Top 5 Slept on Predators
by Jay Ingersoll (OTPH Intern)
With the season getting into full swing with having played the 6th regular season game on Monday night against the Wild, and the 4 preseason games the Nashville Predators have a 4-1 record and will travel to face former teammate James Neal and the Calgary Flames on Friday night. Now that we got to see every player perform on the ice and the practice arena including the ones that were “slept on” during the offseason. Let’s take a look at the top 5 sleepers of the Nashville Predators.
5. Ryan Hartman– Coming in at the trade deadline from the Blackhawks, the 24-year-old right winger, played 21 regular season game during the last push and 9 of the playoffs games with the Nashville Predators. With being a part of the team for around the 1/4 of the season, he averaged around 13 minutes on ice time per game. In those minutes he was able to get three goals with all but one of those goals being game-winning goals. Along with the goals Hartman assisted with 3 goals in the regular season. During the playoff run, Hartman was able to find the back of the net 2 times and had a single assist. So far in the 2018-2019 season, the winger has already lit the goal light once and has already had 3 assists. He has also averaged around 14 minutes of ice time per game. Since Hartman is on the 3rd line many people do not consider him to be one of the top players on the team. With this being his first full year in Smashville, it could be expected this year will show his full potential with the team.
4. Colton Sisson– The 4th line center, during the last season Sissons played 81 out of the 82 games regular season, in those game he was able to light the lamp a total of 9 times and was able to pick up a total of 18 assists. In the postseason, the center was able to pick up another 3 goals and 4 assists. During the NHL awards voting period, Sissons name was mentioned in the consideration of the Frank J. Selke trophy. The trophy is given to the top defensive forward Sissons received .37 of the votes. With begin so close to the cup and getting his name mentioned in consideration for the top defensive player of the game, Sissons is estimated to pick up a career-high 11 goals and 13 assists.
3. Ryan Johansen– While most people do not consider the top center on the team a “sleeper player”, he already is having an amazing season, not in the terms of putting the puck in the back of the net, but with assists and with his time on the ice. In the 207-2018 season “Joey” was able to set the goal horn off a total of 15 times and add another 39 assists to his totals, he did all of this averaging around 18 minutes on ice per game. So far this season, Johansen has lit the lamp once and has had a total of 5 assists. During the 6 regular season games, he has increased his time on ice to around 19 minutes. In the last two games, Johansen has had two assists per game. Being an elite center it is known that he should rack up more assist than goals. With Johansen’s explosive start to the season, this has been true so far seeing that number 92 is leading the team in assist.
2. Kevin Fiala– While everyone in Smashville knows this 22-year-old’s name after the overtime game-winner in round 1 game 3 against the BlackHawks. While we all know his name, he is not well known around the NHL. Coming back from a knee injury that occurred in the Stanley Cup run in 2017, Fiala got the puck past the goalie 23 times last season, and was on the ice around the low end of 15 minutes per game. In the first past of this season, Fiala has not been able to find the back of the net but his on-ice time has grown to around the upper part of 15 minutes. When Fiala “awakens” this season, his name will be mention in the conversation for the NHL Network’s Top 50 players of the year. He has proven that he can and will perform in high-pressure situations with not only the OT game-winner against the BlackHawks, he also had the game-winning OT goal against the Jet’s to end game 2 to even the series up at 1 and give the Predators a chance to advance to the Western Conference Finals. This season Fiala is predicted to have a total of 24 goals and assist.
1. Juuse Saros– The 23-year-old backup goalie has been undefeated so far in the season. He has been in the net both the times the Predators have faced off against the New York Islanders. Last season Saros started a career-high 23 games and secured the win for the team 11 times. While all of Smashville knows Saros is going to have an amazing career with the Predators, the reason he is included in the “sleepers” list is that for many hockey fans, the backup goalie is not that big of a role on a team. But in Saors’ case, it is very different, with him starting a little over 1/4 of the games last season, along with coming in for Pekka in the playoff. It is predicted that he will start more and more games this season, so he is primed and ready to go for when the Finish Reindeer retires.
Do you agree or disagree with this list? We would like you to sound off in the comments about who you think the sleepers of the team are.
As always LET’S GO PREDS!