The Nashville Predators exceeded expectations in 2021-22 thanks mainly to the herculean efforts of defenseman Roman Josi and goaltender Juuse Saros. The team will have a more difficult time replicating last season, though the NHL odds are still bullish on its overall success.
Saros is expected to be fully recovered from the ankle injury that kept him out of the playoffs. The team is not taking chances, so it acquired Kevin Lankinen as a backup. The team also acquired winger Nino Niederreiter to bolster its depth.
But if Nashville is to maintain its pace, it will need the younger players to step up. We already saw Philip Tomasino begin to light it up last season. If others such as Eeli Tolvanen and Dante Fabbro can continue improving, the Predators will remain playoff fixtures.
Let’s check the latest NHL picks, stats, injury reports, and NHL predictions. We’ve plenty of NHL expert picks for you to consider.
Nashville Predators Odds
- To win Stanley Cup:
- To win Western Conference:
- To win Central Division:
- To make playoffs:
Player to Watch
All eyes were on Josi last season. The team’s captain and star defenseman put up 96 points as he did everything for Nashville. Riding shotgun beside him was Alexandre Carrier, who became underrated because of the gravity of Josi’s season. And to think Carrier was just a rookie. He was a longshot on the sportsbook’s Calder Trophy odds but was a standout, at least.
Nashville’s PDO was at its peak when Carrier was on the ice. He also finished just behind Josi in blocked shots (124) and defensive point shares (5.2). Maybe Carrier was just the benefactor of Josi’s impressive playmaking, which is why he’s the player to watch this season. If he can also improve on his shooting percentage (3.2%), he will have better than three goals.
- Player to Watch: D Alexandre Carrier
Tomasino was already breaking out last season. The 24th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft had 11 goals and 32 points in 76 games last season all while averaging 11 minutes, 32 seconds of ice time. Now, just imagine Tomasino on the top line or with a bit more ice time. He wowed in his limited opportunities with Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg.
The 21-year-old brings some much-needed scoring creativity for Nashville. He is slated to have a bigger role and will at least be on the second line while seeing minutes on the first power-play team. A 50-point season should be the baseline for Tomasino with a ceiling where he flirts with a point-per-game pace.
- Breakout Watch: F Philip Tomasino
The Predators have managed to hang around the playoff picture despite the significant turnovers in the past seasons. But now, Nashville enters the 2022-23 season without losing too much. Some may feel the team could regress. After all, Nashville saw most of its core overperform last season.
The team also finished atop the NHL in high-danger shooting percentage (23.05) and was a top-eight team in PDO. Either this is the makings of an elite team in the NHL or Nashville got a little bit luckier than other teams. It’s worth betting online on Nashville to have a bit of a dropoff.
Saros should maintain his Vezina-caliber play while Josi will be a force on both ends of the ice. Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg may not score 40-plus goals again, but the ascension of the young talent led by Tomasino should make up for some of it.