The 2023-24 NHL season starts Oct. 10. With training camps underway, NHL.com is taking a look at the three keys, inside scoop on roster questions, and projected lineup for each of the 32 teams. Today, the Nashville Predators.

Coach: Andrew Brunette (first season)

Last season: 42-32-8; fifth place in Central Division, did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs


1. New offensive approach

When Brunette was hired, general manager Barry Trotz said he wanted the Predators to play "an entertaining, offensive brand of hockey that our fans could enjoy watching." Brunette's teams have shown the ability to score in bunches. As an assistant and later coach of the Florida Panthers in 2021-22, they averaged an NHL-leading 4.11 goals per game and won the Presidents' Trophy for having the best record in the NHL. As an assistant with the New Jersey Devils last season, they averaged 3.52 goals per game, tied for fourth in the NHL and up from 2.99 in 2021-22, and reached the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Predators were 28th in the NHL last season, scoring 2.72 goals per game.

2. Good health

Injuries derailed the Predators in the second half of last season. Their best offensive player, forward Filip Forsberg, missed the final 32 games because of an upper-body injury sustained Feb. 11. Their best defenseman, Roman Josi, was out the final 15 games because of a concussion sustained March 18. A skate cut to his ankle ended forward Ryan Johansen's season Feb. 21, and forward Matt Duchene missed the final 10 games because of a hand injury. The Predators finished three points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference, and it's certainly possible having at least one of their top players could have made the difference. Forsberg and Josi have recovered from their injuries and are expected to play prominent roles with Nashville looking to return to the postseason.

3. Development of young centers

The injuries allowed the Predators to get a better look at some of their young forwards who were pressed into extended playing time, among them centers Cody Glass, Tommy Novak and Juuso Parssinen. From Feb. 12 to the end of the season, Novak, 26, led the Predators with 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) in 31 games and Glass, 24, was third with 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 32 games. Parssinen, 22, had 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 42 games between his NHL debut Nov. 12 and Feb. 23, when he sustained an upper-body injury that sidelined him 23 games. The hope is those three, along with forwards Philip Tomasino, 22, and Luke Evangelista, 21, can continue to develop and add youthful energy to the Nashville attack.

Roman Josi ranks in at 24


Making the cut

Yaroslav Askarov was one of the best goalies in the American Hockey League last season, going 26-16-5 with a 2.69 goals-against average, .911 save percentage and three shutouts in 48 regular-season games for Milwaukee, and a .903 save percentage in 12 playoff games. Juuse Saros will return as the Predators starter, with Kevin Lankinen the backup, but the 21-year-old will push them for playing time.

Most intriguing addition

Trotz ushered in a new era when he replaced David Poile as general manager July 1, giving the Predators a new leader in hockey operations for the first time since the founding of the franchise in 1997. Trotz has been putting his imprint on the franchise since he returned to Nashville as an adviser to Poile on Feb. 26, overseeing the hiring of Brunette as coach, the signing of Ryan O'Reilly, the trade of Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche and the buyout of the final three seasons of Duchene's contract, among other moves. It will be interesting to see what else Trotz has in mind as the season progresses.

Biggest potential surprise

Fedor Svechkov, a first-round pick (No. 19) in the 2021 NHL Draft, signed a three-year, entry-level contract May 5 and is ready to play in North America this season. The 20-year-old helped Khimik Voskresensk win the championship in the VHL, Russia's top minor league, with seven points (five goals, two assists) in nine playoff games, and also had four points (two goals, two assists) in 27 games with Spartak Moskva in the Kontinental Hockey League. Svechkov likely will start the season with Milwaukee of the AHL but it's not a stretch to see the Predators wanting his high-end offensive game in the NHL.

Ready to contribute

O'Reilly was the biggest addition to the Predators roster this offseason, signing a four-year contract July 1. The 32-year-old is a respected veteran who helped lead the St. Louis Blues to the Stanley Cup in 2019, and showed last season he can be a significant offensive contributor with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 13 regular-season games and nine points (three goals, six assists) in 11 playoff games for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He'll be counted on heavily on and off the ice this season.

Fantasy sleeper

Novak, C (undrafted on average in fantasy) -- The center benefited from top-line usage down the stretch last season and was quietly tied for their second best points-per-game average (0.84; 43 in 51 games) behind Josi (0.88). Novak should continue to fly under the fantasy radar after Nashville signed O'Reilly this offseason but still has deep sleeper appeal, especially if he lands on the first power play (12 power-play points last season) with Josi, O'Reilly and Forsberg. -- Pete Jensen

Nashville Predators 2023-24 Season Preview


Filip Forsberg -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Luke Evangelista

Juuso Parssinen -- Cody Glass -- Gustav Nyquist

Denis Gurianov -- Tommy Novak -- Philip Tomasino

Yakov Trenin -- Colton Sissons -- Cole Smith

Roman Josi -- Luke Schenn

Ryan McDonagh -- Tyson Barrie

Dante Fabbro -- Alexandre Carrier

Juuse Saros

Kevin Lankinen