It’s time for our annual countdown of the best 25 Nashville Predators players under 25 years old!
This is not only a tradition here at OTF, but is also something that you might see at many other SBNation NHL blogs. The premise is simple: rank the 25 best players who have not yet reached their 25th birthday (as of August 1st, 2018).
At #24, newcomer Carl Persson.
One of the newest forwards in the organization, Persson will look to make a strong impact to a new-look Admirals forward group in 2018-19. After his only full season in Sweden’s top league in 2017-18, the question at hand is how Persson’s impressive rookie performance will translate to the North American game.
Much of this signing comes with uncertainty, but it can be easy to see why Persson made this list: he’s an exciting talent and an elite offensive finisher.
By The Numbers
I am struggling to find any public visualization projects for SHL statistics, so the profile above is from Persson’s 2016-17 in the Allsvenskan. I’ll do my best to translate it.
In terms of shot metrics, Persson’s Corsi-For & high-danger scoring chances-for percentages are at first-line levels. His shot totals and distribution tendencies dip a bit to a second-line level. As a whole, these metrics were very similar to Victor Ejdsell (who played on the same team that year).
Something that stands out to me is his quality-of-competition where he primarily played against middle-six forwards but absolutely shattered his expected goals-for projections (74% to 56%).
For what it’s worth, BIK Karlskoga wasn’t particularly dominant that season but had a solid 51.34% Corsi-For.
You’ll notice Persson’s low shooting numbers are the biggest knock on his production. Him and Ejdsell compared well in Karlskoga, but the next season Ejdsell scored 0.68 points-per-game and Persson only managed 0.46. So, what’s the difference? For one, Karlskrona was a relegation team in 2017-18 whereas HV71 was a playoff team, but I imagine Persson could have stood to shoot more.
The only statistical comparison for Persson’s game in the AHL could be Ejdsell’s small sample size this past season. He posted one point in a handful of games at the end of the regular season but exploded for a point-per-game performance for Rockford in the playoffs.
I don’t expect that production from Persson this season, but using Rob Vollman’s latest NHL translation factors, I’m predicting a 0.55 to 0.65 points-per-game performance from Persson this season.
In my breakdown of Persson’s signing earlier this year, I used a lot of footage from his 2016-17 season. I did my best to provide tape from this past season below:
In the clip above, Persson (#95 in white) does good at finding open ice in the neutral and offensive zones. He threads an impressive pass across the zone that leads to a nice, tap-in goal.
Persson is lined up as a winger in the defensive zone above. Although he himself is in decent position, he has an opportunity to pick up the third forward and cover for his centerman but his lackluster effort leads to a goal-against.
Above is one of my favorite highlights of Persson. He installs a really solid forecheck that creates chaos and turnovers, buys time for more forward support and ultimately cashes in with a very nice finish.
Persson is starting a two-year, waivers-exempt contract this season with a cap hit of $725K each season, and an AHL salary of $55K per season. He will be a restricted free agent upon expiry.
As mentioned above, there are many unknowns about Persson going into this season. I think he projects as a dependable middle six winger in a few years.