Nashville Predators Lose Four Key Players

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DETROIT, MICHIGAN - FEBRUARY 23: Ryan Ellis #4 of the Nashville Predators controls the puck in front of Luke Glendening #41 of the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at Little Caesars Arena on February 23, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators have had a very disappointing season thus far. With expectations sky-high for the Predators at the start season, but the team has failed to live up to those expectations. They have played 21 games and have only won 10 games. Sitting in sixth place in the central division the Predators needed a lot to go right to get back into a playoff race.

Instead, the exact opposite happened. It was announced on 3/2/2021 that Ryan Ellis and Luke Kunin had suffered injuries and will be joining Brad Richardson, and Mark Borowiecki on the injured reserve list for at least the next two weeks. Another significant loss for the Predators was also announced on March 2nd. It was announced that Ryan Johansen was placed on the COVID-19 protocol list and he will not be able to play for the next couple of weeks.

The bad news continued into March third when it was announced that goaltender Juuse Saros suffered an upper-body injury and would be considered day to day. Since the Predators have lost four of their key players the chances they make a competitive push towards the playoffs look even slimmer than they were before.

Nashville Predators Lose Ryan Ellis for four to six weeks

Arguably the Predator’s second-best defenseman and one of their veteran leaders have suffered an upper-body injury that won’t allow him to play for the next four to six weeks. There have not been many bright spots this season for the Predators but Ryan Ellis has been one of them.

In 21 games he has scored two goals and has assisted on seven for nine total points. This production has made him one of the better players for Predators in real life, and he has been very good in fantasy hockey. He plays in different situations and has been a critical player on the power play and penalty kill for the Predators. Ellis plays almost 25 minutes a night for the Predators and will be dearly missed for the next four to six weeks.

The Predators will most likely put Ben Harpur and Alexandre Carrier into the lineup to try and fill the void that Ryan Ellis leaves. Obviously, Ellis is much better than Harpur or Carrier but hopefully, they play well enough to help get the Predators a few wins. 

Predators Lose Luke Kunin for two to four Weeks

Luke Kunin was a Predators offseason acquisition and he has suffered a lower-body injury that doesn’t allow him to play for the next 2-4 weeks. The 23-year-old from Missouri joined the Predators when he traded by the Minnesota Wild. Since joining the Nashville Predators Kunin has played in 17 games and has scored two goals. He has also added three assists for five total points. So far this season he is playing about 14 minutes a game proving that he has been a solid addition to the Predators lineup. 

In his absence, the Nashville Predators will need Mathieu Olivier to come in and replace Kunin’s production. Also, the Predators need fellow former Minnesota Wild players and offseason acquisitions Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula to step up. Read more about the Granlund and Haula signings here.

Ryan Johansen Gets Placed on the COVID List

The Nashville Predators will be missing their best center for a little while as he was placed on the NHL’s Covid protocol list. Similar to the Predators as a team, Johansen has had a very disappointing season. He has only played in 14 games so far but he has no goals. He has contributed five assists though. His passing abilities will be missed for a little while he is in the NHL’s covid protocol list. Hopefully, Johansen can come back healthy and rejuvenated.  In absence of Johansen’s, the Predators will lean on Eeli Tolvanen and Matt Duchene to pick up the scoring slack left but Johansen.

Nashville Predators Lose Juuse Saros for a Few Days

Juuse Saros has been a part of the Nashville Predators for a few seasons now. To this point, he has been a backup goalie to Pekka Rinne. This season Saros has started to take over the starting goalie position. Unfortunately, he suffered an upper-body injury during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes when Nino Niederreiter body checked Saros behind the net.

It looks like Niederreiter’s hit may have clipped Juuse Saros in the head. Niederreiter was fined $5000 dollars for his actions. Due to the accident Saros will be out of commission for a couple of days. Hopefully, Saros can make a full recovery and elevate his game when he returns.

So far this season Saros has played 13 games and has earned a disappointing .895 save percentage and a 3.10 goals-against average. Despite the underwhelming statistics, Saros has remained the starting goalie for the Nashville Predators. In his absence, Kasimir Kaskisuo will be most likely be promoted from the Taxi squad to the active roster. With a little rest over the course of the next few days hopefully, Saros can come back better than ever.

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