Predators 2022-23 Boot Camp Introduction

How we got here

General manager/president of hockey operations David Poile and the Predators front office have been busy this summer hoarding talent through trades and free agency. Here is a brief summary of all Preds off season moves:

July 6: Philippe Forsbergeight years, $68 million
June 19: Cody glassone year, two-way
June 8: Jeremy LauzonFour years, $8 million

July 18: Tommy Novak, one year, two-way
July 14th : Cole Smithone year, two-way
July 13: Jimmy Huntingtonone year, two-way
July 13: Devin Cooleyone year, two-way

July 3: Acquired John Leonard & a 2023 SJS third-round pick in exchange for Luke Kunin
June 28: Acquired Ryan McDonagh from TBL in exchange for Philippe Myers and Grant Mismash
June 25: Acquired CBJ’s 2022 fourth-round pick in exchange for Mathieu Olivier

July 21: Nino Niederreiterover two years, $8 million
July 10: Zach SanfordOne year, $850,000
July 9th : Jordan rawtwo years, two-way
July 9th : Roland McKeowntwo years, two-way
July 9th : Kevin Graveltwo years, two-way
July 9th : Kiefer Sherwoodone year, two-way
July 9th : Marc Jankowskione year, two-way
July 9th : Kevin Lankinenone year, $1.5 million

The basics

There will be 55 players in training camp: 47 are under contract with the Predators; six are under contract with the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League and two are on a tryout deal or as unsigned draft picks. from Nashville list of training camps will consist of 31 attackers, 18 defenders and six goalkeepers.

make the team

Since the Preds are participating in the next NHL World Series, they will carry a maximum of 27 players – including the required three goaltenders – out of training camp instead of the usual 23. Once the team returns from Europe, the maximum roster size will revert to 23, meaning any players who knock the team out of camp will not remain on the roster beyond the first two games. of the regular season against the San Jose Sharks.

Defense Rulings

Earlier this summer we broke the key components of the Preds defense core and looked at some possible combinations for the upcoming season. The Preds are brimming with blue-line talent, creating plenty of opportunities for head coach John Hynes and his team to get creative with defensive pairings in training camp.

In addition to the newcomer Ryan McDonaghthe key names in the mix of the Preds’ three defensive pairs are Romain Josi, Mattias Ekholm, Mark Borowiecki, Dante Fabbro, Alexander Carrier and Jeremy Lauzon.

The million dollar question is where McDonagh will play. If he makes the top four as expected, chances are he could play the second pair with Ekholm. Ekholm and McDonagh traditionally play on the right side, which means one would have to play on his side if they were paired up. Asked about the possibility of switching sides on the second day of training camp, Ekholm didn’t seem the least bit worried.

“It’s not a big adjustment for me,” he said. “There are pros and cons with that, obviously. In the offensive zone, you still have the one-timer side, so that’s fine, but the puck is approaching you against the board, so you’re going to be on your back. So that’s another challenge. But with guys trying to take you far, you have a longer reach that way… I think I can handle that.

If Hynes goes for a McDonagh-Ekholm second pair, that likely leaves young defenders Carrier and Fabbro fighting for a first pair role alongside Josi, or a spot on third pair against Lauzon or Borowiecki. Keep an eye in particular on Carrier — who is looking to keep the momentum of his successful rookie campaign going — and Fabbro, who is a prime candidate to have his own breakout season.

“It takes a few years before you can really get comfortable and know what you’re doing there,” Ekholm said. “I can just see in these informal skates that we’ve had so far, they look really confident. They just need to keep raising their game and keep wanting to do more because they’re from great hockey players as they are, and they have every chance in the world to be world class, both of them. I’ve really liked what I’ve seen so far, and I hope that they will be able to continue to benefit from it.

The bottom line? Hynes has no shortage of options – or decisions to make – on the back-end.

Options at the front

The Preds will start camp with 31 forwards. Although they will bring an expanded roster to Europe, they will eventually have to reduce that number to 14 – four lines of three, plus two extras.

If nothing is fixed, a first line composed of Matt Duchene, Mikael Granlund and Philippe Forsberg seems likely. It is also expected that Ryan Johansen and Nino Niederreiter will be on the second line, but which winger will complete this line remains in question. A name to watch out for is Philippe Tomasino – despite playing mostly on the fourth line, he finished last season with 11 goals and 32 points, ranking seventh on the team in scoring as a rookie. If he wins it, the opportunity to play down a line with a pair of playmakers like Johansen and Niederreiter could arguably elevate Tomasino’s game even further.

It’s hard to imagine breaking the “Herd” line of Tanner Jeannot, Yakov Trenin and Colton Sissons after the success the trio enjoyed last season. The remaining three spots on the fourth row, however, are up for grabs. Eeli Tolvanen, Zach Sanford and Michael McCarron are likely to be in the mix here – but keep an eye out for Cody Glasswho still hopes to see his minor league success pay off at the NHL level after spending much of the summer skating with the veteran Predators.

Between the pipes

Juuse Saros is the number 1 keeper. That’s for sure.

Beyond that? Talk about options.

The Preds have signed Kevin Lankinen to a one-year, $1.5 million contract this offseason, adding to an already deep core of goaltenders that includes Connor Ingram, Devin Cooley and best prospect Yaroslav Askarov. While Lankinen’s career numbers might not be too impressive after two seasons supporting a struggling Chicago Blackhawks team, they don’t paint the full picture – he’s only two years into his season. rookie in which he ranked second in wins (17), third in even-strength save percentage (.922), fifth in save percentage (.909), sixth in shorthanded save percentage and seventh in goals against average (3.01).

Meanwhile, Ingram led the AHL in starts (54), minutes played (3,195:15), saves (1,541), shots faced (1,685) and shutouts (five) last year. , while ranking second in wins (30). Askarov and Cooley will start the season with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, but training camp will be a chance for them to prove they belong in a deep, albeit crowded, group of goaltenders.

Ultimately, the No. 2 spot behind Saros is still up for grabs. But either way, the Predators are in a much better position in the crease than they were last year.

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