Nashville Predators Should Look to Rest Key Players in Final Three Games

It's been a long and grueling grind for the Predators to secure another playoff berth. How should they manage the last three regular season games?
Apr 4, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrates
Apr 4, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrates / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

With the playoffs locked up, the Nashville Predators will possibly look to rest some key players and have some roster maintenance in the final three regular season games. It starts on Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

It is a comfortable position to be in with three games left knowing your spot is secure and you can get some rest for players who may be banged up. The Predators do have the top wildcard spot to play for, but just how important is that spot in the grand scheme of things?

The Predators have recalled AHL veteran goalie Troy Grosenick to be the backup to starter Kevin Lankinen on Friday night at Chicago. Grosenick is carrying a .907 save percentage in 28 games for the Admirals this season. He hasn't appeared in an NHL game since 2020-21 for the Kings.

I posed the question to Predators fans on Twitter/X and you can check out some of the great responses down below.

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Expect the Predators to Rest Some Key Players, WC1 Isn't Worth the Injury Risk

The Predators have actually been relatively fortunate on the injury front this season. They dealt with some injuries to their defensive corps last month but were deep enough on the depth chart to weather that storm.

The forward have remained fully healthy down the stretch. leaving Head Coach Andrew Brunette a full arsenal of players to choose from.

The question for these last three games is what is more important? Getting guys some rest so they're fresh for Game 1, or should you keep them locked in so you don't risk disrupting the momentum they've built? I lean towards the first option due to the injury possibilities.

How catastrophic would it be if a core player, say someone like Ryan O'Reilly or Ryan McDonagh, took a long-term injury in the last three games? And for what, to hold onto the top wildcard spot? It's not worth the risk.

I would strongly consider first off resting O'Reilly and getting Cody Glass back into the lineup for the last three games.

Preds Have Options on Current Depth Chart and With Call-Ups

Now what about Filip Forsberg? Obviously losing him to a freakish injury in the last three games would all but guarantee Nashville gets swept by whoever it may be in the first round. Resting him should be considered as well and get Jaret Anderson-Dolan his first start with the Predators.

Anderson-Dolan was claimed off waivers by the Predators on March 7 and has been a healthy scratch every since. He's an easy plug-and-play option for the last three games and I'd feel much better knowing O'Reilly and Forsberg aren't at risk of getting knocked out before Game 1 even gets here.

Now I understand for statistical reason that wouldn't be a popular decision, especially with Forsberg who is looking to pass Matt Duchene's single season goal record of 43 for the Predators franchise. Maybe you give Forsberg the Chicago game to break the record, but if he doesn't, then you settle for the tie with Duchene and rest him the last two games.

Sorry, but we can't be taking chances with star players with everything on the line to have some playoff success this year.

When it comes to Juuse Saros, the injury risk isn't nearly as high, but getting him the extra rest is important. With Lankinen already getting the start against Chicago, I would start Grosenick against Columbus on the back-to-back, and then let Lankinen finish the regular season against the Penguins on April 15.

That would give Saros around 11 or 12 days of rest between starts for Game 1 of the playoffs.

You also have plenty of depth to work with among you defensive corps to get Josi or McDonagh some alternating rest, and move in Dante Fabbro or Tyson Barrie for some playing time.

With the Admirals fully entrenched in their preparation for the Calder Cup Playoffs in the AHL and already locked in to their playoff spot, you can also call up some waiver exempt players to get some NHL playing time in the last three games.


Calling up Marc Del Gaizo, Jeremy Hanzel or Ryan Ufko on defense would be cool to see in the season finale against the Penguins. You also have plenty of forward prospects to choose from including getting Philip Tomasino and Juuso Parssinen back in the mix for a couple games. You can consider giving NHL debuts to Joakim Kemell or Fedor Svechkov.

With that, there are rules to how many call-ups you get after the trade deadline. You only get four regular recalls, and Spencer Stastney was already one of them. So by my calculation, the Predators only have three recall options to make.

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Simply put, you haves some choices for call-ups that make sense and gives necessary players protection from injury before the playoffs, and just time to push reset for the bodies after a grueling NHL season.

Now you can't rest everyone and protect everyone from injury. It's part of the risk you take and you just keep your fingers crossed the Predators don't have something bad happen that affect their chances in the playoffs. But you definitely have to protect your core players in the last three games. The top wildcard spot isn't worth the risk.