The Nashville Predators were ailing for scoring in general, but were in dire need of an upgrade on the power play. After posting an astounding 12.6 percent conversion rate on the man advantage and overall lackluster offense in general, Nashville needed something before the trade deadline was over.
David Poile worked his magic and picked up two big forwards that are specifically designed to improve the offense.
Who Went Away?
- Kevin Fiala– 10 goals, 22 assists in 64 games played
- Ryan Hartman– 10 goals, 10 assists in 64 games played
- One 4th round pick in the 2020 draft
Who Is Coming?
- Wayne Simmonds– 16 goals, 11 assists in 62 games played
- Mikael Granlund– 15 goals, 34 assists in 63 games played
There is a MAJOR upside to both of these pickups. For starters, Simmonds has scored just as many goals as Craig Smith, who is third on the team in that category. Additionally, he’ll come on with five power play goals, which ties Filip Forsberg in power play goals. Simmonds is 6’2 and weighs 185 pounds- another big body forward like newly christened Brian Boyle. They lost a sparkplug in Ryan Hartman, who was handed a rental contract at the beginning of the year. However, Simmonds provides maturity and more maturity to the lineup.
Mikael Granlund, the other acquisition, was second on the Minnesota Wild in total points and recorded 18 total power play points (16 of them being assists). Granlund can double as a center and a winger, and will be third on the Predators in total points behind Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi. Granlund is 10 years younger than Simmonds and has 22 more points than Simmonds.
So what does that mean?
Simmonds and Granlund can heal an ailing power play, and add stability to a lineup that is currently in repair mode.
Fiala and Hartman are young talents who have yet to prove themselves as consistently dangerous threats. Perhaps a fresh start for Fiala will do him some good, but his heroics in the playoffs won’t be soon forgotten. Hartman, a late pickup last year, was a low risk/high reward, and the Predators benefitted from him.
Ultimately, their contributions were average to a below average offense, and that simply cannot sustain without consistency. Both skaters only recently met 10 goals. Fiala, who was a 20 goal scorer last year, is sputtering immensely. In all honesty, they weren’t necessities to the lineup.
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What Should We Expect?
Physicality. Cody McLeod, Brian Boyle, and Wayne Simmonds add a physical edge that is much needed. Granlund and Simmonds will definitely bolster the offense, and hopefully, the first line will be even deadlier with more secondary scoring. Granlund and Simmonds will also have the benefit of playing behind Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros, so hopefully, more wins and more offense will improve locker room moral right before the playoffs begin.
If Nashville wasn’t prepared for Winnipeg in Round Two, they definitely are now.