The Nashville Predators have a very unique problem early on in this season: too much offense.
You see, the Predators have put up nearly 50 goals in 11 games. They’ve scored more than 4 goals in 7 games, and more than 5 goals in 5 games. They have 18 players with at least one point, and 17 players with at least one goal. And they lead the league in goals per game with 4.09.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is what to do with Kyle Turris when Filip Forsberg returns from injury.
With Forsberg out of the lineup since leaving the game against Vegas a couple weeks ago, Kyle Turris has stepped into the role of 2nd line center beautifully. Playing with Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund, Turris has three points in five games to go along with 12 shots on goal. His line has been arguably the most dangerous unit for the Preds, pressuring defenses with a nice balance of speed and skill.
But while the Turris-Duchene-Granlund line has been very good, they haven’t been quite as good as the Forsberg-Duchene-Granlund line has been. The Duchene line with Forsberg has put up nine goals at even strength, by far the most on the team so far, and when you dive deeper, they’ve been arguably one of the best lines in hockey.
Here’s a look at some of their underlying statistics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.
Generating far more shot attempts, far more scoring chances, and far more high danger chances is obviously very important for a forward line. And while those are actually great numbers on the right column, with Turris in the lineup, when you compare them to how filthy the line was with Forsberg? It’s no contest.
So let’s return to the “problem” as it were. When Filip Forsberg returns to the 2nd line (which could happen as early as Tuesday night against Chicago) where does Kyle Turris go?
You can’t exactly demote him, as he’s been playing so well to start the season. Moving a guy like Turris down in the lineup might set him back a few steps. Like many hockey players, Turris plays off of his own confidence level and being moved back down into the bottom six might affect his play on the ice.
But you can’t really move him “up” in the lineup either. Turris is a center and my hunch is that he doesn’t really want to play wing. Though taking Calle Jarnkrok’s spot at left wing along with Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson would make sense, I don’t think Turris wants to play wing, even if it’s with great skill players.
— Alex D-AHHH!-ugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) October 9, 2019
He’s a center and wants to stay there. He sees the ice differently from that position and doesn’t have to spend energy digging pucks out of the boards to make plays. He’s not comfortable in that role. Not wanting to play wing, where you are less comfortable, and instead wanting to play center, where you are more comfortable? It makes sense to me.
So I think the Preds might be stuck playing him down in the lineup. I imagine he will go back to manning the 3rd line with Rocco Grimaldi and maybe Craig Smith… two guys that like to forecheck and play aggressive on the boards.
The good news is that this is a very good problem to have for the Nashville Predators. If your biggest issue 11 games in is having too much offense, you know you are a good hockey team.
Get Them Digits
- 36 — that’s how many MORE shots on goal Roman Josi has (37) than fellow defenseman Matt Irwin (1).
- 11.7% — that’s the Preds current shooting percentage at 5 on 5, which is not only the highest percentage in the league, it’s also 1.7% higher than the next team (the New York Rangers at 10.0%).
- 12 — that’s the number of career points for Pekka Rinne. He collected his 12th point (on the power play!) against Florida on October 19th.
GIF Me That Good Stuff
Me forwarding an email to my boss about a subject that is clearly above my pay grade
— Alex D-AHHH!-ugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) October 25, 2019
Quote of the Week
“I though that they were not gonna get one by me, to be honest. I felt really good.”
– Pekka Rinne, after stopping 26 of 27 shots in a 6-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
Let’s Do That Hockey
- Tuesday October 29th vs Chicago Blackhawks (7:00 PM; FS-TN)
- Thursday October 31st vs. Calgary Flames (7:00 PM; FS-TN)
- Saturday November 2nd vs New York Rangers (1:00 PM; FS-TN)
There’s a new Predators podcast that you need to listen to! It’s hosted by yours truly and it’s the newest podcast in the A to Z Sports podcast network.
I’ve joined forces with Chris Link, long-time host and creator of the Predcast, to bring you the A to Z Sports’ Preds Nashcast. This biweekly podcast will cover the Nashville Predators, of course, but also hockey in general and its place in the culture of the south.
Here is episode one, all queued up and ready to go for you:
In this episode, Link and I talk about:
- the incredible offense we’ve seen so far
- the Kyle Turris “problem”
- an analysis of why the defense isn’t playing well
- our ideas to improve Nashville as a hockey town
- a stirring first edition of our segment called “The Dumbest Thing In Hockey Right Now”
Want to get episodes as soon as they release? Click here to go to the A to Z Sports iTunes page and subscribe to all of our great content, including the new Preds podcast.
This podcast will record every two weeks during the NHL season, with increasing regularity when we get closer to the playoffs. As long as the Nashville Predators are playing hockey, Link and I will be getting together every two weeks to discuss the team and everything that goes into Nashville being a hockey town.
— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —