The winner of this off-season for the Nashville Predators has to be its PR department. Not a week has gone by without some type of Predators news, which has kept fans consistently talking about the team all summer long.
After its greatest success as an organization, the Predators have kept the momentum rolling from the expansion and entry drafts to free agency and resigning core players. Even the Fisher retirement was handled smoothly.
Cheers to the PR department for giving the fans an enjoyable off-season.
Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis are fantastic hockey players. Both have a tremendous skill set that vaulted them into recognition throughout the league. But let us not pretend that this duo is not without fault. Last postseason the duo was on the ice for countless goals and chances against which led me to dig a little deeper into the data.
On the surface, this duo clearly can create shot attempts (59.7 Corsi For per sixty) but also give them up (58.9 Corsi For per sixty). It is without each other that we see Josi stand out from the duo. He creates shot attempts at an absurd 69.5 Corsi For per sixty minutes and allows less chances at a 49.4 Corsi Allowed per sixty minutes. Ellis sees all his numbers take a dive, except for goals allowed per sixty.
So it is safe to assume Josi played better than Ellis last year right? Well, maybe, but lets go further back and see what type of seasons the two have put up before partnering with each other.
Finally we can start to paint a better picture about last years results when looking at the last 4 seasons. They tell a very different story than the 16/17 results.
Josi had his best season ever as far as creating chances this past year while playing with Ellis. But what is interesting is his chances against actually lowered. This is crazy to think because Josi’s former partner, Shea Weber, was lauded as a top notch defender. So who is responsible?
The second major finding is how much drop off their is for Ryan Ellis in chances given up against (CA60) and how he was a positive possession player away from Josi for the last three years before the 16/17 campaign.
This could tell us a few things.
- Josi, who constantly pushes play on offense, is leading Ellis to defend more on counter attacks and therefore falling victim to more opponent chances (CA).
- Ellis’ partner for the previous three seasons, Ekholm, is a lock down defender who limits opponents chances.
Most likely it is a mixture of the two, but I think there is a lot of truth to the first point. And to illustrate this think back to Game 2 of the SCF.
Here we see Josi make a dangerous attempt to swat in a loose puck off the face off. The puck redirects off Ron Hainsey, and falls right onto the stick of Bryan Rust who breaks in for a shot on goal. Pekka Rinne gives up a juicy rebound to Jake Guentzel who taps it home.
This is the type of stress put on Ellis who was left in no man’s land. Josi takes dangerous, aggressive attempts on the puck and Ellis is left to play clean up.
In conclusion we find that while Ellis’s season on the surface is not that strong, the bigger picture shows that Josi is putting the pressure on him to deal with opponents more often. Josi has always been a stronger in creating chances, but that comes with more chances against.
Maybe—just maybe—the Alexei Emelin pick up was to break up this duo, allowing Ellis to get back to what he does best: create with the puck.
Conclusion: Laviolette would benefit from experimenting with a split up of Josi and Ellis
I have to believe that David Poile expected Mike Fisher back for at least one more year. Like any good GM does, he secured the roster in case Fisher did not return by signing Nick Bonino, but I am certain he was confident in the captain’s return.
Think about it. Fisher had another excellent campaign, the team comes back perhaps even stronger, and Fisher could take on a lesser role while still being the leader of the team. It all makes sense for a return.
It has to sting a bit for Poile, and you wonder if his decision, if known sooner, would have changed anything.
Regardless we are here now, and Poile has around $5.43 million in space left heading into the season. With leaders like Fisher and Neal gone, and still a need for goals, why not go after Jaromir Jagr?
Prediction: With extra cash Poile makes a move around December
The Colorado Avalanche are going to be at least twenty points better than last season. Mark my words.
But that still means they would have finished as the worst team in the league. Put that into perspective and you see just how bad they were last year.
I imagine a much better year is coming. Regardless of whether Duchene stays or goes, the Avs still have a plethora of young talent and last year’s snowball can be explained by two main factors.
The first was when Head Coach Patrick Roy left the team right before training camp, leaving them to scramble to find an under qualified Jared Bednar to lead the team.
The second major issue was starting goalie Semyon Varlamov’s hip. It bothered him all season until they shut him down in January.
Make no mistake, this team is still loaded with young talent.
Nathan Mackinnon is a superstar at only 20 years old that should get back into 70 point territory this season.
Captain Gabriel Landeskog can still be a force as a power forward and they really need a bounce back from him. Mikko Rantanen is an upcoming winger who showed promise after posting a 20 goal effort in his first real season.
Tyson Jost is set to be with the team full time this season, and is a potential breakout candidate.
Tyson Barrie is a Ryan Ellis type of defender who is under appreciated, while a healthy season from number one defender Erik Johnson will go a long way to improving the record.
Which team in the NHL would not suffer if their number one goalie and defender were lost for more than 75 games?
The bottom line is this team still has talent, and should see improvement this season.
Verdict: Av’s have no choice but to trend up
Its Poll Time!
With $5.43 million in cap space what would you do?
This poll is closed
Sign a Vet FA (Jagr, Vanek, etc)
Make a trade for a high priced player (Duchene, etc)
Stash the cash
Who will be the worst team in 2017-2018?
This poll is closed
Vegas Golden Knights
Detroit Red Wings