Are you ready? We’re back to the 82-game regular-season format, which means more joy and also more pain. It’s a roller coaster of emotions every season because there are always surprises, and the good ones can make us feel like geniuses while the bad ones feel like they are collapsing their stomachs in an empty pool.
But we’re all hungry for punishment, so you might as well stay as informed as possible to explain later why the gods of fantasy hockey hate you. Yes, they specifically hate you.
Here is your fantastic outlook for the 32 teams. The Annual Pool Guide is available now, and also check out Matt Larkin’s top 250 players for the upcoming season.
2021-2022 Fantasy Outlook: Nashville Predators
Last season: It’s been almost a quarter of a century with David Poile as GM, and while they’ve been consistently competitive and reached the final in 2017, it’s time we asked ourselves if he there must be a new voice in the room. After making a few big trades to shake their core ahead of the deadline, the Preds ended up holding their own and barely made the playoffs thanks to solid play from Juuse Saros down the home stretch, only to suffer another outing in the first. round for the third consecutive season. Always known to be a strong defensive team, the Preds are now stuck in the same situation that has plagued them for most of their history: a lack of top-of-the-line attacking talent and an inability to score goals. Keeping his promise to upset the roster, Poile made some big trades this summer, but what was most surprising were the players he ended up parting with – well-respected veterans Ryan Ellis and Viktor Arvidsson – and it remains to be seen if the team has actually improved. Top forward Filip Forsberg is set to be a UFA next summer, which means Poile may not be done reworking his squad.
Best option: Roman Josi, D
The Preds captain is a fantastic elite defender in part because he has been remarkably consistent despite some challenges. Josi led them in points (33), assists (25) and TOI / GP (24:21), and it was a down season for him, finishing minus-11 and ranking just 14th in the Norris vote, his lowest result in seven seasons. He is one of the most valuable players not only on the Preds, but also in his position in the league; Over the past five seasons, Josi ranks fourth in points (256), third in even strength points (165), fifth in power play goals (21), second in shots (1,145) and seventh for TOI / GP (25: 00). It’s a bit unfortunate that his supporting cast is rather low, especially with the loss of longtime partner Ellis, and only has one reliable top-six forward to play with at Forsberg. Still, given Josi’s use, he’s going to continue to play the same – if not bigger – role for the Preds, especially in attack where he has a lot of freedom. The downside is his relatively low supporting cast, and that can end up making him a fantastic top 10 defender rather than a solid top five. His 57 points projected by the THN Pool Guide should allow the Preds to score for the third consecutive season.
Hidden Gem: Eeli Tolvanen, LW / RW
For a team called the Predators, their offense is really lacking in bite. Enter Tolvanen, the 22-year-old winger we’ve heard so much about after being drafted 30th overall in 2017, gold medalist at the U-18 and U-20 Junior Worlds, and known for his precision, powerful shot, leading Jokerit with 19 goals as an 18-year-old rookie in the KHL. His arrival in North America was going to be the hottest thing in Smashville outside of the hot chicken sandwich, but Tolvanen couldn’t break the lineup – the Preds were in their prime with 53 wins in 2017-18 and 47 wins. in 2018-19 – and ended up working hard in the AHL for two seasons.
Fast forward to two seasons later, and Tolvanen has a fantastic opportunity to take a big step forward in his development, which will likely play against Forsberg on the top line and on the best power play unit, as he did. for most of last season. . His underlying numbers are quite encouraging, albeit the sample size is a bit small, and should easily improve from his 11-goal rookie campaign last season. THN’s Pool Guide predicts that Tolvanen will score 40 points, third among forwards behind Forsberg and Mikael Granlund, but depending on teammates and usage, he could exceed that total.
Goalkeepers: It was a two-season story for Saros, who ranked 51st out of 75 goalies with an Sv% of 0.898 in January and February, but sixth out of 95 goalies with an Sv% of 0.939 for the rest of the season. season. He ended up placing first with 24.64 5v5 GSAA and sixth with 0.868 Sv% in the 5v5 high danger areas, according to naturalstattrick.com, both of which indicate that it was mostly his individual performance and not ‘improved defense. His poor start almost sank the Preds’ playoff hopes, but after his turnaround no goalie was better than Saros and he looked ready to take over from Pekka Rinne.
Saros will face little competition for the starting position with David Rittich as a replacement, but it’s worth mentioning that the Preds’ defense – who are relying on 24-year-old Philippe Myers to replace a 10-year veteran at Ellis and hope that Dante Fabbro, Alexandre Carrier and David Farrance are exceeding expectations – appearing weaker on paper. They had already struggled for most of last season, ranking 29th on the PK and allowing 31.3 shots per game, the eighth-highest number in the league. The goalkeeper is already a precarious position with very few gems, but in terms of ability Saros is certainly part of the handful of lower level goalkeepers than Andrei Vasilevskiy and Connor Hellebuyck.
Outlook: It’s going to be difficult to rack up the victories but there is always a chance that the Preds will heat up like they did at the end of last season. Managers looking for scoring options have an interest in finding solutions elsewhere, and even at the best of times, it’s hard to imagine Forsberg or any striker scoring more than 60 points, especially given their lack of reliable play centers. As for the upside, however, Cody Glass will be interesting to watch, especially if Matt Duchene plays on the wing, leaving the No.2 center spot up for grabs. But aside from Saros, the Jewels will be on defense as usual with Josi as the better option, and maybe Mattias Ekholm, Fabbro, and Carrier will be of fantastic value, depending on their deployment and involvement in the game. power.