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The Final List: Here’s Who The Predators Should Protect

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This is 100% who should be on the Preds’ protection list.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

At 5 PM eastern today, the Predators, along with the rest of the NHL, will submit their protection lists to the NHL’s Central Registry.

If the Preds want to remain one of the top contenders for the Stanley Cup in the near future, they should protect eight skaters and here’s who should be on that list.

Filip Forsberg

Forsberg will likely be the all-time leading goal scorer for Nashville by the time his current contract is up. That’s not an exaggeration either. He only has to average about 24 goals per season over the next five years to pass David Legwand’s 210 goals.

So yeah, they’re gonna protect Fil.

Ryan Johansen

Even without a deal for the 2017-18 season in place, we know that one is coming. Joey is the true top center that the Preds have been hungry for over the last 20 years. Kate broke down exactly why in this excellent piece on Thursday, so go check it out.

With Johansen on the verge of signing perhaps a very long term deal with Nashville in the next few weeks, it only makes sense that the Preds protect him.

Viktor Arvidsson

Same thing goes for Viktor. Though he is an RFA awaiting an offer, there is no way that Arvy isn’t back for the 2017-18 season. David Poile would have a legit mutiny on his hands if he isn’t.

Arvy finished 4th in the league in shot attempts generated per sixty minutes among regular starters at 67.8, behind “the best line in hockey” over in Boston. The guy makes chaos happen in the offensive zone and he is probably the most entertaining part of the JOFA line.

So Arvy stays.

James Neal

Yep, this is what they need to do. If you want to see the Preds competing for the Cup next year—and maybe the year after, if James wants to stick around—they need to keep Nealer.

Over nearly the last decade, Neal has consistently been one of the 25 best shooters in the game. Again, this is not embellishment, this is fact.

That’s all skaters who have at least 1500 shots since 2008. You don’t get on that list unless you can consistently put the puck in the net.

And for $5 million? That’s a great deal.

So, I hear you, Calle Jarnkrok fans... Jarny is a great asset and a hell of a nice cap hit. But the Preds cannot consider themselves a top contender for the Cup if they don’t have a consistently dangerous shooter on their team. They can contend for the Cup if they are missing a depth two-way forward.

P.K. Subban/Mattias Ekholm/Roman Josi/Ryan Ellis

Since they are going the eight skater route, this part is easy.

The numbers speak for themselves. All four are under 27 years old. They combined for 150 points during this past regular season, 24% of the Predators offense. They cost just over $19 million total. And even though Subban makes up $9 million of that, if you consider them each $5 million blueliners, that is a heist.

You don’t build the most dangerous top four in hockey and then leave them exposed. So these guys will be on board next year.

Pekka Rinne

ICYMI, Juuse Saros is exempt.