Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Nashville Predators
For the last 16 years (12 with The Hockey News) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 17th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – Moving Subban gave the Preds the cap room they needed to sign Duchene. Then they simply move defensemen up the ladder to fill in for Subban. Namely – Dante Fabbro. And while they won’t simply anoint Fabbro a top-pairing defenseman right off the bat, he will probably begin as the No.5 and work his way up from there. The team has Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm to move the puck so there won’t be any undue pressure on the 21-year-old Fabbro. So with the defensemen covered off on the loss, what does this mean for the forwards?
Last year the the team added Mikael Granlund at the deadline. But he alone can’t make a second line. That’s why it was such a big deal that the team landed Duchene. If Nashville moves Kyle Turris to the wing, a line of Turris – Duchene – Granlund is potentially pretty solid. Turris had zero chemistry as Granlund’s centerman last year, but perhaps Duchene could be the glue that keeps it all in place. Either way, Nashville can now roll out two very effective lines.
Ready for full-time – Dante Fabbro is probably not going to be a big part of the blue line in the early stages, but he’ll get there. Perhaps breaking into the top four before Christmas. After he turned pro last season he did not look out of place alongside veteran Dan Hamhuis.
Alexandre Carrier had a real strong finish to last year’s AHL campaign when he tallied 16 points in 18 games. He finished second in scoring with Milwaukee despite being a defenseman. He has to clear waivers in order to be sent down this year so the Preds will probably keep him for a little while to see how he does. He’s really far down the ladder when it comes to getting PP ice time and even in keeper leagues your best bet is to take a wait-and-see approach.
Rem Pitlick elected to forego his senior year and turn pro in the spring after scoring 21 goals and 45 points for the University of Minnesota. He is a little on the small side at 5-11, 196 and at 22 years of age could probably benefit from a season in the AHL. The Preds are deep enough to let him do that. He will compete with Eeli Tolvanen to see who will be called up the most this year. Pitlick’s upside isn’t as high as Tolvanen’s (not close, actually), he has the quickness and versatility that should see him become an NHLer within two years. You can read more on Pitlick here.
Tolvanen, I should add, had a rough go of things in his first full season in North America, but is expected to have a pretty big second season and expectations are high. But he will do that at the AHL level first.
Nashville Predators prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – Last season the Predators finished 19th in league scoring and I expect them to finish around there again in 2019-20. That could and will change in an awful hurry though, if key members of their top line – Filip Forsberg and Victor Arvidsson – can play 80 games. Those two, along with Ryan Johansen, potentially make up a potent offensive line that is difficult to stop. But if one or the other is out of the lineup for 10 or 15 games at one time or another, it’s hard to get any rhythm going. Kudos to the Preds for putting together a great second line, but if that line has to turn into the first line all the time then what have they gained? Health is key. But once again this team has a nice, deep crop of skilled forwards, still very deep on defense, and their one-two punch in net with Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros provides excellent security. But with Fabbro joining the team and the team adding no great potential fantasy studs at this year’s draft, the pipeline is starting to dry up. That takes some of the shine off of the franchise in terms of long-term fantasy hockey excitement.
Fantasy Grade: B (last year was A)
Pick up the 14th annual DobberHockey Fantasy Hockey Guide
2019 Offseason Fantasy Hockey Grades