Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Nashville Predators
For the last 15 years (12 with The Hockey News, last year’s via pinch-hitter Cam Robinson) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 16th 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 – The Preds already have it made in the shade, with a good deep team. They needed to do nothing and that’s pretty much what they did. This team is deep up front, they boast the best four defensemen in the league, their goalie just won the “best goalie” award (Vezina Trophy), they have a top prospect goalie as their backup, as well as one of the best prospect forwards waiting to join the team. They even added Hamhuis so that even their bottom pairing is solid now. I guess maybe they could…improve their arena hot dogs (can someone from Nashville confirm?) and maybe lower the price of beer?
Nashville was seventh in league scoring and if Filip Forsberg and the rest of their key guys stay healthy this season they will probably move up a notch or two yet.
Ready for full-time – Eeli Tolvanen will make the team, take a healthy run at 60 points and get into the Calder Trophy discussion…is what I would say if this were one of 20 other NHL teams. But this is Nashville, a team with the first two lines pretty much set in stone with additional good players just barely getting into the lineup to play on the third line. The 19-year-old Finn broke all kinds of KHL rookie records last season, made an impact at the Olympics and was a human highlight reel doing it. But on this deep team it may take him half a season to stick regularly and then another month or two just to force his way onto a scoring line. But he won’t be held back for long.
Filip Pyrochta is a 22-year-old Czech defenseman who was never drafted, but was signed by Nashville at the end of the season. It’s doubtful he makes the team, but in the second half you may see him called up for a cup of coffee or two. He doesn’t have much in the way of upside at this point.
Dante Fabbro is playing his junior season with Boston University, but the Preds may convince him to turn pro in the spring. If he has the immediate NHL impact in March that scouts feel that he can – then Nashville’s top five defensemen will just be ridiculous. Could you imagine Charlie McAvoy being a No.5 defenseman? That’s what 30 other NHL teams would be dealing with. McAvoy also played for Boston U and in his second season had 26 points in 38 games (Fabbro had 28 in 38 in his second year).
Nashville Predators prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – As I already noted above, the Predators finished seventh in NHL scoring in 2017-18 and stand to only get better. Their top producer Forsberg missed 18 games, and Ryan Ellis missed half the season! Their first line could have a 75-point player and two 65-point guys, their second line could have three 50-point players, their third line could have three guys reach 40 points (it’ll be close, but work with me here). They’ll have Ryan Hartman or Eeli Tolvanen in the press box at times, they have a top starting goalie named Juuse Saros as a backup, and a top prospect defenseman playing college hockey. The only way to possibly make this team more appealing to fantasy owners is to have a 90-point superstar.
Fantasy Grade: A (last year was B+)
Other Offseason Fantasy Outlooks:
- Ramblings: Canes Celebrating, Players Returning From Injury (Feb 17)
- Fantasy Take: Oilers and Flyers Swap Goalies
- Ramblings: Schneider Wins! Plus Thoughts on Schenn, Matthews, and more...
- Fantasy Take: Gagner Traded For Spooner
- The Journey: Fastest Rising Prospect Forwards - February 2019
- Top 50 Fantasy Prospect Defensemen - February 2019
- Saturday's NHL Picks: February 16, 2019
- 21 Fantasy Hockey Rambles