The Nashville Predators are one of the best teams in the entire western conference at this time. They are second within the Central Division and continue to win games despite being counted out before the season began.
There are a lot of reasons for the Predators’ stark turnaround this season. For one, their division is not as strong as it used to be with teams like the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks taking major steps back. This team has continued to stay competitive despite many thinking this year was going to be the first down year for the franchise in a while, there are a few players to thank for their success.
The Nashville Predators are contending for the playoffs and could be a favorite out of the central division.
There are a few players that deserve some praise for the success of the team so far this season.
1. Roman Josi
Roman Josi has been one of the top defensemen in the entire NHL this season. He is 24th in the league in points and is fourth in the league in points amongst defensemen. Josi is the captain of the Predators and the fact that the team is still going strong and competitive definitely starts with his leadership.
2. Filip Forsberg
Filip Forsberg is one of the Predators having an incredible season. He is first in the team in goals with 24 in 33 games with the team. Forsberg also leads the team with six game-winning goals on the year. While his numbers might go down a little as he is currently shooting at 25%, falling back to the mean a little won’t hurt his production too much.
registering two goals against the Canucks.
3. Juuse Saros
Juuse Saros has won 24 games on the year thus far. He has started in 38 games and has helped his team every night. Saros is tenth in the league with a goals against average of 2.35 per game. He leads the league in shots faced with 1210 and has the best save percentage amongst goalies who have faced over 1000 shots on goal.
Saros is doing everything he can to help his team win, and he is a major part for the success of the franchise thus far. If the Predators are going to be competitive in the playoffs it is definitely going to involve Saros.
4. Colton Sissons
The Nashville Predators have some star talent in their top six, but it is the bottom six guys stepping up to the plate this season that are helping them win games. Colton Sissons is one of those guys.
Sissons is behind only Ryan Johansen in faceoff wins. He has been a big player in the bottom six dishing out 89 hits and blocking 27 shots on the year. His role on the third line has helped make the team better and he even has registered some goals with five on the year as well.
Colton Sissons is definitely not the brightest name on the Predators roster, I am sure Mikael Granlund or Ryan Johansen could have been on this list in his spot, or even Tanner Jeannot who has been pretty amazing as a rookie. Sissons has done his job on the penalty kill and has helped make the Predators a better team all around, and that is why he is on this list.
5. Matt Duchene
Matt Duchene has seemed to turn back the clock. This is the most productive year Duchene is having with the Predators by far. Last year he put up just 13 points in 34 games, and the year before that he had 42 in 66 games. This year he already has 41 in 42 games. Duchene is playing at a level fans haven’t seen since his time with the Colorado Avalanche, and for the Predators that just means more success on the ice.
Duchene looks like a man on a mission, and hopefully, he leads the Predators to the postseason. I would love to see him face off against his former team in Colorado.
The Predators have been one of the most surprising teams in the league this season. With some expiring contracts this offseason and their first three draft picks for the upcoming draft still in the books, it will be interesting to see what the team does at the upcoming trade deadline.