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The Predators hope to go far with McDonagh and Niederreiter

After the 2022 NHL Draft, the opening of the free agent market and several staff moves during the offseason, NHL.com is profiling the various teams for the 2022-23 season, which begins on October 7. Today, the Nashville Predators.

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Record in 2021-22: 45-30-7, fifth in the Central section; eliminated by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the playoffs
Best striker : Matt Duchene (43)
Best passer: Roman Josi (73)
Top scorer: Joey (96)

The arrivals

• Ryan McDonagh (R)
• Nino Niederreiter (A)
• Kevin Lankinen (G)
• Zach Sanford (F)

McDonagh was acquired in a July 3 trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning for the defenseman Philip Myers and forward prospect Grant Mismash. The 33-year-old defenseman had 26 points (four goals, 22 assists) in 71 games last season. The 12-year veteran, who won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2020 and 2021, could play with Mattias Ekholm.

Niederreiter signed a two-year contract on July 21 after registering 44 points (24 goals, 20 assists) in 75 games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. He should have a place in the first two lines.

Video: CAR@NYR, #3: Niederreiter cuts the deficit

Lankinen agreed to a one-year contract on July 14. The 27-year-old goalkeeper will be the reserve behind Juuse Saros in replacement of david rittich. Lankinen was 8-15-6 with a 3.50 goals-against average and .891 save percentage in 32 games (29 starts) with the Chicago Blackhawks last season.

Sanford, a 27-year-old forward, signed a one-year contract with the Predators on July 15. He had a career-high 169 hits in 80 games with the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets last season. He will bring strength to the fourth line of a team that finished first in the NHL in hits in 2021-22 (2,470).

Departures

• Luke Kunin (A)
• Nick Cousins ​​(A)
• Matt Benning (R)
• David Rittich (G)

Kunin was traded to the San Jose Sharks on July 8. He had 22 points (13 goals, nine assists) in 82 games last season. Benning meanwhile agreed to a four-year contract with the Sharks on July 14. The 28-year-old defenseman had 11 points (all assists) in 65 games last season.

Cousins ​​agreed to a two-year contract with the Florida Panthers on July 19 after recording 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 68 games last season.

Rittich signed a one-year contract with the Jets on July 13. In 17 games (12 starts) last season, he was 6-3-4 with a 3.57 GAA and .857 save percentage.

They knock on the door

• Egor Afanasyev (A)

The 21-year-old forward played his first professional season in North America last season, recording 33 points (12 goals, 21 assists) in 74 games with the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League. A second-round pick (45th overall) in 2019, Afanasyev signed a three-year rookie contract on October 19, 2019.

Needs

Adding McDonagh on defense and Niederreiter on offense makes the Predators a much better team. They might need another elite striker to own a truly impressive top-6. Eeli TolvanenNashville’s 2017 first-round pick, will get a chance to grab that role. Phillip Tomasino and Tanner Jeannot would be the other in-house options.

what they said

“They represent such a competitive team. They are fast, very physical and difficult to face. […] I think this team is not too far from a long run in the playoffs. » — defender Ryan McDonagh

Planned training

Filip ForsbergMikael Granlund — Matt Duchene
Nino NiederreiterRyan Johansen — Eeli Tolvanen
Yakov Trenin — Colton Sissons — Tanner Jeannot
Zach Sanford — Cody Glass — Philip Tomasino

Roman Josi–Alexandre Carrier
Mattias Ekholm –Ryan McDonagh
Jérémy Lauzon — Dante Fabbro

Juuse Saros
Kevin Lankinen

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