Posts Tagged ‘nashville predators’

An impressive victory for the Wild, as they looked solid all around. Darcy Kuemper looked great, though Nashville didn’t pepper him with too many shots.

Dany Heatley continues to impress, and has played rather unselfishly with Coyle and Zucker, both of whom are looking very confident.

Granlund is also skating confidently, and Brodziak has been playing noticeably better.

Despite the score effects, Minnesota led in terms of Fenwick for most of the game, then Nashville finally overtook them. Most of the Wild have negative Corsi numbers, so I’ll admit I’m scratching my head a bit here… Read on…

Sort of a stream of consciousness of tonight’s impressive win at home versus a division opponent
  • Can’t watch on GCL because the game’s on NBC sports…watching a grainy internet feed so perhaps not as many observations tonight
  • What a nasty shot to the face taken by Brodin…point blank, looked like it was from about 15 feet away. Inadvertent by the Nashville player but he’s almost certainly going to need some stiches
  • For a team that’s having trouble scoring goals, facing a guy like Pekka Rinne who can be a stone wall on any given night is not a great prescription. He stopped about three rapid-fire shots on Minnesota’s first power play
  • Koivu is really a great playmaker, he knows where all players are on the ice and who is streaking into the zone. He carries the puck, hits the brakes at the blue line and passes to Nino who is skating in fast. Not many players in the NHL can make that pass in my opinion
  • Mike Yeo interviewed during the game, says: “It’s a game of emotion.” Is it? Or is it a game of anticipation and thinking ahead. Not mutually exclusive… Read on…

Sort of a stream of consciousness notes from tonight’s disappointing shootout loss:

  • Marco Scandella got upended at the blue line early in the first period, at first glance it looked like an ugly play but he took the man instead of the puck and successfully stopped the zone entry. Marco Scandella in a nutshell…
  • How long are they going to boo Ryan Suter in Nashville? I’m just going to assume they’re saying SUUUUUU-ter
  • If I’m being honest, I think I would prefer to see fighting removed from the game, but as long as it’s here, I might as well watch Zenon Konopka throw hands.
  • What a beauty of a PP goal by the Wild, cross ice from Suter to Koivu, a fake shot and a fantastic pass to the low slot. Just a great team play
  • I’m not giving up my belief that the Wild will have an effective PK this year despite the overwhelming evidence…I mean, how do you defend this shot? Sure Backstrom was a little too far to the side but come on.
  • Nashville’s crowd is pretty rowdy with the ‘you suck’ cheers (MN fans never do that) but they do cheer when Backstrom turns out to be okay and skates off ice after injury. Rowdy but classy.
  • To my eye, Stoner, Scandella, and especially Ballard are just generally terrible.
  • The Parise line is amazeballs. Koivu enters zone, passes to his left left to Pominville, even when Parise had a better lane, then Pominville one-touches it back behind the net to Koivu in the corner who throws it blindly to the low slot where Parise is streaking in. Three guys thinking as one unit. Reports today are saying that Mike Yeo is doing Mike Yeo things and tinkering with the top two lines, but for my money you don’t break up a group that has this type of chemistry.
  • I had to switch from the tv broadcast to the radio so the notes end here. I think this is sort of a snakebitten team right now…they lost close matches in overtime to two good teams and shot themselves in the foot in the early part of this game. I’m still optimistic that they can turn it around, but obviously this isn’t the start that anyone wanted from this team.
  • I am really looking forward to the WInnipeg matchup on Thursday. Jets fans travel REALLY well, so although the game is at the X, expect to see a lot of blue sweaters in the seats, and those fans can be just as rowdy as Nashville fans. I’m looking forward to the second of the new conference matchups of the week.

Here are some stat nuggets ahead of tonight’s tilt between the Wild and Predators. All data from and of course, they should be taken with a huge grain of salt because there are only two games in the books. Beware the small sample size!

NOTE: I’ve used shorthand for some of the stats below. CRQoC = CorsiRelQoC, OZ = OZ Start%

  • Through two games, Minnesota has a FenClose of 55.56%, Nashville has a 44.23%. It’s quite early to pigeonhole teams by their Fenwick but early reports indicate that the Wild could be a good possession team.
  • Patric Hornqvist has a pretty ridiculous usage so far this season and his Corsi reflects it: 66.7% OZ, -1.10 CorsiRelQoC, Corsi On 30.22 (CorsiRel 40.3)
  • Roman Josi will almost certainly be out tonight, he is the Preds’ second leading possession skater (24.77 CorsiOn, 38.1 Rel)
  • Former Wild Eric Nystrom is managing a corsi rate of 21.88 despite an OZ% of 20.0% thanks to incredibly soft competition (-1.19 CRQoC)
  • Someone who is decidedly not getting soft minutes is Matt Cullen, who sports a CRQoC of 3.42 and is still managing a 9.83 CorsiOn (16.3 Rel) Read on…

I’m working on a cool feature looking at the Wild using some new “puck hog” metrics, but in the mean time I wanted to look at some team-level stats and broaden it to the Western Conference. It’s still early in the season…but with the compressed schedule the timeframes get out of whack. With around a quarter of the schedule in the books, some teams that might be outperforming their true talent might be accumulating enough points in the bank that if they do regress, they could still get a bit of home-ice advantage come playoff time. And on the other hand, with a smaller sample size than usual, the “laws” of regression may not even take effect!

Anyway, what I wanted to do tonight is look at the Western Conference standings (current as of Wednesday, 2/20) and compare them to some team-level rate stats: shots for and against at even strength, and particularly Fenwick ratio. Fenwick has been shown to be a great indicator of a team’s level of play, and accurately predicted the Wild’s demise and the Kings’ surge last season alone.

It is generally accepted that the effects of home ice are less in hockey than other sports. But I still like to look at the numbers (why do people climb mountains? because they’re there…why do I analyze home/road splits? because they’re there!) On the other hand, it’s a little dicey to take a small sample and split it into even smaller samples…I heard on #MvsW the other day that the Kings have played just like 4 home games and 9 road games so far, so appropriate grains of salt necessary here. Having said that, on with the chlorophyl!

(Friendly reminder, if you need a refresher on what Fenwick is, head to my stats glossary.)

Table 1. Western Conference Fenwick Close with Home/Road Split

ss 2-20-13 west conf standings fen close

Table 2. Western Conference 5v5 Shots For and Shots Against per 60 minutes

ss 2-20-13 west conf standings sf sa 60

The Best

The Blackhawks and the Canucks are prettay…prettay…prettay good. Expert analysis there, good night everybody! It’s no surprise to me to see that Chicago and Vancouver have almost identical home and road Fenwick rates–great teams play just as well on the road as at home. The Anaheim Ducks are the darlings of the conference so far, and why not? Everyone likes a feel-good story, and the Ducks are loaded with them, from the Boudreau redemption story to the timelessness of Teemu Selanne to the Viktor-Fasth-as-Randy-Quaid-in-that-movie-about-the-old-rookie, there’s narratives flying all over the place. But notice that Anaheim is getting outshot at even strength, and their Fenwick rates are below 50%, and not just barely either. They’re the only team that has a better road Fen close than home…an anomaly most likely but still interesting and worth monitoring. The Nashville Predators are another team that’s rife with storylines, and they are at the league cellar for shots, but dang it all if they aren’t right there in fourth place. Shea Weber seems to be snapping out of his funk, and Pekka Rinne is doing Pekka Rinne things so we’ll see how long he can carry that team. San Jose is in that classic spot where they’re not really as good as they looked for the first two weeks of the season (hi Patty) but not as bad as they have looked for the most recent two weeks, so to be honest I’m just going to set them aside and see what they look like in a couple more weeks. For now, they’re still on top of the Pacific division and their Fenwick rates don’t show anything to panic over. I’m not a Niemi believer, though, so we’ll see where this team winds up.

The Bubble

“The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry when both your goalies get injured.” –Steinbeck. The Blues are putting up eye-popping Fenwick rates, particularly at home, but if the netminder can’t stop pucks, none of that matters. I learned last year not to dismiss the Coyotes, but they aren’t looking like a team that can get to the conference finals again. Kari Lehtonen is a great goalie…when he’s not injured. When healthy, he covers up a lot of their deficiencies, but when he’s out, the cracks in the armor start to show up real quick. Detroit still has as much firepower as any team out there but they’re not getting any younger, and if Jimmy Howard misses time, the Wings will have to work that much harder at winning those 5-4 games. What to say about the Wild…you can only watch so many games where you hear the commentator say, “Parise fires the team’s first shot on net here, twelve minutes into the period” before you start to wonder what it will take to get this thing turned around. I didn’t delude myself into thinking that the additions of two All-Stars would erase all the team’s problems but I had sort of hoped they would figure out a way to get a couple more shots per game.

The Rest

I know we’d all rather just continue to repress all our lockout memories, but I distinctly recall a team down in Oklahoma City that was ripping the AHL a new one. Ah, those were the days. The Oilers have got some great puzzle pieces, but it’s hard to score goals when you’re skating backwards. Devan Dubnyk has been inconsistent, but when he’s on his game, he has looked great. I keep saying the Kings will be fine, buy low on the Kings. But they keep losing, and sooner or later they have to string together some wins if they want to get back in this thing. They are showing great possession numbers, and their shots allowed are lowest in the league, but Quick needs to start stopping some pucks like he did last year. I’m still confident that they will be fine, but if they’re not careful they might run out of time. The Avalanche are just a mess. They had a really good thing going last year with Landeskog and the rest, and this year they’ve managed to piss it all away. Side note: have you seen some of Ryan O’Reily’s dad’s tweets? The dude is on this big crusade about how psychiatric medications are an evil plot by scientists, and schizophrenia isn’t a real thing and on and on and on. We’re talking Tom-Cruise-on-Oprah-level here. Calgary needs to admit they’re in a rebuilding phase–I’d do it like a band-aid and get it over with, but that’s just me. I think I’m actually buying into the Blue Jackets right now…they’ve got something like three first round picks next year, they’ve got a new GM and they didn’t get as much in return for Rick Nash as a lot of people thought they should have, but I think this franchise is starting to find its way out of the woods. It’s unfortunate when a team is playing for next year so early in the season, but rebuilding is a process, not an event.

To sum it all up, I think the Hawks and Nucks are for real, the Ducks are surprising everyone and while I’m not rooting for them to regress, their underlying stats might catch up with them. Nashville is in the same boat with their low number of shots, and the fifth seed through about the eleventh seed are just a few points apart, so I’ll want to see what the bubble teams do in the next month or so before guessing which of them are playoff contenders.

Thanks for reading, make sure to check out my fantasy hockey podcast, and shoot me an e-mail at hashtaghockey [at] gee mail [dot com and follow me on Twitter, @Hashtag_Hockey

It’s been a while since I put up more than a couple simple charts, so let’s dig in and look at the Elite Eight of 2012! Only one series has yet to be decided, so let’s start with the Caps/Rangers. This time, I have included Fenwick/60, or Sh+MSh adjusted for overtime games. This post will be long so I’ll put a table of contents at the top for easier navigation:

**If you need a refresher on the stats used here, check out the Glossary**





All Teams Fenwick/60

Goalie Stats

Washington Capitals (#7) vs New York Rangers (#1)

The teams have alternated wins in this series, leading to a Game Seven tomorrow night…they have flip-flopped so much we could call this the Romney Series (hey, you got politics in my hockey! you got hockey in my politics!!) Quoth Homer Simpson: “Okay Marge, its your child against my child. The winner will be showered with praise. The loser will be taunted and booed until my throat is sore!!” I couldn’t find a clip of that line so here’s another from the same episode

If the Rangers win, this series will probably be remembered by the Game 5 Joel Ward kerfuffle…which would be unfortunate because like any sports implosion, they usually find a scapegoat *coughBARTMAN* and just blame it on one guy instead of realizing all the events that led up to that flashpoint. After Game 1, which ended 3-1 Rangers, the teams played very evenly for four games, trading one-goal victories. Then, in game 5 and 6, New York seemed to turn on the afterburners like Maverick and Goose or Brian and Dominic, depending on what year you were born. Score effect seems to have played a huge factor in Gm 5, but Washington only mustered 24.2 SMS/60, and was outshot 68-32 in Fenwick, which shows they turtled in a big way. It is reasonable to expect that Game 7 will be more even like the early games in the series, but if Washington gets a lead, they might consider keeping their foot on the gas, as two blown leads in the last three games of a series seems like a pretty good way to get your coach fired. The League has announced that the conference finals will begin on Sunday, so don’t be surprised if the series winner drops the first game to the more rested Devils. Speak of the…Devils…(ugh,) Let’s move to the other series in the East…


New Jersey Devils vs Philadelphia Flyers

I admit I feel a bit reedemed, as I wrote about Bryz in Round 1 and how lucky he was that Fleury shit the bed the way he did…though picking on the Flyers for having bad goaltending is like picking on Justin Bieber for his haircut. Just because it’s an easy joke doesn’t mean I’m not going to make it o_O

The Flyers came out strong in Game 1 and then sputtered out, particularly in Game 2 and Game 4. The Devils blocked a moderate amount of Philadelphia’s shots, but not enough to cover for the fact that the Bullies just didn’t let rip with enough pucks, especially if we consider that they probably had a good idea “Y U Heff 2 B Mad” wasn’t likely to strap the team on his universe-contemplating shoulders and carry them through. One would think that based on the way the Rangers and Capitals are playing, the plucky Devils will be underdogs in the East Finals, but maybe Broduer the Timeless one has got some magic left in those 40-year old bones.


Los Angeles Kings vs St Louis Blues

Bill Simmons mentioned on the B.S. Report this week that Kings fans are sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop, because everyone who followed this team in the regular season remembers the ABYSMAL offense of the Kings for a good chunk of the season. I’ve got a first-hand view of things out here, and they seem to have convinced themselves that the addition of Jeff Carter was their saving grace, but as long as they keep winning, we don’t have to revisit the 30th-ranked G/Gm the team carried for about four months…but who am I kidding, I’m going to probably reach for Carter in next year’s fantasy draft. Besides, we all know Jon Quick is the real Savior-on-skates…these charts were posted earlier, but I thought I’d revisit them here. Note that since no game went to overtime, the Sh + MSh numbers are also the SMS/60 figures, so no point in being redundant redundant.

The West bracket has been a showcase of elite goaltending, and the Quick vs Smith matchup is very enticing to people like me who prefer defensive struggles to barnstorming Pennsylvania-style games. There is no love lost between these division rivals, and people seem to forget that it would not have taken much for the Kings to wind up with the #3 seed and the Yotes to get #8.


Phoenix Coyotes vs Nashville Predators

Mike Smith continues to play the part of the “Hot Goalie” and the Nashville Predators are bounced sooner than many predicted. If the Preds don’t sign Ryan Suter or Radulov decides to go back to Mother Russia, the Preds may not be in a position to come back as contenders next year. Stores of franchises turning themselves around are good for sports leagues, SEE: Lions, Detroit; Rays, Tampa, Tigers, also Detroit, but if they don’t get any hardware, they typically get lost in the history books.

We got a few very even games sandwiched between two lopsided games in Games 1 and 5. Look at the disparity in the last game. The Preds split their SOG pretty evenly across periods, 10-12-11, and unfortunately I do not have MS by period. If anyone knows where to find those numbers please let me know! I’m STILL not taking Mike Smith on my fantasy team next year, but you can’t deny he’s got a fair chance to bring that Conn Smythe trophy back to the desert.


All Teams Fenwick/60

Now that I have started adjusting for time, we can look across series and see how the teams compared in their shot output:

A couple of things surprise me–first, that six of the eight teams are basically between 35 and 40 S+MS/60, with Washington trailing the pack but just barely and Nashville leading the field by more than just a few shots. This is where adjusting for score effects would be beneficial. Per Behind the Net, this is the closest I could find, but I’ll keep looking.


Goalie Stats

Of course I saved the best for last! We knew there some top-notch goalies (and also Bryz) going into this round, but raise your hand if you predicted Rinne AND Elliott would have a lower Ov Sv% than Bryzgalov. Ok, put your hands down now, liars.

Smith and Quick, #1 vs #2. LAK vs STL was supposed to be a 10-goal series (that’s combined) but it didn’t really turn out that way. We could very well be in for 6 or 7 2-1 games, but on a per-game basis, anything can happen. That’s why they play the games! Brian Elliott–yikes.

So what do you think? Who do you think will make it out of the NYR-WAS series, and who will make it to the finals? Post a comment below and share your thoughts!


Luongo sucked! Mike Smith was great! Canucks choked! Blow up the Sharks! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s take a look at some numbers from the first round matchups. First, the goalies:

The five tenders that made it out of the first round were remarkable, with Mike Smith’s .945 Ev Sv% and Jaro Halak’s .935 Overall Sv% coming in at the LOW END. If you taped Quick, Smith, Rinne, Halak, and Elliott together to make one supergoalie this round, they collectively would have turned in a .949 Sv% and a 1.57 GAA. That’s prettay…prettay good.

By contrast, the losing goalies showed more variance. Crawford was about who we thought he was (.915 Ev, .903 Ov regular season,) while Jimmy Howard underperformed (or was overwhelmed if you’re a Preds fan,) .929 Ev, .920 Ov regular season.

The narrative for the Canucks this offseason is that Luongo choked…again!…Schneider outplayed him, Schneider is the goalie of the future…et cetera and so on until our collective ears begin to bleed. However, they had the same Ev Sv%, while Schneider’s PP and SH rates were perfect, Luongo let in three power play goals and two shorties (gulp!) Schneider finished with better rate stats, but a couple of bounces here and a couple breaks reversed there and Luongo is 1-2 and Schneider is 0-2. Just saying…

Let’s look at Fenwick rates and total numbers of Sh and Missed Sh for the matchups:


This series saw games where each team dominated in shots fired. The Kings had three games where they pushed the 60/40 mark, but in games 2 and 3, the Nucks blasted almost 60 pucks toward the net and dominated the stat. Also notable is that Game 4 (sans Daniel) and Game 5 (avec Daniel) were very similar in terms of shot output. Each game in the series was close, but the Hockey gods favored the Kings this time. Much has been made of the Kings out-fenwicking their opponents on the regular since the trade deadline, so I will be interested to see if they can continue that trend against a Blues team that is fantastic on defense…


Game by game fenwick rates were pretty even throughout the series, but what stands out to me is that after losing game 1 in double-OT despite outshooting the Sharks, the Blues turned around and won the next four despite being outshot by San Jose. LA vs STL could very well turn out to be the Bizarro PIT/PHI series where the losing goalie each night stops 39 of 40 shots and takes the 1-0 loss. It will be interesting to see if the Blues can continue to win games while putting up shots and missed shots totaling in the low-30s, or if the Kings can throw 50+ pucks at the net and find a couple weak spots in the armor of Elliott and Halak.


It’s time for the requisite NHL-owns-the-Coyotes crackpot theory: the League FIXED the series so that the first five games would go into OT so they could sell more beer and make themselves more money! Those pigs. It all makes sense now…

I have written elsewhere on this site that Mike Smith won’t be on any of my fantasy teams next year, but there is no denying how locked in he was during the first round. The Hawks were touching 60 shots and misses in four games, and he still turned in a sub-2 GAA and a .950 Sv%. You have to hand it to the old guy. Maybe he’ll start doing credit card commercials where he’s locked in a taxi with a psychopath, frantically calling a gender-confused customer service agent with passive-aggressive tendencies…

What I said about St Louis needing to continue finding goals on a low number of shots goes double for Phoenix. I was surprised when they were able to run with the Hawks in game 1 and even game 2, but then they dropped off drastically in games 4-6, while Chicago kept increasing their total shot count. If Phoenix thinks they can settle in the low-twenties against Pekka Rinne, they must be feeling really lucky.


No team scored more than 3 goals in any game this series, while Pekka Rinne turned in some impressive performances in games 3 and 4, making more than 40 saves in each. I am not a Red Wings homer (they are so proud of their Hockeytown…Minnesota has a whole STATE OF HOCKEY) though I do sort of like their organization. I admit I had them picked to beat the Predators in this series, but that’s why they play the games. Nashville turned in some low total shot games, and if Mike Smith continues to be Voltron, they might be desparate for a goal. Phoenix has shown that even if they are undermatched on paper, they can take a game to overtime where anything can happen.

What do you think? What stats would you want to look at when breaking down a series? Who are your predictions to make it to the Western Conference finals and why? Leave a comment and share your thoughts, and don’t forget to follow me on twitter @Hashtag_Hockey

Will update with results of SJ/STL once that game is in the books. Eastern Conference coming tomorrow!

  • You can see that CHI/PHX is the closest series in the West, though Mike Smith’s injury could potentially shift the dynamic, the Hawks fired 59 (shots + missed shots) in each of the firs two games, and I feel pretty comfortable saying Mike Smith >>> Jason LaBarbera…
  • LA was outshot badly in game 2 yet still managed to score 4 goals. Then in game 3, in a scoreless game until late in the third period, they directed much more rubber at the net than did Vancouver. The Canucks need to find some way to make this into a series or they will be making tee times by next week.
  • The Red Wings are leading the Predators in Fenwick, but a Hot Goalie like Pekka Rinne can neutralize those differentials in short order. All three games have ended with a score of 3-2, and in each game the winner was outshot. It will be interesting to see if that pattern holds. A more advanced look at Fenwick would parse out 5v5 shots, but this is just a quick and dirty look at the series.

Inside the Numbers: Pekka Rinne

Position: Goalie
Team: Nashville Predators
2011-12 Stats: 72 GS, 43 W, 2.39 GAA, .923 Sv%, 5 SO
Quality Starts: 44 (61.1% of GS)
Terrible Starts: 11 (15.3% of GS)
Quality Starts Wasted: 9 (20.5% of QS)
Bail-outs: 9 (20.9% of GS)

Click Here for a glossary of statistical terms used in this article.

Let’s play the fantasy hockey dating game. Which player would you rather have on your squad? Goalie A made 28 starts, had a GAA of 4.228 and a Sv% of just .852. Goalie B made 44 starts, with a 1.39 GAA and a .957 Sv%. Trick question—these lines are Pekka Rinne’s quality starts vs. his non-quality starts in 2011-12. But you probably already guessed that…nothing gets by you. You’re the Sheldon Cooper of hockey.

No goaltender in the National Hockey League faced more vulcanized rubber this year than Pekka Rinne. He played in the most games, made the most starts, and made more saves than anyone else. He posted 44 quality starts (61.1%,) but also had 11 starts (15.3%) where he got shellacked (<.850 Sv%). Three of his terrible starts came right in a row just before Christmas, and then two more came in back-to-back games March 20th and 22nd. He finished the year with a solid combination of a 2.39 GAA and .923 Sv%. However, his fantasy owners selected him very high on draft day (ADP 29.2 ESPN, 18.7 Y!) and were probably hoping for a return closer to his 2010-11 numbers of .930 and 2.12. As our dating game suggested, in his quality starts he was amazing, but in the other 30 games, frankly, he stunk. This may surprise fantasy players who consider Rinne to be on the Mt. Rushmore of goalies, but what is more surprising is that in four of his terrible starts, the Predators bailed out Rinne in a big way and he was credited with a win! By comparison, most goalies will be lucky to get bailed out even once when they have a Terrible Start.

Rinne’s even-strength Sv% has been pretty consistent over the last four campaigns, while his overall Sv% has moved around a bit more. While he didn’t replicate his outstanding numbers from last season, it is good to see that consistency, particularly for Ev Sv%. Going forward, I would fully expect Rinne to be among the NHL’s best between the pipes. I would not bank on him necessarily surpassing his 2010-11 numbers, but if we view him as a solid and consistent player, we can expect him to be in the ballpark of the upper .920s for saves.

Certainly that type of production will help any fantasy team. However, if you have to invest a second- or third-round pick to acquire Rinne, you are putting a lot of stock in him and if he fails to return the expected production, you could be looking at a negative value. Personally, I prefer to wait a little later to grab my number one goalie, but I would not begrudge anyone who selects Rinne. However, the sheer volume of starts he has made makes me a little nervous. Could his dip in production this year be related to his superhuman workload? Perhaps…or maybe his true skillset is closer to what he showed this year, and last year’s results were slightly over his actual level.

Another consideration is that the data presented here are just for the regular season. This is Nashville’s third year in a row making the playoffs, and Rinne played in six postseason games in 2009-10 and a dozen more in 2010-11. He will certainly tack on a few more this year, and many people seem to think the Predators are serious contenders, so depending on how far they advance, his workload could just keep going up and up. I’m not suggesting there is any particular reason to doubt that Rinne can handle that amount of work, but it’s not unreasonable to say that sooner or later the grueling pace will catch up to him.

Bottom Line: Pekka Rinne is a great goalie, there is no doubt about that. His QS/Non-QS splits this year are definitely food for thought, but until he shows us that he can’t continue to perform at a high level, there is no reason to expect a dropoff. However, the sheer workload is definitely a little bit of a red flag for me, especially considering you will need to spend a very high draft pick to get him on your team. I wouldn’t steer anyone away from selecting him, but personally, I am risk averse and I am afraid that the huge number of games he is playing will catch up to him sooner rather than later.

NHL Playoff Implications: The Predators are finally getting some respect this year, and with Weber, Suter, and Rinne, they will be a formidable matchup for the Red Wings. The late-season addition of Alexander Radulov has many believing the Preds are serious contenders this year, especially if Rinne gets hot. He is nothing short of a force of nature when he is on his game, and the Detroit/Nashville matchup is perhaps one of the more interesting pairings in the first round, especially given that Nashville has home ice advantage. Will this be the year the Predators do some serious damage in the postseason? Only time will tell.