Nashville Predators at Vancouver Canucks 1st Round Preview: Who has the Edge?

The Nashville Predators will meet the Vancouver Canucks in the 1st Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the second all-time postseason meeting between the two.
Dec 19, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) skates the
Dec 19, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) skates the / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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Dec 19, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Vancouver Canucks center Pius Suter (24) passes the puck
Dec 19, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Vancouver Canucks center Pius Suter (24) passes the puck / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Depth

Playoff series are won with depth and grinding down the opponent. A major key to the Predators' success, and being way ahead of schedule in Year 1 under Brunette, is their depth enjoying career years in the NHL.

If you consider the superstars on both sides being a toss up, which I do, then this series might hinge on who has the better depth. The Canucks have nine players with 30-plus points, and the Predators have eight players at 30-plus points. Pretty solid job by both teams at distributing the wealth and not being top heavy.

The Predators got more contributions than anyone could have reasonably expected going into the season. With Brunette taking over, no one even knew for sure how the bottom six would look. But fringe NHL/AHL guys stepped in and had career high years in the NHL.

If the Predators are going to pull off a first round upset over the Canucks, then the continued impacts of Michael McCarron, Kiefer Sherwood and Cole Smith could be the difference-maker that sways the series slightly into the Predators' favor.

This trio that leads the Predators fourth line all had 20-plus point seasons, but their bigger impact of course lies with their physical attributed. Laying the body, winning loose puck battles thanks to their forechecking.

And when talking about depth, you also can't overlook Mark Jankowski who has been another fringe NHL starter who has had a surprise year sticking around in the starting lineup consistently.

To the Canucks credit, they also have quality depth among their forwards. But if we're talking about who is deeper, especially after you include the defensemen, I'm giving the edge to the Predators to grind down the Canucks to push this to six or seven games.