Nashville Predators Sit in Wildcard Spot at Midway Point: Team Awards

Officially at the halfway point of 2023-24, the Nashville Predators sit in a wildcard spot but still have a lot of room for improvement.

Jan 6, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Nashville Predators center Ryan O'Reilly (90) celebrates with his
Jan 6, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Nashville Predators center Ryan O'Reilly (90) celebrates with his / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Ryan McDonagh
Nashville Predators v Carolina Hurricanes / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

Best Defender: Ryan McDonagh

Overall the Predators defense hasn't been up to par for me. They're wildly inconsistent, but do sometimes show flashes of being a great strength. Other times, they're carved up and exposes for lack of structure and speed.

It was close between either Ryan McDonagh or Alexandre Carrier for this midseason award, but I'm going with McDonagh because of his on-ice leadership and being better at limiting getting caught out of position.

I'm also overlooking Josi for this award because he primarily does his damage offensively, and far too many times he's been caught in bad situations when getting back on defense.

The McDonagh and Carrier defensive pairing is 14th in the NHL in Expected Goals Against per 60, which is much better than Josi's pairing with Dante Fabbro, which is 60th in this category.

McDonagh does a lot of things that don't show up in the box score. Many times he's the lone guy throwing his body on the line when things have broken down.

Furthermore, McDonagh is heavily leaned on to lead the defense even more so than Josi, who is out there to provide more offense. McDonagh only trails Josi for average ice time among Predators skaters.

You can present an argument to have Josi for this award purely based on offensive production, or Carrier because he has more blocks and hits than McDonagh, but I'm also going with my eye test here and sticking with McDonagh.