Macklin Celebrini – The Star in the 2024 NHL Draft

When you hear the name Macklin Celebrini, what comes to mind? For many scouts in the hockey world, it’s the image of a dynamic, explosive forward who was born to play the game. As the NHL 2024 Draft approaches, it’s impossible not to get excited about Celebrini’s potential. He’s not just any prospect; he’s a phenomenon, a standout talent who’s quickly becoming the talk of the league.

Let’s dive into what makes Macklin Celebrini such a special prospect.

Hockey IQ and Offensive Prowess

Celebrini’s intelligence on the ice is beyond his years. How he reads the game, anticipates plays, and finds himself in the correct position at the right time is uncanny. He’s got a knack for being exactly where the puck will be, making him a constant threat in the offensive zone.

Offensively, Celebrini is a force to be reckoned with. His ability to both create and finish plays is remarkable. He has soft hands that can dance around defenders, and his release is pinpoint and accurate when it comes time to shoot. Celebrini’s versatility as both a playmaker and a scorer makes him a dual threat – defenders must respect both his shot and his ability to dish out a perfect pass.

Skating and Physicality

Celebrini’s skating is another aspect that sets him apart. He is incredibly agile and has an explosive first few strides that allow him to blow past defenders. His edgework and balance on skates are also top-notch, letting him maneuver through tight spaces on the ice easily.

In terms of physicality, Celebrini doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s sturdy on his skates and can hold his own against bigger opponents. His ability to maintain puck control while being challenged physically is a testament to his strength and skill.

Defensive Play and Work Ethic

While Celebrini shines offensively, he pays attention to his defensive responsibilities. He’s a hard worker off the puck, consistently applying pressure and disrupting the opposition’s plays. Celebrini’s commitment to a two-way game is a crucial attribute that makes him a well-rounded player.

His work ethic is evident in every shift. Celebrini plays with a level of intensity and determination that you can’t help but admire. He’s the kind of player who gives 100% every time he’s on the ice, whether it’s a regular season game or a high-pressure playoff scenario, you can count on him to be up and down the ice his entire shift.

Areas for Improvement

Like any young player, Celebrini has areas where he can improve. While his defensive game is solid, there’s always room for refinement, particularly in his positioning and decision-making in his own end. As he progresses and faces higher levels of competition, these aspects of his game will be crucial for his development.

The Road Ahead

As Celebrini gears up for his next big challenge at Boston University, there’s no doubt that he’s on the right track.

The buzz around Celebrini is real, and it’s well-deserved. He’s not just a player with excellent skills but with the potential to make a significant impact at the NHL level. It’s still early, and many things can happen between now and the 2024 Draft, but as of now, Celebrini is a name that’s firmly etched at the top of the list.

In conclusion, Macklin Celebrini is a prospect who embodies the spirit of modern hockey. His blend of skill, intelligence, and work ethic makes him a standout player in his draft class. While there are always uncertainties in projecting young talents, Celebrini’s trajectory suggests that he’s on the path to becoming a significant player in the NHL. For teams looking for a player who can change the course of their franchise, Celebrini is the player to target. His journey is just beginning, and seeing how far his talent and dedication will take him will be exciting.

Way Too Early 2024 NHL Draft Player Rankings:

  1. Macklin Celebrini
  2. Cole Eiserman
  3. Ivan Demidov
  4. Artyom Levshunov
  5. Sam Dickinson
  6. Berkly Catton
  7. Konsta Helenius
  8. Anton Silayev
  9. Nikita Artamonov
  10. Aron Kiviharju
  11. Adam Jiricek
  12. Michael Brandsegg-Nygård
  13. Zayne Parekh
  14. Igor Chernyshov
  15. Carter Yakemchuk
  16. Cayden Lindstrom
  17. Henry Mews
  18. Michael Hage
  19. Cole Hutson
  20. Charlie Elick
  21. Trevor Connelly
  22. Ryder Ritchie
  23. Sacha Boisvert
  24. E. J. Emery
  25. Emil Hemming
  26. Simon Zether
  27. Zeev Buium
  28. Maxim Velikov
  29. Karl Sterner
  30. Maxim Massé

Gridiron Glimpses: Shedeur Sanders

Sep 2, 2023; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) throws a pass in the second quarter against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports


While carving out his unique path to NFL recognition, Shedeur Sanders emerges as an interesting talent with a notable blend of recruiting pedigree and NFL lineage. Possessing an impressive physical stature and a heritage steeped in football expertise, Sanders has cultivated a nuanced understanding of the game, demonstrating the potential to adapt and grow as he transitions to a more competitive setting in the Pac-12 in 2023.


Athleticism and Mobility

Standing at 6’2″ and tipping the scales at 215 pounds, Sanders has the physical attributes that make him a commanding presence on the field. He utilizes his athleticism to maintain poise within the pocket and extend plays, showcasing an innate ability to manipulate defenders and deliver precise passes even while on the move.

Leadership and Composure

Sanders is noted for his palpable leadership qualities, displaying a fierce determination, particularly in critical game situations. His resilience post-turnover and ability to galvanize his team exemplify his leadership skills.

Game Understanding

With an ingrained and intuitive “feel” for the game, Sanders reflects a high level of understanding. Even under considerable pressure, his ability to find pivotal passing windows hints at a deeper connection and mastery of his offensive responsibilities.


Throwing Mechanics

Despite his consistent high, over-the-top release, Sanders’ throwing mechanics present noticeable gaps. His reliance on his upper body and erratic footwork sometimes hamper his throwing efficiency, causing unstable releases and off-target passes.

Ball Security

A glaring concern revolves around Sanders’ approach to ball security. His 19 career fumbles underscore a vital area requiring immediate attention and rectification.

Arm Strength and Deep Throws

Sanders’ arm talent assessment offers mixed reviews. While he has shown instances of NFL-caliber strength, the inconsistency, especially in deep throws, necessitates further on-field evaluation. His tendency to exhibit a lingering wobble on certain passes emphasizes the need for refinement.

Projection and Potential

As Sanders prepares to face better defenses of the Pac-12, his capabilities will be scrutinized to determine if his raw talent can meet NFL standards. The shift in competition level will serve as a proving ground for Sanders, pushing him to hone his mechanics and adapt to a heightened level of play.

Sanders must demonstrate substantial improvement, particularly in tightening his release and augmenting his arm strength to fit the ball into tighter windows with higher velocity.


Shedeur Sanders is a quarterback prospect with significant upside due to his physical attributes, game understanding, and notable leadership qualities. However, to fully tap into his potential and establish himself as a viable NFL draft pick for 2024, Sanders must address significant areas of weakness, including ball security, throwing mechanics, and overall consistency. 

Elite Eleven Series: What we learned from Week 2 in College Football

#1 Georgia:

Result: Won 45-3 vs Ball State

What I wanted to see from them:

  • Prove they can get off to a Fast Start ❌
  • Improved Run Game ❌
  • Improved Run Defense ✅
  • Improved Pass Rush ❌

Once again, Georgia won big but showed glaring causes for concern for the second week in a row. After a slow start in week one, they once more got off to an anemic start, unable to score a single point in the first half. The run game didn’t improve much this week either, with their leading rusher (Roderick Robinson II) having only 38 yards on the ground and averaging under 3.5 yards per carry as a team. The pass rush was once again nonexistent, unable to come up with a single sack on one of Ball State’s 37 pass attempts. The good news is the Bulldog’s defense was able to sure up their run defense, allowing only 77 total rushing yards and just 2.8 yards per carry. Another positive takeaway from the game was Georgia’s secondary remained outstanding, picking off Ball State Quarterback Kadin Semonza three times and holding the Cardinals to just 147 yards passing for the game.

#2 Michigan

Result: Won 35-7 vs UNLV

What I wanted to see from them:

  • Build off of their performance in Week 1 ✅
  • Their Defense Continuing to be great ✅
  • J.J. McCarthy having another good performance ✅
  • Improved Pass Rush ✅

Michigan checked all the boxes this week. The Wolverines dominated UNLV in every aspect of the game, building off of their week 1 performance. The defense didn’t allow a single point until the 4th quarter and held UNLV to just 229 total yards on offense. J.J. McCarthy once again had a jaw-dropping performance, proving he is one of the most talented Quarterbacks in the nation. Perhaps most impressive of all is that Michigan was able to fix their lone concern from week one, which was the pass rush. In week 2, the Wolverine’s defense was able to record 5 sacks after not recording a single one the previous week. If Michigan continues like this, they will cement themselves as one of the most complete teams in the country.

#3 Alabama

Result: Lost 34-24 vs Texas

What I wanted to see from them:

  • For the Defense to continue to dominate ❌
  • For Jalen Milroe to prove he can be a proficient passer not just rusher ❌

Alabama fell flat in week 2 versus Texas. Their stellar defensive performance from the previous week didn’t translate over as they got torn apart in the air by Quinn Ewers all night. Failing to record a single sack, interception, or forced turnover, the Crimson Tide defense looked helpless for most of the night. Looking over at the offensive side of the ball, Jalen Milroe didn’t impress with his arm, throwing two interceptions and making questionable decisions for the entirety of the game. He, as well as the play calling, will have to improve if Alabama has any hopes of making the playoff. The Alabama running game didn’t excite either, rushing for just over 107 yards as a team and only averaging 3.1 yards per carry.

Overall, this team will have to improve in nearly every facet of the game if they expect to compete against the big boys of college football this year.

#4 Florida State

Result: Won 66-13 vs Southern Miss

What I wanted to see from them:

  • Jordan Travis to continue to impress ❔
  • The offensive line continue to play at a high level ✅
  • Improvement in the run game on offense ✅
  • The defense continue to be elite ✅

While Jordan Travis wasn’t elite in this game, he didn’t have to be. The Noles were already up by 28 at halftime, so they didn’t need to rely on their star Quarterback much at all. He still didn’t look bad, throwing for 175 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. The offensive line looked satisfactory, allowing Southern Miss to record two sacks during the game, but where they really shined was the running game, where Florida State ran for a whopping 8.3 yards per carry during the game, which was a massive improvement from last week’s run game performance. The defense picked right up where they left off last week, allowing just 154 passing yards, recording a pick-six, and giving up only 13 points all game. Florida State is showing everyone in the college football world they are an extremely well-constructed and impressive team.

#5 Ohio State

Result: Won 35-7 vs Youngstown State

What I wanted to see from them:

  • Improved overall offensive performance ✅
  • Better performance from Kyle McCord ✅
  • Marvin Harrison Jr, Emeka Egbuka, and TreVeyon Henderson to get more involved ✅
  • For the defense to continue to dominate ✅

After a poor performance in week 1, the Buckeyes offense looked much improved against Youngstown State. Putting up a total of 482 yards on offense, as well as not having a single turnover, was a good signal after the concerning game against Indiana. What was even more of a welcomed sight was the re-emergence of Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, who combined for 254 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns. New starter Kyle McCord looked comfortable, throwing for 258 yards and 3 touchdowns. Perhaps the most dominant performance came from star running back TreVeyon Henderson, who averaged 11.2 yards per carry and ran in for two touchdowns on the evening. The other good news is the defense continued to hold up, allowing just 12 first downs all game and holding the Penguins to under 100 yards rushing and under 150 yards passing. If the Buckeyes can continue to improve on the offensive side of the ball, they have a chance to go all the way this season with how talented their roster is.

#6 USC

Result: Won 56-10 vs Stanford

What I wanted to see from them:

  • The offense to continue to impress ✅
  • Improved overall Defensive performance and give up fewer points and yards than in their first two games ✅

Once again, the USC offense proved why they are the most explosive offense in the country. Caleb Williams was nearly perfect, Marshawn Lloyd looked great running the ball, and Tahj Washington continued his amazing season, cementing himself as Caleb Williams’s number-one target. On the day, the offense had 573 total yards and put up another 50+ point performance. While the Trojan’s defense only allowed 10 points, which was progress over their last two weeks, the raw numbers still show they have much to improve on that side of the ball. They allowed Stanford to convert 20 first downs in the game, have nearly 350 yards of total offense, and run for over 200 yards on the day. Some good news is they were able to turn Stanford over 3 times, recovering two fumbles and picking off quarterback Ashton Daniels once. It was a positive first step for a defense that will have to improve during the season if USC wants to keep those playoff hopes alive.

#7 Penn State

Result: Won 63-7 vs Delaware

What I wanted to see from them:

  • For Drew Allar to continue to show out ✅
  • For KeAndre Lambert-Smith to continue to look explosive ✅
  • Consistent play on defense and a more Dominate defensive performance ✅

Penn State absolutely dominated Delaware in every aspect of the game. Drew Allar was nearly perfect, throwing 22/26 for 204 yards with a touchdown, as well as using his legs to run in a touchdown during the game. KeAndre Lambert-Smith continues to be his go-to receiver, hauling in 6 receptions for 74 yards. The real standout performance was on the defensive side of the ball. The Nittany Lions allowed just 58 yards passing, 82 yards rushing, and just 6 receptions the entire game. They allowed Delaware to convert just 5 first downs and forced two turnovers on the day. This was a defensive masterclass, and it will be interesting to see if they can translate that performance into next week’s game vs. Illinois.

#8 Washington

Result: Won 43-10 vs Tulsa

What I wanted to see from them:

  • Improve on the defensive side of the ball overall ✅
  • Improve the run defense ❌
  • The offense prove they are one of the best in the Nation with another elite performance ✅

Washington is proving to everyone this year that they are an elite football team. The main concern all season was on the defensive side of the ball and whether that defense would be able to hold up against good offenses. We got a hint this week as they held Tulsa to just 10 points and allowed just 150 yards passing. Now, this doesn’t tell the entire story because Washington did give up nearly 170 rushing yards, 22 first downs, two 4th down conversions, and over 30:00 minutes of possession time. While this was an improvement and a step in the right direction, this wasn’t a dominant defensive performance. There is no question about what the strength of this Washington team is, and that’s the offense. They once again had an elite performance, racking up 563 total yards and scoring 43 points. Michael Penix Jr. threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns, while his go-to receiving duo (McMillan and Odunze) caught 15 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns. If the Husky’s defense can keep improving week to week, they might be off and running by the time they play Oregon on October 14th.

#9 Tennessee

Result: Won 30-13 vs Austin Peay

What I wanted to see from them:

  • The continued maturation of Joe Milton ✅
  • The continued dominance of the Vols running game ✅
  • The continued dominance of the Vols defense ❔

This was not a pretty game played by Tennessee versus a team they should have beaten by over 30 points. The score was 13-6 at halftime, and the whole team just didn’t look ready to play. Luckily, they picked it up a bit more in the second half, but this was still a lackluster performance overall. On the offensive side of the ball, Joe Milton played well enough, throwing for 228 yards and two touchdowns while also running in another score himself. The running game was outstanding with the two-headed monster at running back Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small, who rushed for a combined 213 yards. Looking at the defensive side of the ball, the Vols racked up 7 sacks, forced two turnovers, and allowed just 13 points. Where some concern might lie is in the fact Tennessee allowed the Governors to rack up 260 passing yards and allowed 6 different receivers to catch 3 or more passes, as well as allowing nearly 40:00 minutes of possession time. Where the defense stepped up was the run game, allowing just 79 total rushing yards and giving up just 2.3 yards per carry. As Tennessee starts to enter into SEC play, they are going to need to get more defensive stops and sure up that secondary if they want a chance at the SEC title and a playoff berth.

#10 Note Dame

Result: Won 45-24 vs NC State

What I wanted to see from them:

  • The continued showing of an elite defensive team ✅
  • Improved running game ✅
  • Good offensive performance ✅

In their opening games this season, the Fighting Irish have shown they’re a force to be reckoned with, slamming their rivals with a whopping score difference of 98-6. But this week, they faced their first true challenge, hitting the road to clash with the tough NC State Wolfpack in Raleigh. The big question was if they could replicate their defensive performances over the first two weeks and bring that momentum with them to the game this week. While the defense did give up 344 total yards, the surrounding metrics were outstanding. The Irish defense was able to record three interceptions three forced fumbles, held the Wolfpack to just 2.8 yards per carry, and didn’t allow a single player to record over 65 yards receiving. The offense was also clicking on all cylinders. Sam Hartman threw for 286 yards and four touchdowns, but the most important part is the running game, and Audric Estime got going to relieve some of the pressure off Hartman. Estime rushed for nearly 10 yards per carry, 134 yards, and scored two touchdowns. If Notre Dame can get these types of balanced performances week in and week out, they are going to be hard to beat.

#11 Texas

Result: Won 34-24 vs Alabama

What I wanted to see from them:

  • Quinn Ewers proving he is the man for the job ✅
  • The continued domination of the Texas run defense ✅
  • Improvement on the offensive line ✅
  • Improved running game on offense ❌
  • Get off to a fast start ❔

This Texas versus Alabama game showed us what both of these teams are made of. Texas is the real deal this season and corrected almost every weakness they had shown in week 1 against Rice to come back and absolutely crush the Crimson Tide. Quinn Ewers had an amazing game, throwing for 349 yards and 3 touchdowns, proving he is the man for the job this season for the Longhorns. The offensive line stepped up big time, not allowing a single sack and just two tackles for loss all game. The Texas running game still couldn’t get going, only averaging 2.8 yards per carry, which might cause some issues as the season progresses. Flipping over to the defensive side of the ball, the Texas run defense put on a great performance, not allowing a single Bama player to rush for over 45 yards and only allowing 3.1 yards per carry. The secondary also stepped up at times, picking off Jalen Milroe twice but also allowing a few big plays. This is a huge win for Texas, and if they can ride the momentum off of this win, the sky is the limit.

Elite Eleven Series: Week 2 College Football Preview

#1 Georgia

We won’t be able to learn much about this new-look Georgia team until they face a real challenge in Week 3 vs. South Carolina. What we do need to see against Ball State this week is a better showing all around. In their first game, the Bulldogs didn’t look as dominant as they should have against UT Martin:

  • They were only able to score 17 first-half points
  • Didn’t have a single rusher over 54 yards
  • Allowed nearly 5 yards per carry on defense
  • Only registered one sack on defense
  • Almost got outrushed by the Martin run game

I want to see a better start from the offense, an improved defensive performance against a much inferior opponent, an improved rushing attack on offense, and a better pass rush from the Bulldogs this week.

#2 Michigan

Similar to Georgia, we won’t be able to learn much about Michigan until later in the season when they face some real competition. All you can ask for if you are a Wolverines fan is that the team keeps building off of the stellar performance they put together last week. The Michigan defense allowed just 235 yards of total offense, as well as not allowing a single point until the fourth quarter. J.J. McCarthy looked more than comfortable as he put together one of the best QB performances of Week 1. One area that looked lackluster for Michigan was the pass rush, as they failed to record a single sack in week 1, so I would like to see that improve this week vs. UNLV.

#3 Alabama

Unlike the first two teams, we are going to know a lot about this Alabama squad after this week. Alabama didn’t leave much concern for their defense in week 1; they forced three fumbles, recorded three sacks, and allowed just 211 total yards. What most people will want to see is how this new-look Alabama offense with Jalen Milroe performs against a respectable Texas defense. Milroe looked good against MTSU in week one, but I need to see more before I have confidence in him leading the Crimson Tides offense. Milroe needs to show he can be a proficient passer, as well as hurt you with his legs. Accuracy has been an issue for him in the past, and he needs to prove he can be the Quarterback Alabama needs him to be before I have confidence in this Alabama offense again.

#4 Florida State

Florida State is back! After beating LSU handily in week 1, the Seminoles proved to everyone in the college football world they are a playoff contender once again. Where do I begin with how impressive this team was? Jordan Travis looked like one of the best QBs in the country, the offensive line looked incredible, their pass rush and run defense was terrific, and their receivers looked unstoppable. The one area Florida State could improve upon might be the run game, seeing as their leading rusher only averaged 3.9 yards per carry and the team as a whole averaged 4.0 yards per carry, but other than that, it was an immaculate performance, proving that the Seminoles are back and here to stay. We won’t be able to learn much more about the Noles this week, seeing as they are playing Southern Miss, but we learned plenty about who this team was in week 1.

#5 Ohio State

There isn’t any beating around the bush; the Ohio State offense wasn’t good in week 1. Kyle McCord looked uncomfortable at times and was unable to find some of his biggest targets throughout the game. Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka had a combined five catches for under 40 yards. TreVeyon Henderson couldn’t get going either, only gaining 47 yards on the ground. In order for the Ohio State Buckeyes to compete for a national championship this season, the offense has to improve. The good news is they have two straight weeks of easy games (Youngstown State and Western Kentucky) to figure things out offensively. The defense left no room for concern, holding Indiana to 153 total yards and 3 points. Look for the Ohio State offense to attempt to turn things around over the next few weeks before their big matchup with Notre Dame on the 23rd of this month.

#6 USC

USC has looked impressive over their first two games this season. Caleb Williams is a star, Lincoln Riley is an offensive genius, and Tahj Washington is one of the biggest threats in the country, but that defense is still a huge question mark. Giving up a combined 42 points over their first two games against Nevada and San José State isn’t the best look, especially when you see they didn’t record a single interception and allowed nearly 400 yards a game to both squads. I will be looking for a better USC defense this week against the 1-0 Stanford Cardinal, who boast a decent offense themselves. I don’t think that the USC offense has a single doubter in the country; the fate of their college football playoff dreams rests on the shoulders of that defense. Look for them to steadily improve as the season progresses.

#7 Penn State

There won’t be much to learn about Penn State this week, seeing as they are playing Delaware, but we did learn a lot about them last week when they took on West Virginia. The biggest takeaway was that the Drew Allar hype is real. The former #1 overall QB recruit in 2022 showed us he is the real deal by throwing 21 of 29, 325 yards, and three touchdowns. The offensive line looked solid, KeAndre Lambert-Smith looked explosive, and the defense held up. The biggest thing with Penn State this year will be getting consistent play from both sides of the ball. They have the skill to compete for a playoff spot, but they need it all to come together on a weekly basis. The good news for them is they have a reasonable amount of time to gel before their big game against Ohio State on October 21st.

#8 Washington

Washington will be looking to improve the defensive side of the ball this week against Tulsa, who don’t have a horrible offense in their own right. In week 1, Washington allowed 402 yards of offense to be racked up against them by Boise State and allowed 21 first downs and nearly 5 yards per carry. In order to be considered a playoff contender, that defense will need to tighten up as the season progresses and show improvement throughout the year. Now, when you take a look at the Huskies’ offense, it’s clear they are one of the best in the nation. This offense will be good enough to compete with anyone in the Nation this season, led by senior quarterback Micheal Penix Jr. and one of the best-receiving pairs in the country in Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan. I’m looking for an improved defensive performance against Tulsa this week to prove to me that Washington has what it takes on both sides of the ball to call themselves contenders this season.

#9 Tennessee

Like some of the other teams on this list, little will be learned this week about the Volunteers, as they are taking on Austin Peay in week 2. Despite that, Tennessee looked impressive during their week one matchup against Virginia. Joe Milton looked more mature, the Vols running game looked overwhelming, and the defense held Virginia to only 201 total yards. What I want to see out of Tennessee this week is the continued maturation of Joe Milton; if he can prove he has gotten that giant arm of his under control and he can guide and direct that offense, Tennessee has the potential to be scary good this season.

#10 Note Dame

Over their first two games this season, the fighting Irish have been about as dominant as a team could be, outscoring their opponents a combined 98-6. But this week, they finally get their first real test when they travel to Raleigh and take on the 1-0 NC State Wolfpack. Notre Dame has proven their defense is elite over the last two weeks. Granted, they have played two inferior opponents (Navy and Tennessee State), but they held them to under 170 total yards in both games and didn’t allow a single touchdown. The key with Notre Dame, similar to Penn State, will be getting consistent play from both sides of the ball week in and week out. The Irish must show they can relieve some of the pressure off Sam Hartman with their running game, and Audric Estime has been doing that over the last two weeks. I want to see if that Notre Dame running game can pick up and if the offense can be above average every week. They can have a fantastic season if they can accomplish those two things.

#11 Texas

As I said earlier, the Texas versus Alabama game is the game of the week. Texas showed some strengths and weaknesses in their first game vs. Rice that Alabama will definitely be looking to exploit this weekend. To start with Texas’s strengths, Quinn Ewers looked great, Xavier Worthy once again looked like a significant receiving threat, and the run defense was astonishingly good. Despite those good areas, the Longhorns showed a lot of red flags:

  • The offensive line wasn’t great, allowing three sacks, eight tackles for loss
  • Averaged 4 yards per carry against a Rice defense they should have dominated
  • The running game never got going like it should have, with their leading rusher having just 55 yards
  • The offense got off to a slow start, only scoring 16 first-half points
  • Possession time was split 31:36 (Texas) to 28:24 (Rice)

I want to see the Longhorns come out against Alabama and clean up their offensive line play, get their running game going to relieve pressure on Quinn Ewers, and get off to a better start so as not to dig themselves into a hole to start the game. If Texas plays like they did versus Rice, it will be a long night for them.

The Nashville Predators’ Intriguing Free Agency Moves: Rebuilding or Retooling?

In an unexpected turn of events on the first day of free agency, the Nashville Predators made some surprising acquisitions, inking deals with three veteran players: Ryan O’Reilly, Luke Schenn, and Gustav Nyquist. The signings came hot on the heels of a roster shake-up earlier in the week, which saw the Predators bid farewell to star forward Matt Duchene (who has now signed with the Dallas Stars) and sent longtime centerman Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche in a trade. The combination of these moves over the last few days has confused some fans about the team’s direction and long-term strategy. In this short overview, I want to take a look at these moves from a few angles and try and figure out the rationale behind these decisions.

Earlier in the week, speculation ran rampant after the buyout of Duchene’s contract and the departure of Ryan Johansen, with fans curious about what the freed-up cap space and empty roster spots could mean regarding the team’s future. Were they clearing cap space for a blockbuster acquisition? Or perhaps a big trade move was in the works?

Just hours after free agency began, the sudden signings of three players, all aged 32 or above, caught many off guard. Only a few short days ago, General Manager Barry Trotz stated that the team wouldn’t be active in the free agency market. Their focus seemed to be centered on opening up the roster for young players to receive a more significant role to make their mark on the squad. So, the acquisition of O’Reilly, Schenn, and Nyquist rightly left some fans surprised and perplexed.

The trio of new players for the Predators starkly contrasts the culture and work ethic left behind by Duchene and Johansen. They embody the qualities of seasoned veterans and natural leaders, precisely the kind of role models needed to guide and inspire the young players on the roster. Their influence could prove to be invaluable for nurturing the talents of the up-and-coming players.

Yet, opinions on the signings are divided. Some feel that bringing in these veterans will take valuable playing time away from the young players who stepped up so much last season. While others feel signing these experienced players is crucial to the development of the teams’ younger talents. They believe that a healthy mix of seasoned professionals and promising prospects is the recipe for success in the long run.

Sometimes a rebuild isn’t necessarily about hitting rock bottom; instead, it’s about resetting or reviving the team’s culture, which can be effectively achieved with the right veterans in place.

It’s evident that Trotz has a clear vision for his version of the Predators, which revolves around instilling a winning locker room culture with proven winners.

For those puzzled by the signings, there’s a compelling rationale behind it. The front office is looking to infuse the team with veterans who epitomize hard work and professionalism. The departures of Duchene and Johansen paved the way for this new veteran group, aimed at setting an example for the young players on how to conduct themselves on and off the ice.

While some fans might wonder if the money spent on the trio could have been allocated differently, I believe it’s essential to trust in Trotz’s plan and give him the benefit of the doubt until we see how his plan works out. The Predators already boast an impressive pool of prospects, and investing in experienced players is a calculated risk that could propel the team forward and foster a thriving culture for the young players to walk into.

Ultimately, whether these signings lead to a rebuilding phase or a retooling strategy remains to be fully seen. What’s clear is that the Predators are charting their own path, and it’s a journey that fans should be eager to witness. The new blend of veteran wisdom and youthful energy could be the key to unlocking this team’s true potential.

2023 Nashville Predators Complete Draft Recap and Player Breakdown

Matthew Wood Drafted 15th overall (Ranked 20th on my big board, average consensus rank is 13th)

Tanner Molendyk Drafted 24th overall (Ranked 64th on my big board, average consensus rank is 40th)

Felix Nilsson Drafted 43rd overall (Ranked 67th on my big board, average consensus rank is 75th)

Kalan Lind Drafted 46th overall (Ranked 75th on my big board, average consensus rank is 50th)

Jesse Kiiskinen Drafted 68th overall (Ranked 18th on my big board, average consensus rank is 67th)

Dylan MacKinnon Drafted 83rd overall (Not on my top 116 big board, average consensus rank is 98th)

Joey Willis Drafted 111th overall (Not on my top 116 big board, average consensus rank is 120th)

Juha Jatkola Drafted 121st overall (Not on my top 116 big board, average consensus rank is 145th)

Sutter Muzzatti Drafted 143rd overall (Not on my top 116 big board, average consensus rank is N/A)

Austin Roest Drafted 175th overall (Not on my top 116 big board, average consensus rank is 129th)

Aiden Fink Drafted 218th overall (Ranked 48th on my big board, average consensus rank is 100th)

When it comes to evaluating the Nashville Predators’ draft picks, one cannot easily pinpoint any players who could be deemed as outright “steals” based on their draft positions. While Matthew Wood, selected 15th overall, could be considered a reasonable choice given his average consensus ranking of 13, it doesn’t necessarily scream out as an impressive or noteworthy selection in terms of value. Personally, I had him slotted in at the 20th spot on my big board, which makes it somewhat of a slight reach in my estimation.

Now, let’s delve into the rankings for the Predators’ second pick, Tanner Molendyk, taken at the 24th spot overall. It’s worth mentioning that my big board had him ranked 64th, while the consensus ranking had him pegged as the 40th-best prospect. Once again, this selection leans more towards the reach category rather than an exceptional value pick.

Examining the first two choices made by the Predators, it becomes evident that they had their sights set on these players but failed to acquire great value in the process. However, two names do stand out when discussing value acquisitions. First up is Jesse Kiiskinen, the 68th overall pick, who remarkably secured the 18th spot on my big board. The average consensus rank positioned him as the 67th-best prospect in the entire draft. Another player who surprisingly slipped down the draft order was Aiden Fink, nabbed by the Predators at the 218th spot in the seventh round. From my evaluation, Fink ranked as the 48th best prospect, while the average consensus placed him at 100th. This late-round steal truly caught my attention, as I anticipated his name being called much earlier.

All in all, the Predators executed a solid draft strategy, focusing on players that catered to their specific needs rather than simply selecting the best available prospect. While they may not have secured any groundbreaking steals, the aforementioned Kiiskinen and Fink certainly represent valuable additions to the organization.

Preds Prospect Overviews:

Matthew Wood: Wood is a standout 18-year-old forward from the NCAA’s Huskies and has emerged as one of the most promising prospects in college hockey. His improved wrist shot, characterized by a well-maintained distance between his feet and hands, has become a potent weapon, allowing him to shoot accurately from various positions and even in motion. Wood’s ability to seamlessly chain together plays, whether it’s making decisive passes under pressure or executing toe-drags to create shooting opportunities, showcases his exceptional offensive instincts. Standing at an imposing 6-foot-4 and weighing 197 pounds, Wood’s lethal shot, averaging approximately three per game, has caught the attention of many scouts, who laud him as a big power forward with an amazing ability to find the back of the net. With continued development, Wood’s raw talent and scoring prowess could propel him to great heights at the NHL level.

Tanner Molendyk: A skillful and smooth-skating blueliner, he stands out with his exceptional agility, mobility, and speed. His ability to elude opponents in all areas of the ice and create scoring chances is a testament to his confidence and patience in decision-making. Despite his smaller stature, Molendyk plays bigger than his size, delivering impactful open-ice hits. His offensive instincts are often overlooked, as his point total doesn’t fully reflect his threat to generate offensive chances. Defensively, he excels and is relied upon as a valuable contributor on the penalty kill. In the 2023 Draft class, Molendyk’s standout feature is his unmatched skating ability, characterized by his explosive speed, flawless transitions, and precise stick work. With his accurate shot and strong transition game, he proves himself to be a capable two-way defender.

Felix Nilsson: Nilsson is a well-rounded center with a high hockey IQ and excellent playmaking abilities. His strong vision and mental awareness enable him to create scoring opportunities for his teammates through precise passing and quick decision-making. While not necessarily elite in any specific aspect, Nilsson’s above-average skills in all areas of the game make him a reliable player who excels both offensively and defensively. With his continued development, Nilsson has the potential to become a valuable third-line center in the NHL, capable of contributing to both even-strength play and power play.

Kalan Lind: A fearless and physical player whose skills are tied together by his unending intensity. With a knack for making big hits and winning body positioning, Lind also demonstrates subtle brilliance in his game. He excels at tying up opponents around his own net, setting picks, and creating seamless breakouts. Additionally, his simple yet effective style stands out as he uses his speed to drive straight to the net, forcing the opposition to back up and creating space for himself. Lind’s ability to find loose pucks and finish scoring opportunities, particularly when crashing the crease, showcases his sixth sense on the ice. His aggressive play, relentless forechecking, and ability to get under opponents’ skin make him a challenging player to face. Lind’s all-around game is evident as he competes in all areas of the ice, consistently emptying the tank between whistles. With continued development, he is poised to become a bottom-six forward who excels on the penalty kill while also providing decent offensive production. As Lind gains more weight, his physicality will become an even greater asset in the NHL.

Jesse Kiiskinen: Kiiskinen is an exceptionally driven player who never quits on a play. His relentless work ethic shines through in his tenacious forechecking, catching defenders off-guard, and making key defensive contributions. Kiiskinen’s offensive skills are particularly impressive, as he possesses a powerful shot and the ability to both score goals and make precise passes. With further development, his skating and strength will only improve, making him an even greater threat on the ice. Kiiskinen’s leadership qualities are evident in his “lead by example” style of play, and while his potential is initially projected as a third-line winger, his young age and room for growth suggest the possibility of reaching second-line status with proper development.

Dylan MacKinnon: MacKinnon is a reliable and adaptable defenseman who excels in his defensive responsibilities. His solid skating stance and active stick allow him to effectively defend against opposing rushes, while his strong presence in the neutral zone ensures he maintains excellent gap control. MacKinnon’s physicality and net-front coverage skills make him a difficult player to go up against, and as his offensive abilities continue to develop, he has the potential to become a valuable second-pairing shutdown defenseman in the NHL. Whether protecting a lead or making a game-changing defensive play, MacKinnon is a player who consistently rises to the occasion.

Aiden Fink: The standout player in Canada’s Junior A circuit this season, possesses an impressive arsenal of skills that make him a formidable force on the ice. With his exceptional speed, energy, and anticipation, Fink sets the tempo of play and consistently executes the best offensive plays. His NHL-caliber shot, combined with his creative playmaking ability, forces defenders to make difficult choices. Fink’s ability to maneuver with the puck at high speeds, as well as his contributions to the success of the Brooks Bandits, demonstrate his potential to excel at higher levels. While he may be smaller in stature, Fink’s exceptional puck skills, craftiness, and timing in the offensive zone indicate that he has the potential to become a middle-six winger in the NHL. With further development and increased physicality, Fink’s speed and shot alone make him a strong candidate for an NHL bottom-six role.

Short Snapshots: Nashville Predators Trade Ryan Johansen

In a significant roster shakeup, the Nashville Predators have traded their longtime centerman, Ryan Johansen, to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk. This move not only underscores the Predators’ commitment to revamping their team but also shows their financial strategy by retaining 50% of Johansen’s contract over the next two seasons, perhaps freeing up some cap space for a larger offseason move. As the dust settles on this trade, let us delve into the intricacies and potential ramifications for the Predators.

Ryan Johansen, known for his mercurial performances over the last few seasons and his outstanding playmaking abilities, had been a cornerstone of the Predators’ forward line for nearly a decade. However, his inconsistency and recent injury proneness rendered him a questionable investment against his hefty $8 million per year contract. By trading Johansen away, the Predators have freed up cap space and relieved themselves of a player who failed to live up to the expectations set by his substantial salary.
When you look at the acquisition of Alex Galchenyuk in this trade (if they even choose to sign him), the Predators secured a former third-overall pick who has experienced both success and setbacks during his NHL career. While Galchenyuk spent the previous season in the AHL, his past achievements as a consistent near 20-goal scorer stand out. Although his role on the Predators’ roster remains uncertain, his potential utility makes him an intriguing addition. The Predators may have seen something in Galchenyuk that could contribute to their plans, or they might let him walk in free agency.

With Johansen’s departure from the team, the Predators are poised to embrace the emergence of younger talent throughout the entire roster. The likely candidates to fill the Center role moving forward are the promising Cody Glass and Tommmy Novak, who both showcased their improvement and skills last season. Glass, at the age of 24, and Novak, at the age of 26, present perfect bridge pieces for the team’s ongoing rebuild, with the potential to provide stability and contribute to the Predators’ offensive prowess for the foreseeable future.
This trade may also signify the Predators’ desire to make a substantial splash in the trade market this offseason. General Manager Barry Trotz has already voiced his disinterest in this season’s free agency options, hinting at the team’s intention to utilize the newly available resources. With the freed-up cap space and an arsenal of draft picks acquired through last season’s trades, the Predators are now in an ideal position to pursue top-tier available players. Alex DeBrincat, a name linked to the Predators in recent weeks, could fit the bill, bringing much-needed offensive talent and scoring ability to the team.
Regardless of the team’s motivations behind this trade, Ryan Johansen’s departure will undoubtedly leave a void in Nashville. The fans and his teammates will miss his contributions on and off the ice. However, this trade represents a calculated move by the Predators to shed cap space, rejuvenate their roster, and position themselves for future success. As the NHL offseason unfolds, the Predators possess the financial flexibility and assets to make significant moves in the trade market, ensuring an intriguing and transformative period for the franchise.

Best NFL UDFAs in 2023:


  1. Tanner Morgan (Steelers)
  2. Tyson Bagnet (Bears)


  1. Sean Tucker (Buccaneers)
  2. Keaton Mitchell (Ravens)
  3. Mohamed Ibrahim (Lions)


  1. Bryce Ford Wheaton (Giants)
  2. Jalen Moreno-Cropper (Dallas)
  3. Jason Brownlee (Jets)
  4. Malik Knowles (Vikings)
  5. Michael Jefferson


  1. Joel Wilson (Saints)
  2. Noah Gindorff (Seattle)
  3. Blake Whiteheart (Cardinals)
  4. Travis Vokolek (Ravens)


  1. Jaxson Kirkland (Bengals)
  2. John Ojukwu (Titans)
  3. Earl Bostick Jr. (Dallas)
  4. T.J. Bass (Dallas)
  5. Connor Galvin (Lions)


  1. Emil Ekiyor Jr. (Colts)
  2. McClendon Curtis (Bears)
  3. Richard Gouraige (Bills)
  4. Alan Ali (Vikings)


  1. Andre Carter (Vikings)
  2. Ali Gaye (Texans)
  3. Lonnie Phelps (Browns)
  4. Habakkuk Baldonado (Giants)


  1. Jerrod Clark (Chargers)
  2. Jalen Redmond (Panthers)
  3. Jonah Tavai (Seattle)
  4. DJ Dale (Bills)


  1. Ivan Pace (Vikings)
  2. Cam Jones (Chiefs)
  3. Jeremy Banks (Bucs)
  4. Isaiah Moore (Chiefs)
  5. Anfernee Orji (Saints)


  1. Thomas Incoom (Denver)
  2. Isaiah Land (Dallas)
  3. Brenton Cox Jr. (Packers)
  4. Tyrus Wheat (Dallas)


  1. Eli Ricks (Eagles)
  2. Rejzohn Wright (Panthers)
  3. Cameron Brown (Giants)
  4. Starling Thomas (Lions)
  5. Mekhi Garner (Eagles)
  6. Lance Boykin (Seattle)


  1. Ronnie Hickman (Browns)
  2. Brandon Joseph (Lions)
  3. Quindell Johnson (Rams)
  4. Trey Dean III (Jets)
  5. Rashad Torrence (Rams)

Short Snapshots: The Will Levis Dilemma

As the NFL Draft progresses, it is not uncommon for unexpected things to happen. As of just one day ago, Will Levis was thought to be a potential Top 5 pick as he had become the Vegas betting favorite to go second overall. However, as the first round of the draft passed, Levis shockingly remained undrafted.

For many teams, trading up to draft a quarterback in the second round can be a tricky decision, but for the Tennessee Titans, it might be the perfect opportunity to solve their quarterback dilemma for the upcoming season and perhaps beyond.

Although some fans and may have been hesitant to draft Levis as a top pick in the draft, he still has the potential to develop into a very good game managing Quarterback, making him an excellent prospect for a second-round pick. If Levis is still available when the Titans are on the clock, or if it takes trading up in the second round to draft him, it might be wise to take a chance on him.

Looking ahead to the next season, it is uncertain what the Titans’ quarterback situation will look like. Ryan Tannehill will be 35 years old, and his time in Tennessee might be coming to an end. If Levis is drafted this season, he will have a year to learn from Tannehill and prepare himself for the starting role in the future, which would be very valuable for a player like Levis. He has proven himself to be a talented quarterback during his time at Kentucky, and being drafted in the second round while getting a chance to sit behind a veteran like Tannehill would be an excellent opportunity for him to continue his growth as a player. With no immediate pressure to perform as a starter, Levis could focus on learning and developing his skills, ultimately making him a more prepared Quarterback and a valuable asset for the Titans.

Moreover, and perhaps most important, drafting Levis would solve the Titans’ quarterback issues for next season. By having a young and talented quarterback like Levis on his rookie contract, the Titans could allocate their resources to other areas of need on the team.

The decision to draft Will Levis in the second round might be the best move for the Tennessee Titans. By drafting him, the Titans could solve their quarterback issues for the upcoming season while also securing a valuable asset for the future. Although Levis was not the top pick many expected him to be, he still has solid upside as a second-round pick, making him a worthy investment for any team looking for a quarterback of the future.