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.

Short Snapshots: Will Joakim Kemell have a spot on the Nashville Predators Roster next Season?

Kemell has been making waves in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Milwaukee Admirals so far this season. With a keen eye for space and a deadly shot, Kemell has been one of the AHL’s most exciting young players to end the regular season, ranking ninth in the league in win-share percentage per game for players 21 years old or younger (as of April 23rd, 2023). But with the NHL offseason looming, some Preds fans are asking: “Will Kemell make the jump to the Predators roster this coming season, or will he continue his development in the AHL?” Let’s dive into this question a bit. There is no denying that Kemell’s skill set is impressive. He has a knack for finding open space and positioning himself for scoring opportunities, and his shooting ability is top-notch. He’s not afraid to get creative with the puck and take on defenders, making him an entertaining player to watch. Despite being 5’11”, Kemell plays with a lot of jump, physicality, and more grit than most people give him credit for. Even though he’s been having impressive AHL performances, there are still concerns about Kemell’s readiness for the NHL. The Nashville Predators have a history of being patient with young prospects in the organization, giving them time to develop in the AHL, perhaps longer than other NHL teams would in some cases. Kemell is still adjusting to North American ice after playing in Finland his entire career, and depending on how he performs in the Calder playoffs this year, he may need another season in the AHL before jumping to the NHL to fully adjust and refine his skills on an American rink. 

The Predators will have a lot of players vying for a spot on the wing next season. Veterans like Mark Jankowski, Michael McCarron, Cole Smith, and Keifer Sherwood will all be fighting for a spot, and that’s not even including young players such as Egor Afanasyev, Luke Evangelista, and Phil Tomasino. All these players will be in the mix for the last few wing spots on the roster, and a few very talented players arent going to make the cut. Given Nashville’s tendency to keep young players in Milwaukee, it’s unlikely that Kemell will get the nod over these more experienced players. That being said, Kemell’s performance in the AHL this season has been encouraging, and he has proved that he could adapt to North American ice and excel in a smaller rink. His ability to score goals and make plays will undoubtedly catch the attention of Nashville’s coaching staff in training camp and preseason. While it’s unlikely he’ll make the roster next season, the future looks bright for this young Finnish star.  

Who is Reid Schaefer? Introducing the Nashville Predators new Young Prospect:

The Nashville Predators have recently acquired promising wing prospect Reid Schaefer from the Edmonton Oilers in a package in exchange for Mattias Ekholm. Schaefer was drafted 32nd overall in the 2022 NHL Draft by Edmonton and stands at an impressive 6’3″ and weighs 215 lb, fitting the Predators’ mold of big wingers. At just 19 years old, Schaefer has a lot of time to develop and improve his game and, hopefully, one day make an impact on this Predators roster.

Schaefer has already proven himself to be a formidable player in the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season, with 23 goals and 24 assists in 44 games, earning a plus-minus rating of plus 21; he is expected to become a 30-goal scorer with 29 assists this season, demonstrating his ability to both score as well as his unselfishness and ability dish the puck to his teammates.

Schaefer was one of the fastest risers in the rankings leading up to the draft, jumping an impressive 54 spots from 85th to 31st, according to NHL Central Scouting rankings. As a draft prospect, Schaefer was ranked by Elite Prospects at #102, FCHockey at #55, TSN/Craig Button at #20, McKeen’s Hockey at #64, TSN/McKenzie at #37, and NHL Central Scouting at #31.

Schaefer’s draft profile highlights his ceiling as one of the next good power forwards in the league but acknowledges that he has a lot of improvement that’s needed and that he has room to grow and develop. As a raw player, his impact will depend on his development, but his size, physicality, and scoring touch make him an exciting prospect to keep an eye on.

Experts have described Schaefer as a power winger who plays a tough, physical game but can also score and make plays when needed. He is known for protecting the puck well, being strong along the boards and in front of the net, as well as possessing sharp offensive capabilities for a big forward. Schaefer’s NHL appeal lies in his excellent puck skills, scoring touch, and ability to create offense around the net. While he may currently be seen as a bottom-six forward with upside, he has the potential to become a valuable player in special teams situations as well as being a regular top-six forward.

Overall, the Nashville Predators acquired an impressive young prospect who has demonstrated his ability to be a physical and effective player on the ice. With time and development, he has the potential to become an important part of the team and make a significant impact in the NHL.

Top Coaching Candidates To Replace John Hynes as the Nashville Predators Coach: (Outside the Organization)

As we near the end of the current season, the coaching carousel is already in full swing, and many names are being thrown into the mix to potentially replace John Hines. After much consideration and analysis, I’ve compiled a list of my top coaching candidates, featuring a diverse range of individuals who bring unique skills and experiences. Some candidates are seasoned veterans looking for a fresh start, while others are up-and-comers eager to establish themselves as top-tier coaches in the NHL. Regardless of their background, these coaches have all demonstrated an ability to lead and inspire, making them worthy contenders.


Patrick Roy (57 years old)

  • Points Percentage: 62.6%
  • Playoff Win-Loss Percentage: 42.8%
  • Stanley Cup Appearances: 0
  • Made Playoffs in 33% of years coached
  • Coached 100-point teams 33% of the time
  • Jack Adams Award Winner (2013-14)

In the realm of the NHL, few names carry as much weight and respect as Patrick Roy. With a storied playing career and a wealth of coaching accolades, Roy embodies the essence of a true leader behind the bench. Fondly referred to as “Saint Patrick,” his remarkable achievements and unique coaching style make him an ideal fit for the Nashville Predators.
Roy’s playing days were split between two renowned franchises: the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche. Over his illustrious 19-year career, he captured the hearts of fans and the attention of the hockey world. The iconic goaltender secured an impressive four Stanley Cups, with two triumphs for each team he represented.
Acknowledged as the greatest goaltender in NHL history, Roy’s legacy extends beyond his remarkable on-ice performances. The influential netminder was deservedly inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 13, 2006, forever solidifying his place among the sport’s elite.
However, it is Roy’s coaching prowess that truly sets him apart. In the 2013–14 season, he steered the Colorado Avalanche to a staggering 112-point season, capturing the Central Division title. The team’s remarkable accomplishments included tying a franchise record with 52 wins, boasting the league’s best road record, and an impressive undefeated streak when leading after two periods. Roy was bestowed with the Jack Adams Award for his invaluable contributions, recognized as the NHL’s top coach. This accolade marked his ability to inspire greatness in his players and lead them to unprecedented success.
Beyond his NHL achievements, Roy’s coaching prowess extends to his tenure in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). For an impressive 13 years, from 2005 to 2013 and then again from 2018 to 2023, he commanded the helm of the Quebec Remparts.
Roy’s teams made the playoffs every season he coached, highlighting his consistency and ability to develop winning cultures. Additionally, he steered his squad to first-place finishes in the division for an impressive six out of the 13 seasons—an undeniable testament to his coaching acumen and ability to foster a winning environment.
Perhaps one of Roy’s greatest assets lies in his reputation as a players’ coach. Known for his unwavering support and defense of his players, he strikes a delicate balance between advocating for his team while also holding them accountable. Although occasionally drawing attention, his outspokenness and aggression showcase his commitment to honesty and integrity, traits that have earned him respect throughout the league.
As Nathan MacKinnon, one of Roy’s former players, revealed, “I didn’t realize how smart he’d be. He understands the game so well… It’s only my second season, but I’m sure he’s one of the most progressive coaches in the league.” MacKinnon’s words illuminate Roy’s ability to think strategically and adapt to the evolving nature of the sport. This progressive mindset, coupled with his genuine passion and competitive drive, make him an ideal mentor for the Nashville Predators’ young squad.
In a league where communication and connection with players are paramount, Roy’s relatability shines through. He possesses the unique ability to make his players feel appreciated, heard, and valued, fostering a positive and supportive environment. This aspect becomes even more crucial when working with a young team like the Predators, where guidance and mentorship are vital for player development.
Patrick Roy’s illustrious playing career, combined with his remarkable coaching accomplishments, make him an ideal fit for the Nashville Predators. His unique coaching style, ability to inspire greatness, and dedication to player development set him apart as a top-tier coach in the NHL. With his expertise, experience, and winning mindset he brings, Roy would undoubtedly lead the Predators to new levels of success and establish a culture of excellence within the organization.

Alain Vigneault (61 years old)

  • Points Percentage: 58.5%
  • Playoff Win-Loss Percentage: 50.3%
  • Stanley Cup Appearances: 2 (0-2)
  • Made Playoffs in 63% of years coached
  • Coached 100-point teams 42% of the time
  • Jack Adams Award Winner (2006-7)

Thanks to his illustrious track record, Alain Vigneault is a prime contender for the head coach position at the Nashville Predators. Over the years, he has managed to have success with several teams, including the Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers. In 2007, he clinched the prestigious Jack Adams Award, which recognizes the NHL’s top coach of the year. During his time in Vancouver, he became the Canucks all-time winningest coach with 313 wins, winning back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies and appearing in one Stanley Cup Final.

His innovative approach to the game sets Vigneault apart from other coaches. He employs modern tactics that allow his star players to shine, experimenting with his roster to maximize their potential. Vigneault is adept at reading the opposition, strategically deploying his players to exploit their weak points and gain a competitive edge. His resource management skills are unparalleled, making him one of the finest coaches in the world. Moreover, Vigneault has a proven track record in player development, taking Vancouver’s prospects and young talent to the next level.

If securing a coach with a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success in the NHL is of paramount importance to the Nashville Predators, Alain Vigneault undoubtedly ticks all those boxes.

Claude Julien (62 years old)

  • Points Percentage: 58.7%
  • Playoff Win-Loss Percentage: 54.4%
  • Stanley Cup Appearances: 2 (1-1)
  • Made Playoffs in 52.6% of years coached
  • Coached 100-point teams 26.3% of the time
  • Jack Adams Award Winner (2008-9)

Claude Julien’s impressive coaching career speaks volumes, highlighted by his stellar points percentage of 58.7% and a Stanley Cup championship win with the Boston Bruins in 2011. Throughout his illustrious career, he has led his teams to the playoffs an impressive ten times, enjoying deep runs in several appearances. One of Julien’s notable strengths is his ability to create a solid defensive foundation through sound structures and effective systems. He strongly emphasizes defense, but not at the expense of offense, as evidenced by his Bruins team being one of the better possession teams in the NHL after the 2012 lockout. With a talented forward corps and an elite goaltender anchoring the defense, Julien’s strategic approach could be an ideal fit for the Nashville Predators. With his guidance, the Predators’ young core could develop into a formidable team capable of challenging for the Stanley Cup in the coming years.

Dan Bylsma (52 years old)

  • Points Percentage: 61.5%
  • Playoff Win-Loss Percentage: 55.1%
  • Stanley Cup Appearances: 1 (1-0)
  • Made Playoffs in 75% of years coached
  • Coached 100-point teams 50% of the time
  • Jack Adams Award Winner (2010-11)

Dan Bylsma could be the right coach to lead the Nashville Predators to glory. His impressive track record speaks volumes; with a points percentage of 61.5% and a playoff win-loss percentage of 55.1%, Bylsma has the experience and winning mentality the Predators need. He led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup championship in 2009 and reached the playoffs in 75% of the years he coached while boasting a 50% success rate with 100-point teams. Bylsma’s coaching philosophy is rooted in a north-south style of play, with an emphasis on quick, long stretch passes that keep opponents off balance. His system can be complex, but it has proven to be effective, as evidenced by his Jack Adams Award for the league’s most outstanding coach in 2010-2011. Bylsma’s offbeat approach to motivating his players, such as rewarding the last player to score in a shootout practice with the responsibility of growing a mustache, could be what the Predators need to lighten the mood in the locker room. All things considered, Dan Bylsma’s winning record and innovative coaching style make him a prime candidate for the Nashville Predators’ head coaching position.

Bruce Boudreau (68 years old)

  • Points Percentage: 62.6%
  • Playoff Win-Loss Percentage: 47.8%
  • Stanley Cup Appearances: 0 (0-0)
  • Made Playoffs in 62.5% of years coached
  • Coached 100-point teams 50% of the time
  • Jack Adams Award Winner (2007-8)

Former Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau presents a promising candidate for the Nashville Predators’ head coaching position. With an impressive coaching record that includes a Jack Adams Award win and experience with four different NHL teams, Boudreau has demonstrated his ability to lead teams to success in the regular season. Notably, he ranks second in NHL history for coaches with at least 900 games coached in terms of winning percentage. He has turned around struggling teams midseason, such as when he took over the Washington Capitals in 2007 and led them to their first playoff appearance in five years.

Boudreau’s coaching style centers around a fast-paced, “run and gun” approach to offense that has yielded success for players such as Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Bäckström during his time with the Capitals. Additionally, Boudreau has a track record of developing players and helping them achieve career years, such as Ryan Getzlaf, Nick Bonino, and Mikael Granlund. His brief time with the Vancouver Canucks also demonstrated his ability to make an impact with a team in a short period.

Overall, Boudreau’s extensive experience, impressive coaching accolades, and player development skills make him a strong contender for the Nashville Predators’ head coaching position.

Bob Hartley (62 years old)

  • Points Percentage: 55.4%
  • Playoff Win-Loss Percentage: 56.8%
  • Stanley Cup Appearances: 1 (1-0)
  • Made Playoffs in 50% of years coached
  • Coached 100-point teams 16.6% of the time
  • Jack Adams Award Winner (2014-15)

Bob Hartley possesses a wealth of experience that could make him a top-notch head coach for the Nashville Predators. With a notable career that boasts a Stanley Cup victory with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001, the Jack Adams Award in 2014-15, and wins of the Calder Cup and NLA championship, Hartley’s credentials are impressive, to say the least. Notably, Hartley’s coaching philosophy revolves around defense-first tactics, which would align perfectly with the Predators’ historical style of play. Moreover, Hartley is recognized for his strict discipline, willing to sit even his most talented players if tardiness or lack of effort becomes an issue. His commitment to success is also evidenced by his unyielding work ethic and exceptional motivational skills. By joining the Nashville Predators’, Hartley could be the key that unlocks their potential and elevates the team to greater heights.

Young Coaches:

If the Nashville Predators are looking for a fresh and promising option for their head coach, grooming a talented assistant coach could be a great avenue to explore. A young and ambitious coach who has been affiliated with successful NHL teams and has firsthand experience with winning cultures, strategies, and teams could be the perfect candidate for the job.

With the recent appointment of General Manager Barry Trotz, he could potentially take the reins and mentor this budding coach throughout the entirety of the rebuild process. This approach would allow for a smooth transition and continuity in the team’s development.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that all the coaches listed possess substantial NHL experience, including time spent as players. This experience could prove valuable as they strive to lead the Nashville Predators toward a bright and successful future.

Chris Kelly (42 years old) – Assistant coach for the Boston Bruins

  • NHL Games Played: 845
  • NHL Point Shares: 24.1
  • NHL Plus Minus: +40

Throughout his playing career, Kelly was widely renowned for his superb two-way defensive style, which earned him an impressive four nominations for the coveted Selke Trophy. On three separate occasions, Kelly secured a place in the top 30 of the voting category, a testament to his defensive prowess and immense value to his teams. Moreover, as a member of the Boston Bruins, Kelly played a pivotal role in helping his team clinch the Stanley Cup in 2011, a career highlight that endowed him with a wealth of experience on a championship-winning team.

Following his retirement from playing in 2018, Kelly successfully transitioned to coaching, initially joining the Ottawa Senators as a development coach before earning a well-deserved promotion to the Boston Bruins in 2021. As a member of one of the NHL’s most successful teams, Kelly had the unique opportunity to observe first-hand the inner workings of a high-performing locker room and the strategies that drive such success. Indeed, Kelly’s commitment to excellence and winning mindset as a player and a coach make him a potentially valuable addition to the Nashville Predators’ coaching staff, offering the team a unique perspective and a wealth of experience.

Tim Gleason (40 years old) – Assistant coach to the Carolina Hurricanes

  • NHL Games Played: 727
  • NHL Point Shares: 26.7
  • NHL Plus Minus: -37

Tim Gleason, a former first-round pick from Ottawa and current assistant coach for the Carolina Hurricanes, represents a compelling prospect for a head coaching position. Known for his tough and gritty style of play during his playing days, Gleason was appointed assistant coach to the Carolina Hurricanes on September 2nd, 2021, and has made an immediate impact.

As a coaching staff member for one of the NHL’s most high-scoring and electrifying teams, Gleason has had the opportunity to observe and contribute to the team’s significant success over the past few seasons. His role has been integral in developing the team’s strategies, tactics, and style of play, and his influence has been apparent on the ice.

Manny Malhotra (42 years old) – Assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs

  • NHL Games Played: 991
  • NHL Point Shares: 20.8
  • NHL Plus Minus: -26

Manny Malhotra’s reputation as a well-rounded player and sportsman precedes him, having garnered multiple Byng and Selke Trophy votes throughout his playing career. His accolades include winning the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year award in ’98, and the Memorial Cup’s Most Sportsmanlike Player award the same year. Notably, Malhotra played alongside the legendary Wayne Gretzky, making him the last active player to do so.

As a two-way forward, Malhotra was a faceoff specialist, winning over 56% of faceoffs taken during his NHL career. Since retiring, Malhotra has transitioned to coaching, joining the Vancouver Canucks as an assistant coach in 2017 and later moving to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2020. He has been privy to the inner workings of successful NHL teams, observing their strategies and tactics firsthand.

With years of coaching experience behind him and an intimate understanding of what it takes to succeed in the NHL, Malhotra should be a top contender for a head coaching position.

Tuomo Ruutu (40 years old) – Assistant coach with the Florida Panthers

  • NHL Games Played: 735
  • NHL Point Shares: 31.9
  • NHL Plus Minus: -70

Tuomo Ruutu was a force to be reckoned with during his time in the NHL. The 9th overall pick in the 2001 draft, Ruutu made an immediate impact in his rookie season, finishing 6th in Calder Trophy voting. His hard-nosed playstyle made him a fan favorite, as he accumulated over 1500 career hits and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with opponents.

After his playing days, Ruutu transitioned to coaching and was recently hired as an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers in June 2021. As one of the top teams in the NHL, the Panthers have been a great learning environment for Ruutu, who has been able to contribute to their success. Additionally, his experience in player development as Assistant Director of Player Development with the New York Rangers adds another valuable area of expertise to his coaching abilities.

Although he may be less experienced than other candidates, Ruutu’s unique background and skillset make him a fascinating option for a head coaching position. His gritty playing style and understanding of the game could translate well to coaching, and he has already proven to be a valuable asset to the Panthers’ coaching staff.

How should the Predators Solve their Early Season Struggles

Before we get into solutions first we need to pin down what is going wrong with the Predators. I believe there are three things that have to improve for the Predators to get back their winning ways. Problem One is the Third line defense; they have been atrocious this year having an overall plus-minus of Minus 6. The obvious weak links on Defense are Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber, Irwin has a team-worst plus-minus at -5  and has 1 assist in eight games played and Weber has a plus-minus of -1 and has not recorded a single point in 13 games this season. I think there a few solutions for this problem; Either call up Steven Saniti who has the Second best Plus Minus in the whole AHL this season or go out and trade for or sign a solid third line Defensiveman who has a proven record and a good plus-minus. All that matters for the Preds third line is the plus-minus stat, the third line pair is not there to create offense, they are just there to prevent the other team from scoring while giving the first and second pair a rest.

Solutions For Third line Defense:

  1. Call up Steven Santini: Santini has the best Plus-minus on the Milwaukee admirals this season and the second-best +/- in all of the AHL. Santini (who was brought over in the PK Subban Trade) has NHL experience, the 24 year old has already played 114 NHL games and 21 total points in those games. Santini would bring more speed and youth to the Defensive group that desperately needs a facelift.
  2. Sign Free Agent Dion Phaneuf: The Three-time NHL All-Star is currently a Free Agent waiting to get a chance with a team just like the Nashville Predators. Phaneuf has had an illustrious NHL career, the 34 year old is a very solid player and still has gas left in the tank. NHL.com has Dion as the best  Free Agent Defenseman still available to be signed saying “He’s not the offensive threat he once was but could provide veteran leadership in a lower-pair role.”
  3. Trade for Ethan Prow: Ethan was a Hobey Baker Finalist back in 2016, and was an NCAA All-Star was also named NCAA (NCHC) Best Offensive and Defensive Defenceman. Prow was named an AHL All-Star last season and had a plus-minus of 26 last season.  Prow is a very active in the offensive zone averaging a half a point per game in the AHL (18 Goals and 35 Assist last season). Prow has always had a very good plus-minus, his overall +/- during his NCAA Career was +51. It Shouldn’t take much to trade for Prow, so if this experiment doesn’t work out just send him back down to the AHL and work with what we have already.


Problem number two; the Predators are having a lack of Productivity from players who should be producing points very often. Mikael Granlund, Craig Smith, and Kyle Turris are the three players that come to mind when you talk about a lack of productivity. Those three-players combined have just 21 points in the first 19 Games. Granlund who was poised to have a breakout year in his first full year with the Predators has looked sluggish and out of position most of the time he is on the ice and has just 6 points this season with a plus-minus of -3. Craig Smith has been fairly quiet this season, he has also looked slow this season and seems to have been forgotten about the last 15 or so games. Smith only has 6 points this season but does have a positive plus-minus of +5. Predators fans have been waiting for Kyle Turris to break out since he got to Nashville but it just hasn’t happened yet. Turris started off the season great but has completely disappeared the past 10 games. Turris needs to get going soon if he wants to stay on the team, I think he could be a piece the Predators try to trade to bring in another defenceman to make a playoff push for this season. Turris has 9 points this season along with a negative plus-minus at -2.


Third and Final Problem; Goaltending: Never thought this would be a problem for the Nashville Predators, but sadly up to this point, it has been. Both Goaltenders for the Predators are under a .900  save percentage and both Goalies are allowing 3 goals per game. If the Predators are wanting to win games the Goaltenders are going to have to step up and get over a 90% save percentage. Hopefully, if the Defense steps up their game it will make it a lot easier for the Preds goalies to do their job and keep the puck out of the Net.

Tolvanen Coming To the Predators: Where Does He Fit In?

Eeli Tolvanen was the Nashville Predators 1st round pick in the 2017 Draft.

The wait is finally over, Eeli Tolvanen is coming to Nashville. The 18 year old winger from Finland has been causing quite a buzz in Smashville, and for good reason. In the KHL this season he has racked up honors and broken records including winning player of the month twice and player of the week 6 times. Let me just list a few of his awards he has accumulated over the past 2 seasons:

  • KHL All-Star
  • USHL All-Star
  • Olympic All-Star
  • USHL All-Rookie Team
  • WHC Most Goals
  • WHC Most Points
  • WHC All-Star

Where Does He Fit In:

Tolvanen is a pure goal scorer, he had 19 goals this season in the KHL which was the most on his team and 17 assist to go along with that. He will make an immediate impact for the team most likely playing in the top six for the Predators who are already stacked at right wing. He should get more ice time as the season progresses and more productive as well.

Who is Affected:

The Preds will have to move someone down to the third line now that Tolvanen is joining the team, and that someone is more than likely Craig Smith. I don’t see the Predators moving down Kevin Fiala because his production has been very solid over the past few months and he has become a core part of that second line behind Filip Forsberg. Smiths production has been down with only 6 goals in the last two months of play, the Preds should have and easy decision on who they are moving down in the lineup to make room for Tolvanen.

Why The Finland Hockey Team Will Win Gold in 2018

The Finland National team has been counted out of the gold medal by almost everyone, most people have them winning at the highest Silver, but most have them taking home a  bronze. But I am here to tell you they have a legitimate shot at winning the Gold this year; let me tell you why.


Chemistry:                                                                                                                        The Finns have a total of 14 players that play on the same team as each other:                                                                                                                              Five Play for Jokerit, three for Karpat, two for Tappara, two for Salavat UFA, and two more play for SKA (All other 11 players play for different clubs).

If Eeli Tolvanen, Sami Lepisto, and Marko Anttila (All three from Jokerit) can get in sync and strike up that chemistry they have been playing with all season they will have a chance to help their team out tremendously.                                                                                                                        Eeli Tolvanen (The 31st pick in the 2017 NHL draft by the Predators) has been setting KHL records because of his ability to shoot the puck accurately from almost anywhere on the ice, he has 34 total points on the season and has amassed 17 goals so far.                      Sami Lepisto is Jokerits assist leader and has 21 assists on the season so far. He will help out Finland a lot by using his superb vision and awareness to find open skaters on the ice and create scoring chances with his amazing passing skills.                                                                       Marko Anttila is a very good all-around player for Jokerit, he has eight goals and eight assists this season and has very good chemistry with his Jokerit teammates.


Big Time Goal Scorers: The Finns have a number of big-time goal scorers on their team including:

  • Julius Junttila: 12 goals and 39 assists ( Leads all Liiga skaters in total points)
  • Teemu Hartikainen: 20 goals and 19 assists (Leads all KHL Finns in Points and Goals Scored)
  • Miro Heiskanen: 11 goals and 8 assists (The third overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft, he is a gifted 2-way defenseman with a lethal shot)
  • Eeli Tolvanen: 17 goals and 17 assists (The best pure goalscorer the Finns have on their entire team, and he’s only 18 years old)


Goaltending:                                                                                                                            There isn’t that much debating that Finland has the best goalkeeper in the Olympics, Mikko Koskinen.  He is boasting a very impressive .940 save percentage (With 5 shutouts) and only allowing 1.48 goals per game.