Welcome back to the mailbag!
Once a week we will throw out a chance for you to ask some Preds and NHL related questions to the crew, who will then provide their best answers. Feel free to submit questions to us at any time via Twitter, Facebook, or comments on the site.
This week we face questions on the reign of JOFA, some insight on how the new power play might shape out, and a question reaching past the hockey world and into the realm of astrology. (gasp!)
From ThunderKiwi, “Does the Prince of Smashville figure out his early season inconsistencies and take his game to another level? (Also: what's the best month of the year and why is it Fil-bruary)”
Hayley: The idea that Forsberg gets to return to linemates he knows and is excited to continue playing with is a great start. He knows how to work with them and as long as they can maintain the magic of last season, I don't see any reason why Fil doesn't come out swinging this season. The Preds do tend to play better in February. Do or die time will do that to a team.
Carson: As talented and mature as he is, Forsberg is still relatively new to the league. Because of this, I think every year he plays in it he will improve his consistency, especially after playing for over 8 months straight last year. In regards to the bonus, Filbruary has the Super Bowl, good weather in most places, Valentines Day, and also the standard amazement of Mr. Forsberg. What other month could even compare?
Kate: I think that with the center depth set we should see a much more consistent(ly good) season from Forsberg.
The best month of the year is Filbruary because, as great as the potential of September is, it doesn't beat the actual excitement of Filbruary.
Alex: Filip Forsberg has had a very incredible, very strange career so far. His rookie year, he exploded right out of the gate, scoring 35 points in his first 36 games, but then faded late in the year and wasn’t even a finalist for the Calder. Then in the last two seasons, his October/November numbers have been terrible—he’s scored five goals combined in the first two months of the last two seasons—but those numbers rocketed skyward with some incredible play late in the season.
I don’t know what it takes to be considered a streaky scorer, but Forsberg might just be the test case.
From Trajan17, “Which Predator would have the greatest mental strength to be able to cope with complete darkness during the day for a period of, say, 2 minutes and 40 seconds?”
Hayley: I'm going with Ryan Ellis, I feel like he has advanced survival skills and could take charge to keep others calm. I also trust he'd take the necessary precautions to protect his eyes and not stare directly into the sun! He'd also probably be extra prepared and have a couple of extra pairs of glasses for anyone who didn't.
Carson: I’d have to pick Mr. Josi. His I.Q. would keep him from looking at the sun directly, but even if he did, I can’t be convinced that his killer stare wouldn’t inflict retina damage on the sun instead.
Kate: I'm going to go with Rinne. As a goalie, he's probably seen weirder.
What will it take for Freddie G to have a full time roster spot?— Ryan (@Dunlap) August 21, 2017
Haley: Freddy G had a monstrous breakout moment with the playoffs. I don't think he could have asked for a better coming out party. If he can continue that momentum he'll get a spot in no time. He just needs to prove he's consistent and his performance wasn't playoff hype and adrenaline. When they think he's ready they'll make the call.
Carson: People may be inclined to see Gaudreaus’ playoff performance as more than what it really is, due to the magnitude of the situation. For me though, I’m holding judgement until we see how he can take what he learned this past season and make himself a better player. For now though, it would take a monstrous AHL season or a few injuries to get him into Nashville.
Kate: If he finds a new level offensively in Milwaukee, or if Sissons disappoints, he might get called up for that fourth line. I think he'll have to earn anything higher with NHL play.
Alex: The Predators would need to lose a veteran center, an underappreciated winger, and an elite goal scorer over the summer. You know, to free up the log jam of forwards. Also, they would have to do very little to replace all that they lost.
What’s that you say? They did all that?
Oh, then Freddy will probably be a starter from day one.
From @AustinTobak, “Will Lavy breakup JOFA if they get off to a slow start”?
Hayley: JOFA has the makings to be one of the greatest forward lines in Preds' history. That being said, I think their longevity depends on the circumstances. If it's a mess and they aren't functioning well together Lavy might move them around. However Lavy isn't always quick to tinker with lines so if they experience a lull it would probably have to be in the form of a flaming dumpster fire before he finally pulled the plug.
Carson: Probably, yes. Lavy has been known to not be afraid to throw out some bizarre lines and see how they work, and I don’t think one of the best lines the team has ever seen is immune from that.
Kate: Yes. The Wilson-Fisher-Neal line (RIP) got three games together at the start of 2016 and then were split up when they weren't working. I think the same will be true of JOFA. Lavy was even more flexible with his lines at the start of 2015, but he didn't have such a memorable line to start with that time.
Alex: You know what? I bet they aren’t together on opening night. Would it be so surprising? Laviolette does this constantly. He split up Forsberg and Ribeiro, Fisher and Neal, Subban and Josi, Fiala and Nashville... and those all worked out in the end. I love watching the JOFA line, believe me, but when I look at how much the offensive attack drops off after the top line, there’s an argument for splitting them up.
What do you think changes with our PP strategy with the new coach?— SmashvilleVol (@dhvol) August 21, 2017
Hayley: Everything and nothing. The PP might have been painful to watch at times, but the idea behind their strategy made sense, the execution was where they failed. I've seen dogs chase their own tails with more enthusiasm than the Preds showed on the PP. I'm hoping to see more speed and aggression when driving towards the net and a lot less passing around and letting the other team set-up shop in the shooting lanes. Any combination of speedy shots and net traffic will make a world of difference.
Carson: The main thing I would expect is more net presensce, and less reliance on the blue line. A good portion of our man advantages revolve around the D-men playing catch at the line and waiting for a chance to fire a cannon. I don’t think we need to completely eliminate this strategy, but we certainly could take it down a few notches. And with less time on the blue line, there becomes more time in higher danger zones, which should be the goal of any man advantage.
Kate: Hopefully less reliance on the defensemen to drive the offense from the point.
2. Bring the damn puck into the zone already. Zone entries are important. Make them better.
3. No more two defense nonsense. Give me Josi or Subban along with Joey, Forsberg, Arvidsson, and Hartnell. The 2nd unit can have the other defenseman plus Smith, Fiala, Jarnkrok, and... uh... Bonino? Forsberg again?
5. Who is coaching the power play again?
6. Shoot, again.
7. Yell at whoever is not shooting.