Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators, Roman Josi, Ryan O'Reilly

Predators’ Leading Scorers Entering the 2nd Half of the Season

The Nashville Predators sit just outside the playoffs coming out of NHL All-Star Weekend. Their 26-23-2 record ties them in points – 54 – with the St. Louis Blues for the Western Conference’s final wild card spot; however, their Central Division foe has played 49 games to Nashville’s 51, giving them the slight edge.

While the Predators are poised to make a run at a playoff berth down the homestretch of the NHL season, the next few weeks leading up to the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline will paint a clearer picture for general manager Barry Trotz and co. Lingering questions about whether this Predators team is worth investing in, or whether it’s best shedding roster players for future picks and prospects will be gnawing at fans’ minds – of course, the Predators could stand pat and let the season play out, but that’s the boring move.

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Meanwhile, three players have led the scoring charge amidst the trade rumors circulating various roster players, the franchise’s up-and-down first 51 games, and inconsistency in multiple facets of the team. Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi, and Ryan O’Reilly sit one, two, and three in team scoring, giving hope that a return to the postseason might be on the horizon for Smashville.

Filip Forsberg

After being buddy-buddy with Justin Bieber during All-Star Weekend, Forsberg and his moustache are ready to hit the ice in Nashville colors for the season’s second half. The Predators’ leading scorer is on track to put up his second point-per-game (P/G) season and might even threaten his career-high of 84 points set back in 2021-22.

Filip Forsberg Nashville Predators
Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

While his P/G is nowhere close to the staggering 1.22 set in his career year, his 51 points, 24 of which are goals, in 51 games is nothing to scoff at. Forsberg’s been the Predators’ MVP this season, as evidenced by his All-Star selection. While his show-stopping performance in Toronto last weekend left Maple Leafs fans wanting the Swedish star repping the blue and white, Predators fans get to see him game-in and game-out in gold and navy blue.

Roman Josi

The Predators’ captain is two seasons removed from his 96-point record-setting season. While Roman Josi’s point totals since aren’t as gargantuan as that, he’s more than lived up to his status as an elite, number-one defenseman in the NHL.

Josi has scored 45 points through 51 games this season. He’s hit double-digits in goals for the third consecutive season and should easily smash last season’s assist and point totals. Sure, he might struggle to be a point-per-game player again in his career, but being just a hair under is a remarkable accomplishment nonetheless.

Roman Josi Nashville Predators
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Easily, the best story stemming from Josi’s campaign is his ability to stay healthy. The 33-year-old had his fair share of injuries over the last few seasons. He’s yet to appear in a full 82 – or in the bubble year, 56 – games since 2018-19, but after playing in each of the Predators’ 51 games so far, he might reach this feat. Even if the Predators miss the postseason, a healthy Josi is a reason for hopes to be high in Nashville.

Ryan O’Reilly

The Predators’ big free agent signing has solidified the Predators’ first line. Ryan O’Reilly slotted in nicely between Forsberg and Gustav Nyquist, and together, the trio is driving offense, putting up points, and playing an exciting style of hockey not typically seen in Nashville.

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The stability, leadership, and all-around skill O’Reilly brings is a quintessential reason why the Predators remain in the playoff hunt. However, his scoring is what’s stood out thus far. His 42 points in 51 games have surpassed the 30 through 53 he put up last season, and he is poised to have his best statistical season since his 2018-19 campaign.

O’Reilly only has a four-point lead over Nyquist, his fellow free-agent signing. Regardless of who is in the top three of the Predators scoring between the two by season’s end, their acquisitions have been nothing short of sensational.

Related: Predators Leave Valuable Points on the Board in Loss to Kings

While the Predators find themselves in a similar situation, standings-wise, to last season, their top scorers have delivered, or in O’Reilly’s case, over-delivered so far. With the Predators on a three-game losing skid, we could soon see Trotz make some deals while the trade market is hot and sell off some roster players. Regardless, Forsberg, Josi, and O’Reilly have consistently found ways to put the puck in the net, and it’s safe to assume they’ll continue to do so in the Predators’ remaining 31 games.

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