Where does Mike Fisher fit in the Nashville Predators lineup?

The big question coming out of today's trade for Mike Fisher, of course, is where he fits into the Nashville Predators lineup. Some people may look at his resume (50-point production, reputation for two-way play) and see another David Legwand, wondering where the big upgrade is here, but the fact is that the impact comes from which player Fisher replaces on the roster, not which guys he'll play with. Now, Fisher's addition allows the Preds to ice three lines with some offensive punch to them once again, which was the plan until Matthew Lombardi got hurt in Game Two.

Take a look after the jump for how things might shake out...

Down The Stretch: Shoring Up The Middle

Obviously right now, Fisher is needed to provide scoring punch at center. Here are the most recent lines the Preds have rolled with:

Wilson - Legwand - Hornqvist
Erat - Goc - Kostitsyn
Ward - Smithson - Halischuk
Sullivan - Spaling - Dumont

Nick Spaling has done his best work this year in more of a pure checking & PK role, so my first guess is that Matt Halischuk will get sent back to Milwaukee, so the shutdown line of Ward-Spaling-Smithson can be reassembled. With Erat-Goc-Kostitsyn a relatively productive line right now, I'd be surprised to see that broken up.

That, then, leaves four wingers (Colin Wilson, Patric Hornqvist, Steve Sullivan, J.P. Dumont) to be divided between David Legwand and Mike Fisher's lines. I'm guessing that due to his relative inexperience and defensive gaffes of late, it would make sense to keep Wilson alongside Legwand for now.

So my projections for Saturday night's lines?

Sullivan - Fisher - Hornqvist
Erat - Goc - Kostitsyn
Wilson - Legwand - Dumont
Ward - Spaling - Smithson

This gives Fisher a speedy, veteran guy in Sullivan and a dedicated shooter and crease-crasher in Hornqvist on either side. Obviously we'll all look ahead to Saturday night vs. Colorado to see how things line up for real, but until then, speculate on!

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