NASHVILLE — Welcome to the first edition of “Stanley’s Post Office”. It’s a great name, I know. I will be periodically doing these to get to the hard-hitting questions regarding the NHL and particularly the Nashville Predators from the world of Twitter.
Without further ado, here it goes:
What exactly is Johansen doing or not doing that has led to him not producing up to pace that’s expected of him this year? — @the_cody_777
I got a lot of questions about Ryan Johansen. I think the easiest answer is that he’s not shooting the puck enough. He’s got 60 shots on goal in 42 games played. That’s just not anywhere near enough for a player of his caliber.
The crazy part of that is that Johansen has a very good shot. His wrist shot and ability to place the puck in tight spots with pinpoint accuracy. I think he needs to be more aggressive and look for his shot more. There’s no question that his biggest strength is his playmaking ability, but he’s a player that has scored 33 goals in one season in the League. He needs to have more than five goals.
Also, the Filip Forsberg-Johansen-Viktor Arvidsson line has not been together as much as I thought it would be so far this season, whether due to injury or due to Peter Laviolette trying to balance the lines. I don’t think Johansen is necessarily having a bad season, but there’s no question he needs to be more productive when he’s making $8 million per year.
Johansen kicked it up into a very high gear during the playoffs last season. It’s unreasonable to expect him to be at that level all the time in an 82-game season, but I think it needs to be seen more often.
Will GMDP make a notable move prior to the deadline this year? — @predatorsfan97
I think the biggest move that Predators general manager David Poile needed to make has already been made with the addition of Kyle Turris. I don’t think the Predators necessarily NEED to go out and acquire another piece.
Having said that, I do think the Predators will explore their options at the trading deadline. If another piece is going to be added, my expectation is that it’ll be another winger. Poile said on 3D on The Game Nashville that the Predators won’t be in a “beggar position” so don’t expect the Predators to go crazy and overpay for a deadline acquisition.
Is P.K. going to be the first Preds defender to win the Norris? (Either this season or in the future) — @achslemp
I certainly believe that P.K. Subban has the best shot to win the Norris Trophy for the Predators, both this season and in the near future. He’s been fantastic this season in my opinion. He’s always had the ability to contribute offensively, but he’s also been great defensively this season.
I’ve said this on air a few times, but I think Subban’s biggest obstacle for winning the Norris Trophy may be the team that he’s on, and I don’t mean because Nashville is a smaller market. When people talk about the Predators defense, most of the time they don’t refer to Subban or any individual player. They refer to the top four with Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm as a group. The Predators have the luxury of having four great defensemen, which I think may make it difficult for Subban to win the Norris Trophy.
How many more opportunities is Aberg going to receive before the team moves on? — @jcapsu44
Pontus Aberg’s performance has been one of the few disappointing parts of this Predators season thus far. He has five points (two goals, three assists) in 30 games played. After a promising performance in the playoffs last season, it just hasn’t worked for Aberg in 2017-18.
Laviolette has given and continues to give Aberg opportunities to break out of this season-long dry spell. He’s playing in the top six and is currently on a line with Turris and Craig Smith. He’s going to have to start producing soon or I’m not sure there’s going to be a place for him in the lineup.
If Aberg isn’t scoring, I’m not sure other areas of his game are developed enough as of yet to warrant playing time.
Does Eeli Tolvanen make it here this season? — @KestonBean82
I think he will. Whether or not that means he’s going to have a spot in the lineup when the playoffs roll around, I’m not sure. I think it’s a lot to ask of an 18-year-old player to go from the KHL to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
However, there is no question that Tolvanen has an NHL-caliber shot. I remember watching him in development camp after he was drafted and my immediate thought was “How did he fall down to 30th overall in the draft?”
If Tolvanen can play a responsible 200-foot game and contribute offensively for the Predators once his KHL season is done, that would be gravy for the Predators.