Grades for Key Players at 2023 NHL All-Star Break
During the 2023 NHL All-Star Break, the Nashville Predators rank 20th with a 24-18-6 record (54 points).
Nashville sits three points shy of a wildcard berth and only inches away from sustaining a playoff trip. Their hand was caught more times than not reaching for the cookie jar. How they react to a long break off the ice will be interesting to watch.
This time last year, Feb. 1, the Nashville Predators were the second-best team in the Western Conference in 46 games. Now, Nashville sits fifth in the division.
Teams like the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets did a 180 in the time they went back a calendar year ago. Now both teams are first at 60 points in the Central and seven points ahead of the third-place Minnesota Wild.
Looking back this season, the Predators had a four-game winning streak and three three-game winning streaks. The loss was equally uneven for Nashville. The two longest losing streaks being five games (10/13/22 – 10/22/22) and then six games (12/08/22 – 12/17/23).
Last season, the Predators got the best numbers in Roman Josi thanks to a defenseman in franchise history and two 40-goal scorers for the first time in Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene.
So how have some of the fan favorites and newcomers fared this season?
Roman Josi: A-
Only Adam Fox and Victor Hedman had better numbers (47 points) than Josi at this point last season. The Nashville captain finished the campaign 21-22 as the NHL’s top defenseman with 96 points in 80 games.
Josi remained the Predators’ best player aside from Juuse Saros and the Swiss native currently has 41 points in 48 games. He has scored the most power-play goals by a defenseman (6) in the NHL this year.
Not to mention, Josi also leads the Predators with four game-winning goals with rookie Juuso Parssinen second with two tied with four of his teammates.
Tanner Jeannot: C-
After a 41-point season as a rookie, Jeannot had just 13 points in 48 games with the Predators in his second season. Jeannot had an 89-day goal drought before scoring on January 24. He finished last season with 153 votes for the Calder Memorial Trophy and hasn’t recorded similar numbers in the scoring department since.
Although he was one of the most physically dominant players in the entire NHL. Jeannot is sixth in hits (176) and second in major penalties (8), all of which are fights.
At 46 games in 21-22, Jeannot finished sixth among rookies with 27 points. He logged over 600 minutes with Yakov Trenin and Colton Sissons last year and this year has spent the majority of the season with the same teammates.
Filip Forsberg: B-
One of the most prolific scorers in Predators history, Forsberg has 239 all-time goals. He will continue to add to that as he remains in Music City.
The Swedish striker signed an eight-year contract in the offseason and is starting to look more like the goalscorer he was last season, scoring 10 goals in his last 16 games.
Forsberg had 84 points in 69 games last season, and Matt Duchene had just one more goal than him last year.
As the Predators’ top power-play forward, he had four goals and nine assists. He is currently on course to reach 70 points, which would be the second highest total of his career.
Matt Duchene: B
The Predators’ second-highest-paid forward currently has 38 points after posting 86 a year ago. However, Duchene has the most strength points (30) by a Predators player this season with eight power-play points.
He recently scored 11 points in his last 13 games and had flashes of his elusive skating when he broke in for a scoring chance.
Since the Predators’ loss to the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 10, Duchene has scored four points in four games and led Nashville to a three-game winning streak.
Ryan Johansen: C+
In his eighth season as a Predator, the Vancouver native was a faceoff mainstay, winning 58.5% of his ties.
Johansen is producing at a 42-point pace after amassing 63 points last year. A considerable drop in point production.
He was a consistent part of the power play posting nine power-play points, but a young player on the lineup relieved the pressure from veteran players.
Juuso Parssinen: B
The entire 2019 seventh-round pick needed 10 AHL games before becoming a mainstay of the Predators season. As a rookie, Parssinen scored 21 points (9th among NHL rookies)
The Finnish forward needs 17 more points to break the Predator’s all-time points record by a rookie in a single season. Alex Radiulov holds the record at 37. He’s currently on 50-point pace if he keeps up the pace and could receive Calder Trophy votes as long as he stays in the NHL.
Parssinen tied the Predator’s longest point streak by a rookie scoring nine points in seven games from Jan. 5-16.
Cody Glass: C+
After kicking the team out of training camp, the young striker has shown promising signs as the season progressed. Overall, he has 18 points in 38 games after a full season with the Milwaukee Admirals.
In Glass’ last 13 games, he’s flipped the switch and scored nine points with two power-play goals. He’s producing at a 38-point pace and already has a career-high seven goals. Nashville will have the opportunity to re-sign the 23-year-old RFA this offseason.
Mattias Ekholm: B
One of the most revered defensemen in Predators history. Ekholm has managed to score at least 20 points over the past seven seasons and is three points away from making eight.
He’s been alongside Alexandre Carrier for most of this season and allowed a team-record 15 even-strength goals against. The duo have combined for 25 points so far this season.
Ekholm trails only Jeremy Lauzon (150) in hits with 59-48 games. When the Swedish defender killed penalties alongside Ryan McDonagh, the pair allowed two goals.
Colton Sissons: B+
Aside from Johansen, it’s Sissons who is a dominant force in the face-off circle. This season, he’s second in face-offs (315) and has 99 shorthanded kills on penalties. He’s been everything you need from a last-six skater.
Sissons is on pace for 38 points by the end of the season, which would be the second time he has eclipsed 30 points in his time as a Predator.
Juuse Saros A+
The undisputed MVP of the Nashville Predators at this point in the season. Saros is ninth overall in wins (19) and has a 2.74 goals-against average in 37 starts. Overall, Saros is second in the NHL in saves with 1,143 allowing 100 goals.
According to Money Puck, Saros is 3.84 wins above replacement this season (3rd overall). In addition to making 23 saves above the expected average, Saros also had the fourth most minutes of any NHL goaltender.