As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, our fantasy hockey staff is breaking down each team's landscape. Fantasy-relevant players are listed in order of rank in NHL.com's top 250. Today, we look at the Nashville Predators.
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Filip Forsberg, LW -- The 23-year-old has been a steady performer in his first three full NHL seasons, ranking 13th in goals (90), 27th in points (185) and tied for 15th in shots on goal (718). He underachieved based on average draft position (49.9; finished 96th in Yahoo) with a big dip in power-play points (23 in 2015-16; nine last season), but then led the Predators in goals (nine), points (16) and plus/minus (plus-14) in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He's NHL.com's sixth-ranked left wing.
Video: ANA@NSH, Gm4: Forsberg ties game in final minute
Ryan Johansen, C (INJ.) -- He missed Nashville's final eight playoff games because of a thigh injury, but remains the No. 1 center after signing an eight-year contract July 28. The Predators' secondary scoring is questionable after losing James Neal in the NHL Expansion Draft, so Nashville will rely heavily on its top line of Johansen, Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson. Johansen, 25, has four straight seasons of at least 60 points and is worth drafting in the fourth round or later.
Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW -- One of the biggest fantasy steals last season (49th in Yahoo; undrafted on average), Arvidsson signed a seven-year contract to remain with the Predators on July 22. He had strong goal (31), point (61) and shot (246) totals, but did not cover PPP (nine) well based on his usage (1:59 per game). He's especially valuable in leagues that count shorthanded points (seven last season; T-1st), but don't reach for him in a standard format in case he regresses.
Kevin Fiala, LW/RW (INJ.) -- He had 16 points (11 goals, five assists) in 54 games as a rookie, but turned the corner with two goals in five playoff games before his season-ending injury (broken femur). With Neal (2:44 per game on PP) out of the picture, Fiala could see much more man-advantage time this season and is a late-round flier with 20-25 goal potential.
Scott Hartnell, LW -- The 35-year-old is known for consistent coverage of points, penalty minutes and hits. He played mostly on the Blue Jackets' third line with a diminished power-play role last season, but was still productive at even-strength (34 ES points) to finish 196th in Yahoo. Hartnell is a more experienced power-play option than Fiala and Nashville's other young forwards, so he remains a low-risk, high-reward pick in many multi-category formats.
Roman Josi -- He's ranks fifth among defensemen in both points per game (0.72) and SOG (415) and 11th in PPP (42) over the past two seasons combined. He finished 16th in Yahoo among defensemen even though he missed 10 games because of injury, so it's fair to expect a return to 50-55 points and the top 5-10 defenseman rankings.
P.K. Subban -- He was limited to 66 games last season because of an upper-body injury and saw significantly fewer power-play minutes per game (2:36) compared to his 2015-16 average with the Montreal Canadiens (4:36). Considering those circumstances, it's impressive that Subban finished tied for 12th among defensemen in points per game (0.61). He has a high fantasy ceiling and remains a preseason top 10 defenseman.
Ryan Ellis -- Nashville's injuries on defense opened the door for Ellis to set NHL career highs in goals (16, T-5th among defensemen), points (38) and PPP (11). But his point production in the final 19 regular-season games (13) and 22 postseason games (13), when Josi and Subban were healthy, indicates he's capable of being a valuable fantasy player again next season. He's a good way to round out your defense corps in the late rounds.
Video: EDM@NSH: Ellis makes outstanding block with his stick
Pekka Rinne -- The 34-year-old fell short of his fantasy ADP (35.0; finished 103rd) last season, but rediscovered his elite form in the first three rounds of the playoffs (12-4; .941 save percentage). He had a forgettable Stanley Cup Final performance (2-4; .888 SV%), but has won at least 31 games in each of his five seasons with 60 or more games played. He's still a top 10 fantasy goalie, but those who draft him should handcuff 22-year-old Juuse Saros (.923 SV% last season) in late rounds.
Video: CHI@NSH, Gm3: Rinne lunges for insane stick save
Others to consider: Juuse Saros (G), Mattias Ekholm (D), Colton Sissons (C/LW), Calle Jarnkrok (C/LW), Austin Watson (LW/RW), Nick Bonino (C), Pontus Aberg (LW/RW)