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Five-Hole Friday: Christmas Snipes

It hasn’t been a great week for Nashville, but there’s some good things to discuss.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

In this week’s edition of Five-Hole Friday, we take a look at Preds prospects, recalls from Milwaukee, and the World Juniors. It’s been a rough week to be a Nashville fan, so here’s some more positive things.

Kevin Fiala

This kind of play by Kevin Fiala is what we need to see from the kid.

On a broken-up zone entry, Ryan Johansen manages to chip the puck to a streaking Fiala. He puts the puck home and Cam Ward hardly saw it.

There’s been a bit of talk about Fiala’s slow start. While he hasn’t stepped up to be an offensive juggernaut in the absence of Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, Fiala has 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists) in 35 games. He’s been a middling winger and for a lot of us, that’s not enough.

Whether it’s the result of injury-line-shuffling or a lack of confidence, Fiala hasn’t been able to find his scoring touch from last season. What will it take to get Kevin Fiala going?

Tyler Gaudet

The Predators recalled Tyler Gaudet before the Philadelphia game Thursday. Eric has mentioned Gaudet plenty in his Milwaukee Musings updates.

The Arizona Coyotes signed Gaudet, originally undrafted, to an entry-level deal in November 2013. Gaudet was traded with John Ramage to the Milwaukee Admirals in February 2018 in exchange for Trevor Murphy and Pierre-Cedric Labrie. He’s played in 20 NHL games.

He has 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in 27 games with the Admirals this season. Gaudet is always ready to make the smart play. He his able to drive play and dishes some sweet feeds to his linemates. Gaudet played on the top line against Rockford on Wednesday evening. Check out some of Eric’s notes on Gaudet here.

Rem Pitlick

The Nashville Predators selected Rem Pitlick in Round 3 of the 2016 NHL Draft (76th overall). The youngster has played for the University of Minnesota (NCAA) for the last three seasons, putting up some solid numbers. He had 31 points last season (12 goals, 19 assists) and is off to a rocking start this season. He has 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) in 15 games.

Pitlick is leading the way for his young team. He told the Minnesota Daily that he tries to “lead by example.”

Eric wrote about Pitlick in November’s Prospects Report here. Last season, he played on the same line as Casey Middlestadt of the Buffalo Sabres. Keep an eye on Pitlick. The Preds might try to sign him to an entry-level deal after his junior season with Minnesota is over.

Eeli Tolvanen Going to World Juniors

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The 2019 IIHF World Juniors will be played December 26th-January 5th in Vancouver. A ton of games will be broadcast on NBC Sports.

Eeli Tolvanen was loaned to the Finnish team on Thursday morning. This is excellent news for the young sniper. Check out Bobby’s thoughts on Tolvanen’s play with the Finnish team here. I’d expect young Tolvanen to take on a leadership role with the team. He played in the World Juniors last winter and also participated in the 2018 Olympics.

Tolvanen will be on a team with some highly talented NHL prospects, including Kaapo Kakko. Henri Jokiharju of the Chicago Blackhawks was also loaned to the Finnish squad. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see how the Finns fare against the powerhouse Canadian and U.S. teams.

Team Finland faces off against Team Sweden in the opening day of the tournament on December 26th.

Hartsy and Gritty

Before Thursday’s game in Philadelphia, the Flyers released a few videos of former Predator (and former Flyer) Scott Hartnell meeting and hanging out with their terrifying orange mascot, Gritty. The videos were pretty awesome. It’s entirely possible that Gritty and Hartnell just became best friends.

Gritty is running around destroying ice-skating Santas, however. I guess Philly needs a little Christmas cheer....or a little year-round cheer.

Also, many congratulations are due to Scott Hartnell on his incredible NHL career.

Goal Songs for Players

I wanted to weigh in on this conversation that’s been circulating Twitter recently. Should players have their own personal goal song? I’ve always been a fan of “I Like It, I Love it” and the slightly newer “Gold On The Ceiling” after the Preds score.

What would an unique goal song look like for Ryan Johansen? For P.K. Subban? What about a song for Frederick Gaudreau? I did a few below. Feel free to add some in the comments section.

Subban: “On to the Next One”

Johansen: “Hey Man, Nice Shot”

Eeli Tolvanen: “Smooth”

Nick Bonino: “When I Come Around”

Miikka Salomäki: “At Last”