Nashville Predators in a Defensive Predicament after Spencer Stastney Injury

With Spencer Stastney already injured, and Dante Fabbro also out, the Predators are scrambling with their defensive corps for the final 15 games of the regular season.

Feb 13, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  New Jersey Devils defenseman Colin Miller (24) and right
Feb 13, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Colin Miller (24) and right / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The injury misfortune continues for the Nashville Predators after the sudden injury to Spencer Stastney in his first game after being called up to fill in for injured Dante Fabbro.

Stastney is listed as "week to week" with an upper body injury according to the team's social media post on Friday, which raises questions once again if Tyson Barrie will finally slot back into the starting lineup after failing to be traded at the trade deadline.

Barrie hasn't started in a game since February 15, the 9-2 loss to the Dallas Stars that snapped the Predators out of their slumber and has turned into a 13-game point streak since.

Predators have Limited Options, Barrie is their Best Choice

This would be a much different type of question and answer if the Predators were way outside the playoff picture. If that was the case, then you're calling up prospects to get them valuable NHL experience. But let's not forget, that even though the playoff odds are overwhelming, it's not a done deal they make it in yet.

The Predators are running out of viable options to call up. Stastney was an easy fill-in for the injured Dante Fabbro because he fits Head Coach Andrew Brunette's transition style of offense very well and has always been viewed as NHL ready when roster space becomes available.

With Stastney now out at least a couple weeks, Barrie becomes really the only option. They're left currently with six healthy defensemen for their Saturday night matchup with the Seattle Kraken, so we'll have to see if they call up a seventh defenseman. It could be Marc Del Gaizo who plays on the left side.


Del Gaizo appeared in five game in the early goings of this season and notched three assists in five games. The 24-year-old defenseman has 32 points in 50 games for the Milwaukee Admirals this season.

That would be a pretty serious statement on Barrie if the Predators made yet another call-up to move into the starting lineup over the veteran.

With it being crunch time for the push for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, now isn't the best time to be experimenting with prospects who haven't played in the NHL this season, or have limited NHL experience altogether. That's why I would forego calling up prospects such as Jordan Gross, Jake Livingstone or newly-acquired Jeremy Hanzel.

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It's really a choice between Barrie or Del Gaizo against the Kraken, and although this isn't going to be a popular choice among most of the fans, I'm going with Barrie. You need a veteran in there that can move the puck and make the right decisions in critical situations.

When injuries occur, especially so close together with Fabbro and Stastney, you have to go off of the original script. I feel comfortable enough that Barrie can come in and be of value down the stretch, while I would be much more cautious about throwing in an inexperienced younger player like Del Gaizo into this scenario.

Let's not act like Barrie is suddenly a scrub after playing in over 800 NHL games, including 46 playoff games. I need veteran experience to push this thing over the finish line and into the postseason.

It's not ideal, because injuries never are, but my defensive lineup for the Kraken would be Josi/Carrier, McDonagh/Barrie, Lauzon/Schenn. A heavy-hitting bottom pairing, a puck moving offensive driven top pairing, and veteran experience on the second pairing.