Nashville Predators Clinch 16th Playoff Berth: 3 Reasons They're Playoff Bound

The Predators are heading back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after storming back against the Jets to manage a point and officially eliminate the Blues from contention.
Apr 9, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators center Ryan O'Reilly (90) celebrates
Apr 9, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators center Ryan O'Reilly (90) celebrates / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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Roman Josi, Cole Smith, Kiefer Sherwood
Ottawa Senators v Nashville Predators / Donald Page/GettyImages

Reliable Depth that Can Compete in the Playoffs

You cannot be top heavy if you're going to have any success once you get into the playoffs. It's a grueling journey to even qualify, much less to win the 16 games necessary to hoist the Stanley Cup.

The Predators have the playoff depth to wear down opponents in a seven-game series. They can trade blows, and they can make multi-goal comebacks thanks to their bottom six workhorses like Kiefer Sherwood, Cole Smith and Michael McCarron, who are now up to 240 minutes of time on ice together as a line.

In the previous slide I mentioned Brunette's wise decision to stick with line combos, and this fourth line is no different. All three players on this line have set career highs in points, and they often open the game for Nashville as the tone setters.

It goes deeper than that, however. Let's take a guy like Mark Jankowski. No one could've expected Jankowski to be playing meaningful second line minutes this late in the season with the playoffs still on the line.


The younger players also factor into that depth. Luke Evangelista is playing some of the best hockey in his still very young NHL career. He just hit the 100-game milestone, and was the main catalyst that drove the offense against the Jets even though he didn't score a goal.

Then you shift to the defensive corps, which is also the deepest I've seen it since the 2018 Presidents Trophy season. Jeremy Lauzon is arguably the most improved player on the Predators this season and will be a force in the postseason.

Also, as much criticism as he gets, don't overlook the value that Luke Schenn will bring as a third pairing enforcer. He has 42 games of playoff experience on championship level teams.

The Predators have the depth to wear down anyone in a seven-game series.