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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Michael McCarron, Nashville Predators
Jan 2, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Michael McCarron (47) shoots / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Biggest Surprise Player: Michael McCarron

I had very little confidence that Michael McCarron was going to be an everyday starter for the Predators in 2023-24 after moving on from John Hynes.

After beginning the season on the roster out of training camp, McCarron wasn't getting regular starts. However, since mid November McCarron has been a regular in the starting lineup and even has six goals, just one shy of his NHL career high.

Now we can debate whether or not there are better options in Milwaukee to replace McCarron with, but I have him as my biggest surprise simply because he's already played in 31 of the 41 games. I didn't see that coming, but credit to him for impressing coaches enough to not be benched.

McCarron is a hard-working and prototypical fourth line grinder. He's a massive physical presence who flashes some occasional offense, a strong locker room presence and provides some defense as well with 23 blocks and 53 hits.

I don't see McCarron being taken out of the lineup anytime soon because he can play both center and wing and the coaches love him on that fourth line.