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Five-Hole Friday: Entry-Level Deal Season

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The Preds have an upcoming road trip and look to sign a few NCAA prospects in a few weeks.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a weird week for the Preds with three days off between the Minnesota game on Tuesday and the Carolina game on Saturday.

West Coast Road Trip

The upcoming West Coast road trip should be a nice test for the Predators. We should look for a few things:

  1. Aggressive. It’s often lamented by the players and Twitter when the Predators play “down” to an opponent. Why can’t the Predators blow out weak opponents? That brings us to next week’s road trip. There’s no love lost between the Ducks and the Preds, and even with Anaheim out of the playoff picture, they’ll be a test for a Nashville squad that has sometimes struggled with beating opponents that they should have handily defeated.
  2. Finnish swagger. Pekka Rinne getting some swagger back. The elder Finnish netminder has looked like a vulnerable human in his last few starts for Nashville.
  3. More line blending. Where does Mikael Granlund best fit on the roster? He’s seen time with Calle Järnkrok, Craig Smith, and Colton Sissons. Once Coach Laviolette finds a line he likes, expect him to expose that line to various situations in order to prepare for the playoffs.
  4. San Jose. San Jose is in the playoff hunt in the Pacific Division. Even with Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson injured, the Sharks have been moving right along in 2019. The game against the Sharks is over a week away, but it’ll be a good measuring stick for Nashville.

NCAA Newbies

GM David Poile expressed some thoughts on 102.5 The Game on Wednesday about prospects Dante Fabbro and Rem Pitlick. We’ve lauded the accomplishments of Pitlick this season here at OTF.

Fabbro has played 33 games for Boston University this season. The junior defender has scored 30 points (7 goals, 33 assists). Check out this slick power play goal from Fabbro:

Forward Rem Pitlick has generated a lot of noise this season. He’s skated in 35 games for the University of Minnesota this season, posting 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists). 3 of those goals are shorthanded. He would most certainly be a key member of next season’s Milwaukee Admirals. His speed and hands are evident in this shorthanded goal against Arizona State last weekend:

Pitlick already looks good with a mostly gold uniform, too.

NHL GMs Meeting

31 NHL GMs met in Florida earlier this week to discuss some changes that could be implemented League-wide. Here’s some of the proposed ideas:

One proposal that was endorsed by the GMs was the addition of time clocks in two corners of the sideboards. This prevents players from having to look up at the scoreboard. Corner clocks were used in this season’s outdoor games and in a few exhibition contests.

GMs would also like to see a player be required to get off the ice as quickly as possible after losing their helmet. I don’t know about you, but I freak out a bit when a player skates around for a while without a helmet, even going into corners for a puck. Yikes.

A final awesome proposal would allow a team on the power play to choose which face-off circle to utilize. This would allow a team to take a face-off on a goalie’s weaker side to potentially increase their chances of scoring. Nashville probably needs all the help they can get when it comes to power plays, so this rule would be pretty neat.

With the 2021 Expansion Draft looming on the horizon, it’s been made very clear that Vegas will be exempt. Although some might view this as a bit unfair, it definitely will require the other 30 teams to plan well in advance of the draft.

Predators Save of the Week

This week’s save comes from Juuse “Little Bear” Saros. He made an incredible save at point-blank range on Joel Eriksson Ek with his outstretched pad and managed to slide to the other post to deny Pontus Åberg a rebound attempt. Saros uses his edges to move from post to post in to calmly deny both shot attempts. He’s not making either of these saves in desperation.

Holy Juuse!