Luke Evangelista, Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators 2022-23 Player Grades: Luke Evangelista

Welcome to the Nashville Predators 2022-23 report card series. In this series, we at The Hockey Writers look back at each Predators player from the past season, break down how their campaign went, and assign a letter grade reflective of their overall performance. This edition will focus on forward Luke Evangelista.

Evangelista’s End Of Season Impact

After dominating the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Milwaukee Admirals, the Predators called up Evangelista on Feb. 28. The opportunity arose following a mixture of selling at the trade deadline and injuries hitting the team. As his time in the NHL began, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Tanner Jeannot, and Mikael Granlund were absent from their forward core due to the aforementioned trades or injuries. He climbed the Predators pecking order through his great play, becoming a staple in the top six by the end of the season.

Related: Predators Rookie Luke Evangelista Making an Immediate Impact

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Evangelista scored seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 24 games. He had 15 takeaways to nine giveaways while drawing 14 penalties to only six taken, showing confidence and assertiveness. The Predators gave him a lot of opportunities to flash his offensive skill. He started 26.1 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, the highest among Preds players and third highest among all NHL players to play at least ten games during the 2022-23 season. He had a 55 percent Corsi For and was a consistent offensive force.

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Following the end of the Predators season, the organization sent him back down to play in the AHL Playoffs. In 16 playoff games with the Admirals, Evangelista scored four goals and 11 assists for 15 points, a near point-per-game pace. He has proved he is too good for the AHL, shown by his ease playing for the Admirals and his stellar 24-game stint in the NHL.

Evangelista’s Next Season With the Predators

Perhaps claiming Evangelista is looking like a future star is a bit too optimistic, but a notch below that feels fair at this moment. The Predators selected him 42nd overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, and he is looking like a massive steal from the class. With Thomas Novak, Juuso Parssinen, Philip Tomasino, and other budding stars, Evangelista will play with many talented young offensive weapons this upcoming season. Expect the Predators to lean on its offense more than in recent memory with Andrew Brunette as head coach.

Luke Evangelista Nashville Predators
Luke Evangelista, Nashville Predators (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Evangelista initially got his ice time due to trades and injuries. While Matt Duchene and Johansen are no longer with the team, recent free-agent signings make it more competitive to secure ice time up front. Ryan O’Reilly and Gustav Nyquist were signed to help scoring depth and provide leadership to the young players. Forsberg is returning from injury and will be the Predators’ primary offensive weapon. Even with a healthy Predators lineup and their additions in Nyquist and O’Reilly, it is hard to project Evangelista playing outside of the top six. He likely begins the season on the second line, assuming he doesn’t have an awful preseason.

Final Grade For Luke Evangelista: A-

In just 24 NHL games, Evangelista looked like one of the Predators’ best players. His offense brought much-needed energy and skill to an injury-riddled, trade-depleted team scratching and clawing for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. Despite the Predators falling short of the 2023 NHL Postseason, his play provided a glimpse into the team’s bright future. As the team continues re-tooling, Evangelista can speed up the Preds’ re-tool if he can improve on his short stint this past season. Regardless of the future, he was thrust into a position where he had to shine during the 2022-23 season and was brighter than ever.

Advanced stats were taken from Money Puck

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