As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, the fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from the Nashville Predators. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.
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Roman Josi, D (NHL.com rank: 36) -- The elite defenseman has had at least 49 points (56 last season) in each of the past five seasons. Josi tied his NHL career high in goals (15) and had his best shots on goal total (274; second at position behind Brent Burns). The addition of valuable center Matt Duchene and trade of defenseman P.K. Subban (to New Jersey Devils) should have a positive effect on Josi, especially on the first power play. Josi had his lowest power-play point total (12) in a full season, and the Predators had the NHL's worst conversion percentage (12.9). Fantasy owners should expect 55-60 points and at least 20 PPP from Josi, who's sixth among defensemen in NHL.com's rankings.
Video: 31 in 31: Nashville Predators 2019-20 season preview
Pekka Rinne, G (43) -- The elite goalie has five straight seasons of at least 56 starts and 30 wins, making him one of the most valuable fantasy goalies over the span. Rinne, 36, was 10th in the NHL in wins (30) and tied for 11th in save percentage (.918; minimum 25 games) last season. Even without Subban, Rinne has a strong defense in front of him and remains a top 10 fantasy goalie. He's worth handcuffing with emerging backup Juuse Saros.
Filip Forsberg, LW (60) -- The valuable left wing missed time because of injury and declined in points per game (0.78 in 64 games) compared to 2017-18 (0.96 in 67 games). But Forsberg could be in line for his best season yet if he plays with Duchene at even strength and on the first power play. Forsberg has scored at least 26 goals in each of his five full seasons and is worth prioritizing around the top 50 overall at a scarce position with a chance to have NHL career highs in points (64 twice), goals (33 in 2015-16) and PPP (23 in 2015-16).
Video: NSH@DAL, Gm3: Bonino springs Forsberg for great goal
Matt Duchene, C (80) -- He tied his NHL career high with 70 points (31 goals, 39 assists) in 73 games with the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets last season, including 58 points (27 goals, 31 assists) in 50 games with Ottawa. Duchene, who signed with the Predators in free agency, could usurp Ryan Johansen as their top center on a line with Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson at even strength and feasibly lead them in scoring. Duchene, who had his best PPP total (21) with the Colorado Avalanche in 2009-10, hasn't had more than 17 in a season since.
Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW (86) -- He was limited to 58 games last season because of injury and finished with 48 points (34 goals, 14 assists) after back-to-back 61-point seasons. He ranked third in the NHL in goals per game (0.59) behind elite forwards Alex Ovechkin (0.63) and Leon Draisaitl (0.61) and could carry over that rate to a full season with either Duchene or Johansen. He should be targeted inside the top 100 overall with the expectation of at least 30 goals and a ceiling of 40-45. That said, it's worth noting Arvidsson has never had double-digit PPP in a season (NHL career-high nine in 2016-17).
Video: CHI@NSH: Arvidsson sets Predators record with PPG
Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm, D (141, 142) -- Each defenseman had an NHL career-high in points last season (Ekholm: 44; Ellis: 41) and could take another step forward after the Subban trade, especially on the power play. Ellis and Ekholm are expected to play together on the second unit, which could feature forwards like Johansen, Mikael Granlund, rookie Eeli Tolvanen and/or Craig Smith. With the addition of Duchene, a new power-play coach (Dan Lambert) and full season of Granlund in the top six, Ellis and Ekholm should each exceed 40 points again with a ceiling of joining Josi in the 50 range.
Ryan Johansen, C (158) -- He led Nashville in scoring last season with 64 points (14 points, 50 assists) and now has five seasons of at least 60 points and 16 PPP in his NHL career. He could either remain on the top line with Forsberg and Arvidsson or be moved to the second unit, where he could still play with one of his usual linemates and/or see time with Granlund, Tolvanen or Smith. Johansen will likely score at least 55 points again but could regress in PPP if he's moved off the first unit in favor of Duchene.
Other players to consider in late rounds or off waiver wire: Mikael Granlund, LW/RW (164); Juuse Saros, G (211); Eeli Tolvanen, RW (246); Craig Smith, RW; Kyle Turris, C
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