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What is Nashville’s Biggest Roster Concern?

Nashville’s roster is weird, and we’ve established that. What’s the worst part?

Carolina Hurricanes v Nashville Predators Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

The list of “issues with Nashville’s roster” is rather long. We’d probably do better listing the non-issues. I’ve identified some non-issues here:

  1. Juuse Saros
  2. Roman Josi
  3. Mattias Ekholm
  4. Gnash

However, the issues on this team are many. Most of these issues are actually questions. For instance, how will Cody Glass look on a new team with different linemates? Will Eeli Tolvanen take the next step and establish himself as a scoring winger? What about Phil Myers?

Nashville’s roster is a weird mix of youth, veterans, experienced players, international stars, and supplementary players. We’re in a “reset,” not a “rebuild.”

We really aren’t going to know what we get until they hit the ice next month. With this “unknown” as an established fact for the season, where could we see some potential issues with the roster? I’ve identified three areas below:

Filip Forsberg and Injuries

I firmly believe that Filip Forsberg could be a 40-goal scorer. We haven’t seen one in gold, but this fan base is WAITING for Forsberg to “go off” and score tons of goals in a season. His injury history, however, is a concern. We haven’t seen a true full season from Forsberg, even when he was rookie.

He’s been the “guy to watch” for a few seasons. It’s just that he hasn’t been able to overcome injuries and play a full season and put up the points we’ve been waiting for. I’m one of many who love Forsberg and want him here in Nashville, but I’m afraid he won’t ever reach his potential in gold. If Forsberg was traded and had a monster postseason with another team, it would be very painful.

But...if I’m Filip Forsberg, I’m licking my lips at the contract that Kirill Kaprizov just signed with Minnesota after just ONE shortened, 55-game NHL season. There’s been no contract talks between the Predators and #9 going into training camp, and Nashville also has to lock up Mattias Ekholm. Forsberg could command excellent money in free agency, and he’d be a great trade piece if Nashville has fallen completely off a cliff at the trade deadline.

Is Dante Fabbro Actually Bad?

Fabbro’s scratching during the playoff series was curious. It seemed, briefly, that Alex Carrier was trusted more to play with blueline veteran and workhorse Mattias Ekholm than Fabbro was. The fans turned on Fabbro pretty quickly.

Although there’s not much to suggest that Fabbro is going to fall off a cliff and be bad, he’s still young and still learning how to defend at a NHL level. There are many good defenders who could take his place in a lineup: Carrier, David Farrance, Frédéric Allard, and more.

However...humor me. Could Fabbro be a trade piece (like Forsberg) if Nashville is at the bottom of the Central Division after the Olympics?

Are the Youth “Here” Yet

There’s a lot of excitement about the youth movement. This was supposed to be something that happened in last year’s weird shortened season, but David Poile signed various older players like Erik Gudbranson, Brad Richardson, and Erik Haula. There’s still a few weeks before the season gets started...but I’m hoping this is the long-promised “youth movement.”

With this youth movement comes the inevitable bumps, bruises, and lessons. Youngsters like Philip Tomasino, Eeli Tolvanen, and Cody Glass are viewed as part of this youth movement, but collectively, they’ve played very few NHL contests. There’s a necessary element of patience here as these three (among others) learn what it’s like to play at the NHL level. Nashville’s roster would allow these youngsters to learn from seasoned veterans like Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen, Mikael Granlund, Filip Forsberg, Mattias Ekholm, and Roman Josi...among others. The mentoring is in place and it’s up to these “kids” to work on their game and hone their skills this season.

The main question for this Nashville fan base is: do we have the patience to wait out these players as they grow? Do the Twitter trolls and Facebook fanatics have enough patience to wait for Cody Glass to develop into a true 2C? What about Phil Myers on defense? Does an angry fan on social media know more than Nashville’s coaching staff when it comes to developing players in the NHL and with the Admirals? Some folks on social media might think so.

Tell us, OTFers. What’s your biggest worry going into the 2021-2022 season?