OTF Q&A: Preseason Overreaction

A tradition unlike any other: taking preseason hockey for face value. But what else are we going to watch? The NFL? LOLNO.

We did the risky thing of submitting a call for questions on Twitter AND Facebook this time. As said before, Twitter and Facebook people are a bit different and mix together like "oil and frozen yogurt".

Dan: Soon, after the final preseason game. If you're inquiring about Fiala, he might be sent back to Sweden right when the season starts or after a few games. He can only play 9 before it counts as a year on his contract.

Jon:Nashville has to have their roster down to 23 players before the start of play on October 9. The Predators have some decisions to make, especially with signing Taylor Beck to that one-year, one-way deal.Injuries to Viktor Stalberg and Matt Cullen could potentially open the door for players like Beck of Fiala for the time being.

At this point, it's anyone's guess as to who will claim the last few spots. Even though the defense seems locked, (Weber/Josi/Jones/Volchenkov/Ellis/Ekholm/Bartley) Dean Evason said he expects Joe Piskula or Johan Alm to make the team. Goodbye Bartley? We'll see. Remember, Filip Forsberg, Seth Jones and Calle Jarnkrok are the only wavier exempt players. Jarnkrok's preseason performance, along with his waiver status, could play a huge factor in determining the final roster.

Anish: I expect them to make their final round of cuts by early next week. Considering the season starts on Thursday, the team will have some tough decisions to make coming up. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out.

Dan:I like Vic Bartley a whole lot. He's a smooth guy, plays a decent game, and... is not Seth Jones. Jones has the highest ceiling of any defender Nashville has, and won't reach it unless he gets playing time. Bartley is a perfectly fine #5-6-7 defenseman. Jones could be a #1-2 someday, and a #3 at the very worst on normal teams. Sure, Jones has rookie moments at his job. Usually, new kids on the job start in the mail room in the corporate world. Jones started in accounts receivable. He played tough minutes, and had trouble at times, but didn't drown.

Jon: Piggy backing off what Dan said, Jones had his rookie struggles last year but he was only 19 and is projected to be a superstar in the league. During 5v5 play when the score was close, Jones was a positive possession player, while Bartley was not. Moreover, Jones performed 4% better than his team, while Bartley was .05% worse.

When looking at all situations, the numbers are even more apparent. Despite both having lackluster numbers, the team performed significantly worse when Bartley was on the ice than when Jones was. As much as I like Victor Bartley, he is 26 and likely has no more upside to him than what we've seen already. It's not at all a shocker that he's on the bubble of making the roster.

Anish: Bartley is a solid third pairing defenseman. Unfortunately for him, this Nashville team is loaded with defenseman. Bartley will see some playing time this year, but it's hard to believe that it will be consistent. Assuming that Volchenkov will be paired with Jones, the top four are set. Then it becomes a matter if he can beat out Ellis or Ekholm. Bartley doesn't have the speed and talent that Ellis has, and Ekholm has a higher ceiling than Bartley. I can only assume that Laviolette will opt to only play six defenseman in his possession based system. Which means someone is going to be left out, and in this case, it looks like it might have to be Bartley.

From Julie W: "Who is going to be Captain Shea Weber's Assist Captains this season? With fish out until a couple months and hornqvist traded, the two "A"'s are up for grabs.

Dan: I'd vote for Craig Smith and James Neal. Love the hair, embrace the evil.

Jon: I can never say to no to Smith, but I'd actually vote for the anti-Neal to put a letter on his jersey: Eric Nystrom.

Anish: I'd have to agree with Dan on this one. James Neal and Craig Smith seem like the obvious choices here.

From Jason B: "Do you think Forsberg remains on the top line thru the regular season? Do you think he can have a breakout season in Lavy's offense?"

Dan:For the first time since the days of Vladamir Orszagh, Nashville has a coach that likes playing young players. I don't know about the top line, but I at least expect him to play top-six minutes.

Jon: The regular season is dark and full of terrors. There is so much that can happen that it's impossible (and foolish) to make that prediction. However, I do think he starts the season on the top line. Even though I've been preaching that #PrinceFilip shouldn't have top minutes given to him just because, he's certainly earned it through his play. If he sticks there, he should do quite well under Laviolette.

Anish: As much as I would love to see him on the lop line all season, I don't see it happening. Forsberg will definitely get his fair share of playing time there, but I think ultimately he will be in a rotation of the top-six forwards. So far, he has shown that he plays well in Laviolette's system. I expect him to have a great season this year (barring any injuries).

From Bethany C" "Will Derek Roy marry me"?

Dan: That's a tough life you're signing up for, miss. Roy is pretty handsome in his own right. As a bachelor myself, I'm kinda jealous. He gets to be the tough, journeyman hockey player on the road to redemption AND is a multi-millionaire. I can't really compete with that. Ask him though. It would be cool to have a player STAY in Nashville because of "his wife is from there."

Jon: I'm no expert on the subject of love (as my multiple pets can tell you) but I do believe you'll need to charm him before you marry him. Don't worry, if you're running short on ideas of how to conveniently run into him so he can be enthralled by what he sees, we've got you covered.

Anish: I think Dan and Jon pretty much answered this one. It will not be an easy task to woo Roy, but if anyone has a chance, it's you Bethany.

What do you think?

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