Nashville Predators have been Pretty Fortunate on the Injury Front

This is the time of the season when injuries start piling up, but the Predators have actually fared well in the injury landscape.
Jan 2, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Luke Evangelista (77) is
Jan 2, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Luke Evangelista (77) is / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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A lot of teams are feeling the injury wrath right now at the midway point of the 2023-24 season, but for the Nashville Predators they've been rather fortunate.

Other than a day-to-day injury designation for Tyson Barrie, the Predators are at full strength in terms of injuries as they enter the second half of their season. A far cry from what they endured in the second half of 2022-23 that saw catastrophic injuries to Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi, Matt Duchene and others.

It's been a week of particularly massive injury news for the NHL with Trevor Zegras, Connor Bedard and Miro Heiskanen being high profile players who will miss a lengthy amount of time. Zegras and Bedard will be out up to an expected two months, while Heiskanen is week-to-week for the Stars.

The two biggest injuries the Predators have had through the first 41 games has been with Cody Glass and Tommy Novak. Glass hit the IR two separate stints, while Novak missed 11 games.

Preds Enter 2nd Half of 2023-24 Almost Fully Healthy

The injury for Glass has really hampered his season, and he's still trying to find his game. Novak has bounced back much quicker and has 19 points in 30 games.

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Kiefer Sherwood has also dealt with an upper body injury in mid-December but has since been cleared to play. He has been healthy scratched the last two games, which has made room for Denis Gurianov to get his first regular season action with the Predators.

Ryan McDonagh, Alexandre Carrier and Luke Schenn also had brief stints with injuries but have since become regular starters and remained available.

Kevin Lankinen's illness gave Yaroslav Askarov the opportunity to get his second career NHL start, and he didn't disappoint with 33 saves and his first NHL win. Askarov is now an AHL All-Star for 2024.

The Predators can't afford any significant injuries to their veteran core. Filip Forsberg hasn't played in 70 or more games in a regular season since 2016-17. Some of that is due to the pandemic shortened seasons, but last season was particularly crushing for Forsberg when he suffered the concussion in February.

Ryan O'Reilly and Gustav Nyquist suffered bad injury luck as well last season. Nyquist went out for the Blue Jackets in late January with a shoulder injury and was eventually cleared to play in April and appeared in five postseason games for the Minnesota Wild, putting up five assists.

O'Reilly suffered a foot injury in early January which forced him to miss over a month. He then missed another month after joining the Maple Leafs, but returned for the playoffs and put up nine points in 11 games.

For the Predators to keep their hopes alive to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing in 2023, they need the combination of Forsberg, O'Reilly and Nyquist to stay healthy. They're Nashville's top line and they have been extremely reliable. Breaking that up would be crushing for Head Coach Andrew Brunette's evolving offensive system.

A lot of good injury fortune has to do with proper management as well. Giving players rest when needed if there's something nagging them. Especially with their forwards, the Predators can rotate guys in and out if some players are banged up and need a break.

With the trade deadline being less than two months away, any long-term injuries to the Predators' veteran core would drastically change the strategy. It would possibly force the hand of General Manager Barry Trotz to come to grips with having to be a seller if the roster becomes depleted with injuries.

Injuries are unpredictable and unavoidable. Generally speaking the Predators have avoided any catastrophic injuries so far. If they manage to stay relatively healthy, then this roster can absolutely return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and be a tough out for any team in the first round.

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