It’s been a relatively quiet week for the Nashville Predators. The loss to the Edmonton McDavids stung, but the bounce-back win against the Vegas Golden Knights was a sight for sore eyes.
Despite losing the possession battle, Fiala was on the ice for three high-danger chances for and produced two of them himself. On top of that, he had two primary assists. I hope he keeps this up, as Smith hasn’t looked like the same player since Fiala was moved, and I think it’s about time that the dynamic duo is reunited.
For those that don’t know, we can somewhat measure luck in the NHL. PDO is an interesting stat that determines if a team is under or over performing by adding team shooting percentage to team save percentage. The average is 100, because the average shooting percentage is around nine percent, while the average save percentage is around 91 percent. There’s only one rule with PDO: everything regresses to the mean. Everything will eventually equalize itself.
The Predators are the second-luckiest team in the NHL at five on five, with a PDO of 104.5. Their shooting percentage is nothing too spectacular at 10.41, but it’s their save percentage that really blows the lid off. Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros have a combined 94.14, which is also the second highest in the league. It starts to make sense how the Predators are winning so many games after not putting in a full 60 minute effort, they’re getting pretty lucky.
The good news, for the Predators, is that PDO can be out-skilled. Better teams can ride 10 or 11 percent shooting for a full season. I’m not sure Rinne and Saros will be able to keep saving 94 percent of shots, but I don’t think it’ll drop back to a 91. I’d bet it’ll fall to 92 percent, but a two-percent drop is no small thing.
A team who relies so heavily on their goaltending to make up for their defense will suffer greatly. I don’t know when regression will hit, but let’s hope it’s either before or after the playoffs.
2. Rookie Of The Month
Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson has been named the rookie of the month for October. I’d say he deserved it, but let’s also remember that he missed almost two weeks of the month. Was there not another rookie who performed as well and played the entire month?
This rookie class isn’t as explosive as past ones have been. Rasmus Dahlin has played well, but is still getting used to North American ice and has to play for Buffalo, so he’s not getting much help. Brady Tkachuk looks promising but he’s in Ottawa and has also faced injury.
I probably would’ve given the honor to Carolina’s Warren Foegele (three goals, two assists), Anaheim’s Max Comtois (four goals, three assists), or Chicacgo’s Henri Jokiharju (seven assists and plays top line minutes alongside Duncan Keith).
This award doesn’t really mean much in the long run. I just like to make much ado about nothing. I have a sneaking suspicion that Petterson will win the Calder, but I feel like a rookie should have to play the entire month if he can win rookie of the month.
3. High Danger Reliance
The Predators have produced 99 high-danger chances at five-on-five, good for 14th in the entire NHL. All in all, 99 isn’t a bad number. The issue is where they’re coming from. Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg and Craig Smith have created 56 of the total. Kevin Fiala has created nine as well.
The Predators rely so heavily upon the JoFA Line and Smith to create quality scoring chances. That will bite them in the rear one day.
No one team can be driven by just a line. Just ask the Bruins.
4. Primary Scoring
Don’t look now, but Ryan Johansen is making a $64 million contract look like a steal. Last year, there were a few doubters and Johansen had a slow start, which didn’t exactly assure the fanbase, but let’s remember that he went through major surgery during the summer.
Well, all of that doubt is seemingly a thing of the past now.
Johansen is leading the team in points with 15, five-on-five points with 11, and primary points at five on five with 10. While Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson are certainly not slouches, Johansen has been the best Predator not playing in net.
5. Hat trick At Home
We’ll end this five thoughts on a somewhat happy note.
Patrik Laine was able to complete the hat trick in front of his entire family in his nation’s capital, Helsinki, Finland.
I can’t imagine there’s any better feeling than scoring in front of everyone who helped you get to where you are today. I genuienly hope that we all get to feel that kind of happiness one day.