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Five-Hole Friday: Intangibles

The word of the week is “intangibles.”

NHL: Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Calle Järnkrok

Calle “Ironhook” Järnkrok scored the only goal against the Stars last Saturday. He added another on Tuesday night against the Coyotes. He has ten goals this season, chasing his career high 16 goals from last season.

Järnkrok is a versatile multi-tool-esque player. He can play up and down the lineup, similar to Colton Sissons. He had a 4-game assist streak in early January. We’ve seen some serious chemistry between Järnkrok, Sissons, and Ryan Hartman. Once Kyle Turris returned on Thursday, Järnkrok was mixed into the bottom-6 after a line shuffle.

Järnkrok’s goal Tuesday was beautiful in multiple areas. Roman Josi’s chip pass to Sissons threw off the Coyote defender, but Järnkrok’s bar-down shot almost looks like it won’t happen. Järnkrok ensured he roofed it over a sliding Calvin Pickard. Neither Sissons nor Järnkrok were skating particularly fast, but it was an opportunity to bury the puck that they refused to miss.

Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are my pick for one of the two teams in the Eastern Conference Final. After an up-and-down beginning to the season, it appears that the Canadiens are finally rounding into form. They sit in third place in the Atlantic.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Jesperi Kotkaniemi. He’s now scored in three straight contests, gaining confidence as he keeps playing incredible hockey for Montreal. Brendan Gallagher and Max Domi are other reasons the Habs are winning games. They decimated the Ducks on Tuesday.

They have an incredibly talented Carey Price in net. Also, hi Shea Weber. They’re still on the hunt for a left-handed defender, so be sure to keep an eye on what the Habs do around the trade deadline.

Montreal just snuck into the Top 10 of this week’s edition of the NHL’s Super Sixteen rankings.

A Montreal-Nashville Stanley Cup Final would be the thing of hockey dreams. Will it happen? Maybe.

Brian Boyle

Nashville made a splash on Wednesday when they acquired Brian Boyle from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a second round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Boyle is a veteran presence with a huge body (he’s a foot taller than Rocco Grimaldi!).

This acquisition makes a ton of sense for Nashville. Boyle’s size can be effectively used on the power play, and it’s no secret that Nashville’s power play is a small disaster. Six of Boyle’s 13 goals this season have come on the power play. How Coach Laviolette uses him will likely evolve a little as the team gets ready for the playoffs.

Boyle has played center and wing in his career. He’s played for the Devils, the Lightning, the Maple Leafs, the Rangers, and the Kings.

My favorite memory of Brian Boyle came just last season. After being traded by Tampa Bay to New Jersey at the beginning of last season, Boyle was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in September. He missed the first month of hockey, but returned to the lineup November 1, 2017. Boyle scored on Hockey Fights Cancer night, showing some serious emotion as he celebrated.

It’s evident Boyle was beloved as a Devil, and Nashville is getting an incredible player. I look forward to seeing a bunch of Boyle in gold.

More Trades?

The Predators also re-acquired Cody McLeod from the New York Rangers on Wednesday. The Rangers received Nashville’s 7th round pick in the 2020 Draft.

GM David Poile was appropriately vague when asked whether Nashville was done making trades in his interview on Wednesday. He suggested that if a trade could be completed that made sense for both teams, he would do it. I believe that Poile is looking for that “final” piece, but I also believe that Poile is unwilling to part with Nashville’s few big-name prospects.

There’s no use in predicting what Poile will do, but it’s always fun to imagine a Nashville team with a sniper like Artemi Panarin . Many “big name” players will be very pricey and their next contracts will be very steep. I don’t expect Poile to jump for players at the top of the trade board. He’ll be waiting for when the piece and price are right.

It’s very likely, however, that whoever Poile might acquire would be re-signed for some length in Nashville.

If you missed it, OTF offered some perspective on Wednesday’s trades here and here. These pieces were written by some of our incredibly talented contributors and they offer some additional thoughts on Nashville’s direction for the playoffs and how GM David Poile plans to help the team succeed.

SEC Hockey

The SEC Hockey tournament is going on today, Saturday, and Sunday at Ford Ice Center. Bobby previewed it here.

NWHL All-Star Weekend

This weekend, Nashville plays host to the NWHL All-Star Game. The Skills competition is held at Ford Ice Center on Saturday. Various All-Stars will host a girls-only hockey clinic after the competition. The Skills Competition is at 5:00 Central and it’s sold out.

Sunday, however, is when the real fun happens. Our counterparts at The Ice Garden have put out a quick introduction to the All Star skaters coming to Nashville. Be sure to check it out!

The Predators play the Blues at 11:30 on Sunday morning. Yay for brunch hockey! All attendees at the Preds-Blues game will be able to stay for the NWHL All-Star Game. Puck drop for the All-Star game will be around 2:45 Central.

Tickets for the All-Star Game are only $20. Bring your friends, your kids, your neighbors, your friends from church, your favorite bloggers, your co-workers...bring everyone! I’m very hopeful that Nashville fans will give the NWHL All-Stars a great welcome at Bridgestone Arena.

I know I’ll be picking up some shirseys and NWHL All-Star gear at the game. The growth of hockey in Middle Tennessee has been exponential...and the growth of girls’ hockey across North America has been fantastic to see. These All-Stars deserve a packed arena and Smashville can give them one heck of an afternoon!

Former Predators Chris Mason and Hal Gill are serving as honorary coaches for the game.

For those of you who can’t make it to the game, it will be streamed on Twitter.

Hockey is for Everyone

The American Legacy Black Hockey Tour, a mobile museum, will be at Ford Ice Center on Saturday and at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. The museum celebrates minority hockey players, officials, broadcasters, and Stanley Cup Champions.

Sunday’s Predators game against St. Louis is the annual AMEND game. AMEND is an organization that is dedicated to ending domestic violence.

Kyle Turris is Nashville’s Hockey is for Everyone ambassador.

It’s a big weekend for hockey in Smashville. Look for updates from OTF as the weekend kicks off!