerplay goals by a defenseman (6) in the NHL this year.
Not to mention Josi also leads the Predators with four game-winning goals with rookie Juuso Parssinen in second with two tied with four of his teammates.
Tanner Jeannot: C-
After a 41-point season as a rookie Jeannot has mustered just 13 points in 48 games with the Predators in his sophomore season. Jeannot had an 89-day goal drought before scoring on Jan. 24. He finished last season with 153 votes for the Calder Memorial Trophy and has since not put up similar numbers in the scoring department.
Albeit, he has been among one of the most physically dominant players in the entire NHL. Jeannot is sixth in hits (176) and second in major penalties (8) with all being fights.
At the 46-game mark in 21-22, Jeannot was sixth among rookies in scoring with 27 points. He logged over 600 minutes with Yakov Trenin and Colton Sissons last year and this year has spent the majority of the season with the same linemates.
Filip Forsberg: B-
One of the most prolific scorers in the Predators history, Forsberg has 239 goals all-time. He’ll continue to add to that as he remains in Music City.
The Swedish forward signed an eight-year deal over the offseason and is beginning to look more like the scorer he was last season netting 10 goals in his last 16 games.
Forsberg posted 84 points in 69 games last season, and Matt Duchene had only one more goal than him last year.
As the Predators’ top forward on the powerplay he’s garnered four goals and nine assists. He’s currently on pace to reach 70 points, which would be the second-highest total in his career.
Matt Duchene: B
The second-highest-paid forward on the Predators currently has 38 points after posting 86 one year ago. However, Duchene does have the most even strength points (30) by a Predators player this season along with eight powerplay points.
He’s most recently scored 11 points in his last 13 games and had flashes of his elusive skating come up when breaking in for a scoring chance.
Since the Predators lost to the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 10, Duchene has scored four points in four games and helped lead Nashville to a three-game win streak.
Ryan Johansen: C+
In his eighth season as a Predator, the Vancouver native centerman has been a stalwart in the faceoff dot winning 58.5% of his draws.
Johansen is producing at a 42-point pace after putting up 63 points last year. A considerable decline in point production.
He’s been a consistent piece to the powerplay posting nine points on the man advantage, but one young gun on the roster has relieved some pressure from the veteran players.
Juuso Parssinen: B
All the seventh-round pick from 2019 needed was 10 games in the AHL before becoming a main character in the Predators season. As a rookie Parssinen has scored 21 points (9th among NHL rookies)
The Finnish forward needs 17 more points to break the Predator’s all-time points record by a rookie in a single season. Alex Radiulov holds the record at 37. He is currently on pace for 50 points if he keeps it up and could receive some Calder Trophy votes as long as he remains in the NHL.
Parssinen tied the Predator’s longest point streak by a rookie scoring nine points in seven games going from Jan. 5-16.
Cody Glass: C+
After making the team out of training camp the young forward has shown signs of promise as the season has waned on. Overall he has 18 points in 38 games after a full season with the Milwaukee Admirals.
In Glass’ last 13 games, he’s flipped the switch and scored nine points with two powerplay goals. He’s producing at a 38-point pace and already has a career-high seven goals. Nashville will have the opportunity to re-sign the 23-year-old RFA this offseason.
Mattias Ekholm: B
One of the most revered defensemen in Predators history. Ekholm has been able to score at least 20 points in the last seven seasons and is three points away from making it eight.
He’s been alongside Alexandre Carrier for most of this season and has allowed a team-high 15 even-strength goals against. The duo has combined for 25 points so far this season.
Colton Sissons: B+
Aside from Johansen it’s Sissons who is a dominant force in the faceoff circle. This season he’s second in faceoff wins (315) and has 99 shorthanded faceoff wins when killing penalties. He’s been everything you need out of a bottom-six skater.
Sissons is on pace for 38 points by the end of the season which would be the second time he would eclipse 30 points in his time as a Predator.
Juuse Saros A+
The undisputed MVP of the Nashville Predators through this point of the season. Saros is ninth overall in wins (19) and has a 2.74 goals-against average through 37 starts. Overall Saros is second in the NHL in saves with 1,143 allowing 100 goals.
According to Money Puck Saros has a 3.84 wins above replacement this season (3rd overall). On top of making 23 saves above the expected average Saros also has played the fourth most minutes among all NHL netminders.