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).
We’ve finally entered the part of our rankings where NHL regulars in Nashville are the topic. There isn’t much to project with many of these players, most of whom have found their niche on an NHL roster. Sissons is no different. He’s cemented himself as Nashville’s fourth-line center and is playing for a shiny new contract this season.
By The Numbers
Sissons had a career year in 2017-18. He played in all but one regular season game and posted nine goals and nearly 30 points in his second full season as a Predator. As mentioned above, Sissons has largely cemented himself as the team’s fourth-line center.
Per Domenic Galamini Jr. (@MimicoHero), Sissons primary points per sixty minutes (at even strength) is above-average for a fourth-line center in the NHL.
Last year was Sissons’ best defensive season to date as the team allowed 2.5 less shots per sixty minutes than average. However, he still struggled to be an impactful offensive shot producer. Much of the reason for that, I suspect, was his linemates.
Sissons was 10th among Nashville forwards last season with a 50.51% Corsi-For. He was on the lower end when it came to relative corsi-for as the team allowed a little more than one more shot-against while he was on the ice.
In terms of offensive production, most of the bottom half of the roster was bleak. Sissons recorded a -10.82 relative goals-for percentage, but his most frequent line mates —Salomaki, Watson, McLeod, and Fisher — recorded -21.08%, -17.38%, -18.84%, and -16.77%, respectively. More skilled players like Freddy Gaudreau and Ryan Hartman showed more promise when driving shots towards the net.
Here we see Sissons on the penalty kill. He does an excellent job of staying between the side of the ice where the puck is being passed and the back-door shooter. At times he may bunch of a bit close, but he reads the play well and is able to apply slight pressure to the shooter.
In the clip above, Sissons applies a decent forecheck in the midst of a partial line change. He helps create a turnover early in the neutral zone and gives an extremely well-placed shot on net that’s open for a rebound.
Here, Sissons gives a good read on an offensive zone turnover and quickly turns back up ice. A general annoyance on the back-check is skating back to take up space and not necessarily a passing lane or player. We see that from Sissons here but the play falls apart nonetheless.
Sissons is entering the final year of his second professional contract that will see him make $650K this season with a $625K cap hit. He will be a restricted free agent next summer.
I think Sissons is rather close to his ceiling. I am not as high on his mobility up the lineup as others but seem him as a perfect option for the fourth line. I can see a double-digit goal season on the horizon, but I think he will hover around 30 points for his career.