People may not know this about me, but I love themes. I love the idea of committing to some single idea and making an entire day or idea about it. Except for theme weddings… Don’t know why but I’ll happily pass on those. Still, themes are one of my favorite things.
My tangents aside, I genuinely love themes so let’s apply that to this week’s Five Thoughts. The theme will be, “all I want for Christmas is…”. To make this a little bit easier, I’ll use the acronym AIWFCI.
1.AIWFCI A Healthy Subban
I know this one is kind of cheating as P.K. Subban played his first game back from injury on Thursday night against the Dallas Stars. It was his first game back in just under 20 games and he couldn’t have returned at a better moment.
Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis were tasked with handling Subban’s competition when he went down with injury, and the result was less than impressive.
Subban is the most important skater to the Nashville Predators, and his continued health is key to the Predators making another deep run.
2. AIWFCI A New Right Handed Defenseman
Speaking of defensemen… losing Subban exposed more than Ellis and Josi. Yannick Weber, now on the injured reserve, was quite bad in just about every role he was thrust into over the past month or so.
A new right handed defenseman could be the perfect partner for Dan Hamhuis on the third pair. The Los Angeles Kings have two that I’m interested in. Alec Martinez or Jake Muzzin could be another excellent veteran prescence who wouldn’t weigh on the Predators’ cap situation for longer than a few months.
I’ll have more about this in an article coming up in a few days.
3. AIWFCI A New Powerplay
I don’t think it’s too hot of a take to say that the Predators have a terrible powerplay. I’m not suggesting that someone be fired, but some new blood might be nice.
Maybe it’s time to turn to the analytics department, or maybe even just a single writer. Ryan Stimson of the Athletic Buffalo just wrote a fantastic book titled, “Tape To Space: Redefining Modern Hockey Tactics”, where he goes into great depth about power play systems.
Stimson has been banging the drum for a behind the net set up for years now, and it could do wonders with Ryan Johansen dishing passes and the defense stepping up at seemingly random intervals.
The book is only 25 dollars, without shipping. If anyone in the Predators organization would like this book but doesn’t want to pay the high, high price, shoot me a DM. I’ll buy it for you. Hell, if it means the powerplay could change, I’ll read the book to you before bed time and even tuck you in!
4. AIWFCI An Eeli Tolvanen Domination
Eeli Tolvanen came into the season with some lofty and unreasonable expectations, so I was happy when he was sent away to Milwaukee. The Admirals are good at developing talent and Wisconsin is just far away enough that Tolvanen could grow without the pressure and judgement of fans.
The Predators management has been smart with their prized prospect and they continue to do right by him by sending him to the World Junior Championships. The best of under-20 players are playing for glory and country in British Columbia at the moment, and Tolvanen is probably in the top five, in terms of expectations.
His first game against the Swedish was not a good one, as Tolvanen looked completely neutralized by the excellent Swedish defense, but there’s plenty of tournament left to play.
I don’t really care about his games against some of the lesser countries, I really just want to see how he performs against the United States on New Year’s Eve.
The Predators have been playing a very dull brand of hockey. They don’t give up many opportunities but they don’t produce that many either. Sure, it wins games and keeps them above .500, but it can be tough to watch.
Trap hockey sucks and must be rejected every time it shows its vile face. I hope that as more players return from injury, the Predators return to the light and play a more up-tempo style of play.