The Nashville Predators have recently acquired a promising left-winger prospect in Reid Schaefer, who was drafted 32nd overall in the 2022 NHL draft. Schaefer is an impressive 6’3″ and weighs 215 lb, fitting the Predators’ mold of big wingers. At just 19 years old, with a birthday in September, he has a lot of time to develop and improve his game.
Schaefer has already proven himself to be a formidable player in the Western Hockey League (WHL), 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 and assist.
Leading up to the draft, Schaefer was one of the fastest risers in the rankings, jumping an impressive 54 spots from 85th to 31st according to NHL Central Scouting. 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 potential as “the next good power forward in the league” but acknowledges that he has room to grow and develop. As a raw player, his impact will depend on the team he lands with and his development, but his size, physicality, and scoring touch make him an exciting prospect to watch.
Experts have described Schaefer as a power forward who plays a tough, physical game, but can also score and make plays. He is known for protecting the puck well, being strong along the boards and in front of the net, and possessing offensive capabilities. According to Corey Pronman of The Athletic, 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.
Overall, the Nashville Predators have acquired an impressive young prospect in Reid Schaefer, 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 league.
I have compiled a list of my top coaching candidates to potentially replace John Hines at the conclusion of the current season. This roster features a mix of seasoned veterans who are seeking a fresh start in their coaching careers, as well as promising young coaches who are eager to make their mark and establish themselves within the field.
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)
Vigneault is a strong candidate for head coach of the Nashville Predators based on his past achievements. He has coached several teams, including the Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers, and the Philadelphia Flyers, and won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach of the year in 2007. He is the Canucks’ all-time winningest coach, with 313 wins, and under his leadership, the Canucks won back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies and made one Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Vigneault is a modern strategic thinker who experiments with his roster, putting into practice modern ideas that enable his stars to excel. He is known for strategically adjusting his matchups to capitalize on the opponent’s weaker spots and gain an advantage and is among the best coaches in the world at using his resources effectively. Additionally, Vigneault has a strong record in player development, which he demonstrated when he managed to get more out of Vancouver’s prospects and young talent. If the Predators are looking for an experienced coach with proven success in the NHL, Vigneault is a great option.
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 success as a coach speaks for itself, with a points percentage of 58.7% and a Stanley Cup championship with the Boston Bruins in 2011. He has also taken his teams to the playoffs ten times during his career, with deep runs in several of those appearances. One of Julien’s strengths is his ability to create a structurally sound defense, which he does through solid structures and systems. He prioritizes defense first but does not sacrifice offense in the process. His Bruins teams were one of the better possession teams in the NHL dating back to the 2012 lockout. With a deep and talented forward corps and the best goaltender in the world anchoring his defense, Julien’s strategic preferences could be a perfect fit for the Nashville Predators. Under Julien’s guidance, The Predators could challenge for the Stanley Cup in a matter of years once their young core develops.
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 perfect fit for the Nashville Predators. With a points percentage of 61.5% and a playoff win-loss percentage of 55.1%, Bylsma has proven his worth as a head coach. He has led his teams to a Stanley Cup championship and made playoffs in 75% of years coached. He has also coached 100-point teams 50% of the time. He won the Jack Adams Award as the league’s most outstanding coach for the 2010-2011 season. Bylsma’s system emphasizes a north-south style of play and a cycle game, and his teams are known for their quick, long stretch passes. Although his system can be complicated and regimented, it has worked well for his teams in the past. Bylsma’s ability to motivate his players with quirky incentives, such as a shootout practice where the last player to score grows a mustache, could bring some much-needed fun to the Nashville locker room. Overall, Dan Bylsma’s track record of success and unique coaching style make him an excellent 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 could be an ideal fit for the Nashville Predators due to his experience, coaching accolades, and player development skills. As a former Jack Adams Award winner and a coach of four different NHL teams, Boudreau has shown that he can lead teams to success in the regular season, with a winning percentage that ranks him second in NHL history for coaches with at least 900 games coached. He has consistently finished above .500 and 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 is known for his ability to coach the offensive side of the game, utilizing a fast-paced, “run and gun” style of play that led to the success of players like Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Bäckström during his tenure with the Capitals. Boudreau’s coaching style has also helped players like Ryan Getzlaf, Nick Bonino, and Mikael Granlund have career years, and he made an impact on the Vancouver Canucks during his short time with the team. Overall, Boudreau’s coaching experience, accolades, and player development skills make him an excellent candidate to lead the Nashville Predators to success.
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 could make an excellent head coach for the Nashville Predators. At 62 years old, Hartley has an impressive track record, including winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001 and the Jack Adams Award in 2014-15 as the NHL’s coach of the year. He has also won the Calder Cup and the NLA championship. Hartley’s style of coaching is defense-first, which could be a valuable asset for the Predators and fits their style historically. He is also known for being a strict disciplinarian, willing to bench even his star players for tardiness. His commitment to winning is evident through his tireless work and his outstanding motivation skills. Hartley could be a valuable addition to the Nashville Predators’ coaching staff, perhaps taking their hockey club to the next level.
Another avenue is to recruit a promising young assistant coach who has been affiliated with successful NHL teams and has firsthand experience with winning cultures, strategies, and teams. With the newly appointed General Manager, Barry Trotz, assuming leadership, I believe that he could potentially mentor this coach throughout the entirety of the rebuild. All of the listed coaches will have substantial NHL experience, including time spent as a player.
Chris Kelly (42 years old) –Assistant coach for the Boston Bruins
NHL Games Played: 845
NHL Point Shares: 24.1
NHL Plus Minus: +40
During his playing career, Kelly was widely recognized for his two-way defensive forward style, earning him four nominations for the Selke Trophy, and securing a place in the top 30 of the voting category on three separate occasions. As a member of the Boston Bruins, Kelly also won the Stanley Cup in 2011, affording him a wealth of experience on a championship-winning team.
Since 2018, Kelly has transitioned to coaching, initially joining the Ottawa Senators as a development coach before being hired by the Boston Bruins in 2021. As part of one of the NHL’s most successful teams, Kelly has had the opportunity to observe first-hand the inner workings of a high-performing locker room and the strategies that drive such success. Throughout his career, Kelly has demonstrated a winning mindset, both as a player and a coach, making him a potentially valuable addition to the Nashville Predators.
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 as assistant coach to the Carolina Hurricanes on September 2nd, 2021, and has made an immediate impact.
As a member of the coaching staff 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, the former 7th overall pick in the 1998 NHL Draft, was widely recognized for his all-around play and sportsmanship throughout his playing career. He received votes for both the Byng and Selke Trophies on multiple occasions and won the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year award in ’98, as well as the Memorial Cup’s Most Sportsmanlike Player award the same year. Additionally, Malhotra holds the distinction of being the last active player to have been a teammate of Wayne Gretzky.
As a two-way forward, Malhotra was particularly known for his faceoff proficiency, winning over 56% of faceoffs he took in the NHL. After retiring from his playing career, Malhotra transitioned to coaching and was hired as an assistant coach for the Vancouver Canucks in June 2017. He later joined the coaching staff of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2020, where he has gained valuable experience observing the strategies and tactics employed by successful NHL teams.
With several years of coaching experience under his belt and a deep understanding of what it takes to be successful in the NHL, Malhotra would be a strong candidate 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 had a successful NHL career, having been drafted 9th overall in 2001 and finishing 6th in The Calder voting in his rookie season. Known for his rough style of play, Ruutu accumulated over 1500 career hits and was a hard competitor who enjoyed stirring up opponents. Ruutu was recently hired as an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers on June 29, 2021, after spending two years as Assistant Director of Player Development with the New York Rangers. As the Panthers have been one of the top teams in the NHL for the past few seasons, Ruutu has had the opportunity to be a part of their success. In addition, his experience in player development adds another area of expertise to his coaching abilities. Although Ruutu may be one of the more inexperienced candidates on this list, his unique background and skillset make him an intriguing candidate.
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:
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.
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.”
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.
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:
USHL All-Rookie Team
WHC Most Goals
WHC Most Points
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.
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.