#2: Are the Nashville Predators Improving in Key Areas?
This is something I’ve been watching closely post-trade deadline. Are the Nashville Predators making any strides in some of the areas that they’ve struggled in badly over the course of the first 62 games?
Unfortunately, it was a giant step back in the last game as the Arizona Coyotes got the best of the Nashville Predators again, holding Nashville to one goal and an 0-for-6 evening on the power play.
Obviously Granlund has been traded away, and Johansen is out for the season. If Forsberg ends up coming back into the lineup, which remains unclear if he will, then perhaps we can get a better look at these newly-constructed power play units that have included Luke Evangelista.
The Predators power play has remained way down the list of power play percentage all season, and sit at 25th currently with an 18.5 percent success rate. A significant drop from their 24.4 percent success rate last season that finished sixth in the NHL.
Even if it’s modest improvement, watch this area closely over the final 20 games to see if they can make some strides.
Defensive structure is important as well, and it has shown some flashes of strong play on the puck, but also some glaring lapses. Again, this is to be expected with so many new players in the lineup and losing so many veterans all in a month’s timespan.
The defensive pairings have gone through major changes and it’s taking time to get the chemistry down. Losing the on-ice leadership of Mattias Ekholm isn’t something you’re going to overcome in short time, even though Tyson Barrie has looked pretty good offensively.
Alexandre Carrier, another vital piece that wasn’t lost by trade but by injury, has been hard make up for.
I’m keying in on how the Nashville Predators look at becoming a team that’s a menace to play against like they used to be. A team that doesn’t get pushed around and wins those critical loose puck battles. Haven’t seen enough of that as of late.