The time for the Nashville Predators to finally do something about their power play is long overdue. It’s no longer a laughing matter.

Currently in a 2-for-33 slump over the last ten games, let’s consider these terrible statistics for the power play since the beginning of the year:

  • 13.5% success rate (29th in the NHL)
  • 23 total power play goals (25th)
  • 9.58 shooting percentage (30th)
  • 15.5 high danger shooting percentage (26th)
  • 92.2 shot attempts per hour (19th)
  • 16.4 high danger shot attempts per hour (26th)

The Predators are bottom five in the league in almost any power play category you can think of, except of course for the most frustrating statistic of all: power play opportunities. They continue to draw penalties at a high rate, and currently rank third among all NHL teams in power play opportunities (170).

This means that fans of the Predators not only have to watch an awful power play on display, they have to watch it an awful lot. This has to make the power play the most frustrating aspect of this year’s Preds, does it not?

It’s more frustrating than the inconsistent play on defense, which has had injuries and at times looks fine. The defense has had it’s struggles, but there’s probably more good games than bad ones.

It’s even more frustrating than the injury situation. Although they still aren’t out of the woods completely, some of the bigger injuries, like Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, are now in the rear view mirror.

For sure, the most frustrating aspect has to be the power play. And according to this poll I ran, it looks like most of you agree with me.

Is it personnel? Execution? Coaching?

Yes. It’s all three of those things, combined with some bad luck.

There are so many problems adding up to one big problem, that even solving one of them would mean only marginal improvement.

There is time to fix the problem, with 32 games left in the regular season. But there’s certainly a lot to fix and I’m not even sure where they start.

Five Quick Thoughts

  1. My initial reaction to the Ryan Johansen high stick was that it wasn’t that bad. However, a re-examination has me thinking otherwise. He came down with an awful lot of unnecessary force. Two games is probably a gift.
  2. Speaking of which… maybe Ryan Johansen is actually the most irreplaceable skater? The Preds looked awful without him on Saturday.
  3. Nick Bonino has 24 points on the season in only 49 games. He had 25 points all of last year. I’m still not sure he’s worth $4 million a year, but he’s been much, much better.
  4. At this point, there’s probably no way Pekka Rinne wins the Vezina. Not because he isn’t doing his part, but because he won’t have the counting stats (wins, shutouts, etc.) to be a finalist.
  5. Despite all the time they missed, Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg could still easily reach 30 goals. That’s amazing.

GIF Me That Good Stuff

I mean, this HAS to be the goal of the year, right?

Let’s Do That Hockey

Only two games on the docket this week. All-Star break begins Thursday.

Monday 1/23 – 2:00 PM: Predators @ Avalanche [FS-TN]

Wednesday 1/23 – 9:00 PM: Predators @ Golden Knights [NBCSN]

Final Thought

It’s going to be a very interesting five weeks for the Predators, especially on the trade front.

It starts with a couple weeks of mostly inactivity for the Preds. This week is the All-Star break, then after that is the Preds’ bye week. They don’t play a game for 10 straight days between January 23rd and February 1st.

I’d expect the team to be very quiet during that time. If the team does make a trade this year, I doubt it comes when the team is dormant for a week and a half.

Then starting February 1st, the Preds play 13 games until the trade deadline on February 28th, including 8 games at home. David Poile and company will have plenty of opportunities to watch this team and see if they need to make a significant improvement. And there will be no excuses for the current squad–with 10 days off and probably more guys coming back from injury, the team they watch during those 13 games? That’s the team they’ve got.

Nashville Predators P.K. Subban Roman Josi
After the break, David Poile will have about 3 weeks to determine if his team is ready for a post-season run. Image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports.

A lot can happen between now and then, but if I am guessing, I think they lean towards making a move. Maybe even a big move.

I talked last week about the current rumors, and it seems like Wayne Simmonds is still the biggest trade piece out there for the Nashville Predators. However, I wouldn’t rule out something crazy. David Poile could just as easily go after Artemi Panarin or Matt Duchene or even Vladimir Tarasenko as he could go after a depth forward.

— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —