Welcome to another riveting edition of Stanley’s Post Office, where I answer your hard-hitting questions on the Nashville Predators and the world of hockey. You can reach out to me @RStanleyNHL on Twitter with your questions. Here are some of the latest submissions for this mailbag:
When do you think Poile starts talking to Ryan Ellis about signing long-term? — @PREDStotheCUP
I would think those conversations will begin to take place at some point this offseason. Ellis still has another year remaining on his contract after this season so there’s still plenty of time to get something done. But if I were David Poile, I would try to get Ellis’ contract locked away soon.
It’s going to be interesting for me to see how Poile and the Predators are able to keep all four of the top four defense locked in long-term here in Nashville. Ellis is up after next season and then Predators captain Roman Josi is up in the following year. Both should get pretty significant pay raises. It’s no secret how important Ellis is to the success of the Predators. I would begin those conversations as soon as possible.
If you had to pull a top 6 wing to move down in the lineup to make room for Eeli Tolvanen, who would it be? — @imraiv
This is a great question because it’s a very difficult one for me to answer. Everybody in the top six for the Predators has been playing very well as of late. Obviously Ryan Johansen and Kyle Turris won’t be moved out of the top six because they play center and I can’t foresee Filip Forsberg or Viktor Arvidsson being moved either.
That leaves Kevin Fiala and Craig Smith. My vote would be to move Smith down to the third line if Tolvanen is able to come over before the regular season ends and see how he can fit in on a line with Turris and Fiala. In a perfect world, I would probably leave the top six alone and place Tolvanen on the third line. But then the problem becomes would that be putting Tolvanen in a position where it’s going to be difficult for him to thrive?
I don’t really think this roster as currently constructed needs Tolvanen this year, so anything he could provide would be an added bonus. I don’t think it’s a wise idea to mess up what’s working just to try and include Tolvanen. If he’s able to come in and contribute right away, then great. If not, I wouldn’t spend too much time worrying about it until next season.
Over/under odds on the Preds setting a new franchise record for points in a season — @awentzell22
The Predators’ franchise record for points in a season was in the 2006-07 season where they finished with 110 points and 51 wins. I think they’ve got a really good chance to break both of those records this season.
The Predators have played 65 games so far and have 93 points and 42 wins. That means they need to find a way to get 17 points and nine wins in their final 17 games in order to tie the 06-07 team. That more or less means they could play .500 hockey the rest of the way and end up with 17 more points out of a possible 34 remaining points they have available to them (I’m good at math).
With the way they have been playing as of late, I think it’s very likely this Predators team becomes the most successful regular season team in franchise history.
It really seems like Ryan Hartman has understood the plan and has absolutely sprinted with it. I didn’t pay much attention to him while he was a hawk so this may be normal. Does it seem like the team has accepted him off the ice as well as they do on the ice? — @KingNothing11
I think Hartman has been a great fit for the Predators thus far, both on and off the ice. Sometimes I think the off the ice chemistry thing gets a little bit overblown, especially with this group. It’s not a very difficult locker room to come into and to fit in with. The Predators have welcomed Ryan Johansen, P.K. Subban, Kyle Turris, etc. with open arms and they will do and have done the same with Hartman.
The way that Hartman plays the game was something I don’t think this Predators team quite had before he got here and it adds depth to an already deep team. He’s been a very good fit so far and has been used on every line. You can probably argue whether or not he was worth the price they gave up in order to get him, but I think he’s fit in nicely.
Your top 3 food items at Cracker Barrel. No, you can’t include iced tea. We’re not doing beverages Robby! — @chrisbush35
Anybody who knows me knows that I am probably way too obsessed with Cracker Barrel. It’s a great place. Sweet tea is incredible but I’m not allowed to put it on the list.
I think I’ll just go with individual food items here instead of the full meals….So I will rank them like this:
1. Hashbrown casserole
2. Cracker Barrel biscuits
3. Country fried steak. It just speaks to me.