Top 5 Players Who Have Outperformed Preseason Expectations for Nashville Predators

You can make a case for nearly every player on the Predators outperforming expectations to some degree, but these five stick out the most for a team performing way ahead of schedule.

Nov 28, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Michael McCarron (47)
Nov 28, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Michael McCarron (47) / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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Nashville Predators
Mar 21, 2024; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Nashville Predators center Ryan O'Reilly (90), center Gustav / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

#5: Ryan O'Reilly- 4 Goals Shy of a Career High

The first overachiever on my list is Ryan O'Reilly, "The Factor". He was a surprise free agency acquisition in 2023, and shifted away from the youth movement everyone thought was in full force.

The reservations about bringing O'Reilly in was his age and him being injured for so much of the previous season. Were the Predators just signing another veteran who was well past their prime?

As for myself at the time, I was thrilled to see the Predators bring in such an accomplished locker room presence and leader to Nashville. I looked at it as a blending in a healthy balance of veterans and young talent.

As much as I always loved the addition from the beginning, I didn't foresee O'Reilly pushing career high totals and having so much success on the power play with Filip Forsberg. And he has come up with an epic nickname for his two linemates, Forsberg and Nyquist. "The Swedish Meatballs".

O'Reilly has 14 power play goals which good for top-10 in the NHL. He needs four goals in the last 10 games, certainly doable, to set a career high in goals for a season at age 33. That would be remarkable in his first year with a new team that was looked at as a rebuild

The overall conservative expectations was that O'Reilly would be at most around a 50ish point scorer. But performing at a similar level to the season he won the Conny Smythe for the St. Louis Blues? Very few saw that coming.

O'Reilly can hit the 70-point mark in his first season in Nashville. Incredible stuff. And that would only be the seventh different player in franchise history to reach that milestone. Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg have each reached 70-plus points twice.