With a little less than a month before Nashville Predators training camp begins, it’s time to start looking ahead to the 2019-20 season. We’ve already talked about the biggest games you won’t want to miss for next year. Now let’s look ahead at potential milestones we could see surpassed by guys like Pekka Rinne, Roman Josi and the rest.
Before we do that, a quick reset. Remember that next season will feature some important debuts and lineup changes. This includes the debut of new center Matt Duchene, who signed an eight year deal with Nashville back on July 1st. We will also likely to see Dante Fabbro take a larger role on the blueline since P.K. Subban was traded to the New Jersey Devils. Then there’s the question of whether Kyle Turris will still be around next year, though there has been no noise on that front for some time. It looks like Turris will be around, but with Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene at #1 and #2, where will Turris slot?
Then there’s this familiar question: will this be the year Juuse Saros takes more of a starting role in goal, since Pekka Rinne isn’t getting any younger? Only time will tell.
So, there’s a lot to anticipate with this season.
Since hockey is increasingly becoming a game of numbers, here are some interesting milestones Nashville Predators’ fans can look forward to celebrating this season. I broke these down into three categories:
- Count On It (these are sure to happen, it’s just a matter of when)
- Wouldn’t It Be Neat If (possible, but would take some effort)
- Shoot For The Moon (there’s probably no way, but if it happens they’ll be dancing in the streets)
Thanks to Hockey Reference for the help in compiling these stats.
Count On It
- Craig Smith scores his 300th career point. He only needs one more, he might get it done on opening night.
- Pekka Rinne wins his 350th career game. Only 22 goalies in NHL history have ever done this. He’s only 9 wins away from this milestone, so he should reach it before the new year.
- Pekka Rinne enters the NHL’s top 20 in career wins. To do this he has to pass Evgeni Nabokov at 353 wins, so these first two milestones should happen around the same time.
- Viktor Arvidsson scores his 200th career point. He’s only 14 points away. If he’s on a pace like last season, he might do it before November.
- Roman Josi scores his 100th goal. He needs seven more to accomplish this. He’s scored double digit goals every year for the last six seasons, so there’s no question he will get there, it’s just a matter of when.
- Filip Forsberg passes Martin Erat to reach 3rd all-time in career goals for Nashville. Forsberg needs only 19 goals to do this. While this milestone isn’t quite as guaranteed as the others in this category, he’s scored at least 20 goals every year for the last five seasons. Barring injury, he should get it done. And how fitting that he passes Erat to do it, too.
Wouldn’t It Be Neat If
- Roman Josi scores his 400th point. This would take at least a 52 point season from the Preds’ captain. He’s had four such seasons in the last six, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Considering he will get even more power play time with P.K. Subban in New Jersey, I’d say it probably happens. By the way, Roman Josi would join Shea Weber as the only other Preds’ defensemen with 400 points.
- Mattias Ekholm scores his 200th point. He needs 37 to do so. He had 44 last year, but only 34 and 23 the previous two seasons. He might struggle to do this without Subban as his partner, but he still has a chance.
- Juuse Saros makes his 100th NHL start. A lot of this depends on the workload and performance of Pekka Rinne. Should something go wrong with Rinne early on, this milestone should be easy for Saros. He needs 30 more starts to get there.
- Craig Smith notches his first ever 30 goal season. Ok, so this is less of a milestone and more of a prediction. It’s hard to believe that the Nashville Predators’ 5th leading scorer all time still has yet to crack the 30 goal mark in a season. If Smith plays a healthy number of minutes with Matt Duchene, I think it finally happens.
Shoot for the Moon
- Nick Bonino scores his 300th point. This would take a 52 point season by Bonino, which would also be a career high. The only way this happens is if injury forces Bonino into a top six role or he benefits from a breakout season by a bottom six winger, like Daniel Carr or Rocco Grimaldi.
- Dan Hamhuis scores his 400th point. He needs 52 points this season to get it done and he’s never even come close to that. He ain’t Roman Josi, so don’t hold your breath.
- Ryan Johansen scores his 500th point. This would take an unprecedented 94 point season from the Preds’ top center. Shattering multiple Nashville Predators single season records, most of which are owned by Paul Kariya, would be a sight to behold. And with potential 40 goal scorers in Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg on his wings, it’s not impossible. I wouldn’t put any money down on it happening though.
— Featured image via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports —