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Predators Weekly Player Grades: Ryan Johansen Shines, Team Doesn’t

The Nashville Predators had an exciting, yet disappointing past week. The team sent defenseman Seth Jones to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for center Ryan Johansen. Adding Johansen to the team gives them something they haven’t had in the 18 years of the franchise and that is a true No.1 center.

The mega trade took the focus off of the team’s struggles, but those struggles were still evident this week as the team went 0-3-0. The Predators were out scored 13-4 in those three losses and have scored two or fewer goals in 15 of their last 25 games going 8-13-4.

Player Grades

The following are the player grades for the Predators, with a “10” signifying a perfect week, 9 extraordinary, 8 great, 7 good, 6 above average, 5 average, 4 just below average, 3 poor, 2 awful and 1 being the absolute worst. Due to the recent trade for Johansen and injuries the lines listed below reflect Nashville’s most recent game at Arizona on January 9.

These grades represent play from Sunday, January 3 to Sunday, January 10.

 

First Line

Filip Forsberg, 7: The 21-year-old found the back of the net once in the team’s 5-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche for his lone point of the week. His worst performance came in a 3-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes to close out the week where had just one shot on net, committed a minor penalty and was on the ice for two of the Coyotes three goals.

Ryan Johansen, 9: He’s only been a Predator for four days and been on the ice for two games, but Johansen has been exactly what was advertised and then some. He showed his scoring ability 2:35 into his Nashville career scoring an impressive power play goal against the Colorado Avalanche as well as adding an assist. He also ended the week with five shots on net and three individual high-danger scoring chances.

James Neal, 6: Neal has not registered a point in 2016. He led the first-line in shots on goal with 11 on the week but he hasn’t shown the scoring touch seen earlier in the year with 15 goals and nine assists in 36 games.

 

Second Line

Calle Jarnkrok, 5: It wasn’t the best week for the young Swede. He played over 21 minutes in the 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets to open the week, but did not capitalize with the few extra minutes awarded to him. He had zero points and managed just five shots on net, but did create six individual scoring chances through the week.

Mike Ribeiro, 7: While adjusting to playing the role of No.2 center, Ribeiro wasn’t awful but he also wasn’t great. He had three shots on net while adding one assist. He will need to find the same chemistry he holds with Forsberg with his new wingers for Nashville to have a true top-six scoring punch.

Craig Smith, 4: Smith’s under performing season continued this past week with zero points and a -2 +/- rating. He was mysteriously benched in the second period against the Avalanche and played just 59 seconds in the period. He had six shots on net and if there was one positive in his game this week it was his 62.7 percent Corsi For percentage.

 

Third Line

Viktor Arvidssson, 5: He played in just two of the three games this week and skated just 6:54 against Winnipeg. Arvidsson registered four shots on net to go along with four individual scoring chances. His playing time has dwindled over the past few weeks.

Mike Fisher, 4: This may have been Fisher’s worst week of the season. He was a -4, put just two pucks on net and had zero individual scoring chances. The 35-year-old’s minutes decreased this past week while being dropped to the third-line after the addition of Johansen, but those limited minutes did not serve as a positive.

Cody Hodgson, 5: Like Arvidsson, Hodgson played in two of three games this week. He continues to be a strong possession player with a Corsi For percentage of 69.1 percent in his two appearances this week, but his point total continues to sit at three goals and five assists on the year after another scoreless week.

 

Fourth Line

Eric Nystrom, 5: One of Nystrom’s roles is to kill penalties but he, and many others for that matter, were unsuccessful in doing so this week. He finished the week with a -4 rating and the Predators allowed five power play goals. He had zero points and zero shots on net for the week.

Paul Gaustad, 5: You could directly copy and paste the same words said about Gaustad. He was also shotless and managed zero points on the week.

Miikka Salomaki, 7: The 22-year-old was the bright spot on the fourth-line with six shots on net and seven individual scoring chances. He’s been noticeable, in a good way, for the majority of the year and that included this week.

 

First Pair

Roman Josi, 8: Josi continued to keep up with the Norris Trophy favorites, registering two helpers. He posted a Corsi For percentage of 57.4 percent and created one individual high-danger scoring chance.

Shea Weber, 6: It was a rare week for Weber as he was absent from the scoresheet. The team captain did register seven shots on net but none lit the lamp. He makes the Nashville power play go and his pointless efforts had an impact on the team going 1-for-10 on the PP.

 

Second Pair

Mattias Ekholm, 8: Ekholm has really come on over the past couple of weeks and this week was no exception. He had two assists while his ice time increased after the Jones trade. He still hasn’t been awarded any power play time, but it could only be a matter of time before we see him on the man-advantage unit.

Petter Granberg, 7: Granberg made his Predators debut in the 3-0 loss to the Coyotes on Saturday and he wasn’t noticeable, which is usually good for a defenseman. He’s 6’3” and shoots right-handed and could be a fit to fill the void Jones left on the blue line or could find a fit with Ekholm, a fellow Swede, but only time will tell. He had zero shots on goal and zero points in his lone game.

 

Third Pair

Ryan Ellis, 7: Ellis was seen with Ekholm per usual in the first two games of the week, but skated alongside Jackman on the third pair in the loss to the Coyotes. He sniped home a goal in the loss to the Avalanche for his lone point of the week. Much like Granberg, it will be interesting to see who he is paired up with from here on out.

Barret Jackman, 8: He continued his story of having a quiet good season this week. The veteran didn’t register a point while putting four shots on net, but he also had an even +/- rating while playing on a penalty kill unit that faced 11 power plays. He is the most “stay-at-home” blueliner in Nashville and he’s doing his job in an impressive manner.

 

Goaltenders

Pekka Rinne, 3: Rinne’s headline of being a bad netminder on the road this season and below average in general remained intact going 0-2-0. He allowed seven goals on a combined 43 shots faced in his two starts posting a save percentage of .835.

Carter Hutton, 6: Nashville’s No. 2 puck-stopper made his sixth start of the season against Arizona and made some big saves. His save percentage of .893 doesn’t jump off the page by any means, but he allowed just two goals in his last outing.

 

Others

Colin Wilson, 8: Wilson missed the final game of the week against the Coyotes with a lower-body injury but was stellar in the two games he did play. He had a goal against the Jets and a helper against the Avalanche while registering seven shots on net for the week to go along with five individual scoring chances.

Austin Watson, 5: Watson’s lone game this week and first since New Year’s Eve came in Colorado where he had one shot on net and zero points. He was a -2 on the night as well.

Anthony Bitetto, 5: The d-man played in his second game of the season against the Avalanche and his 12:02 played wasn’t the best of times for the 25-year-old. He was noticeable, in a bad way, more often than not and seemed a step too slow against the fast-paced Avalanche. He had no points and zero shots on net to go along with a minor penalty.

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