Season series: Tied 1-1
Once “NHL Placeholder Team Q” or whichever alphabetical squad won the Phase 1 of the draft lottery, many predicted that the Coyotes would be eliminated in this series and win Phase 2 (god the NHL is dumb) given that
Phoenix Arizona forward Taylor Hall is essentially a draft lottery leprechaun. Me? I tend to think that the former MVP wants to prove himself in the desert before booking it in free agency. I think Hall will come up big, and I’m expecting more production out of Phil Kessel and depth guys like Hinostroza. That being said, Nashville seems to boast more top end talent. I expect Matt Duchene to step up his game and for the Preds’ top line (put the Forsberg, Johansen, and Arvidsson back together!!) to be clicking. EDGE: Nashville
Nashville used to have arguably the best top 6 in the league. They’ve fallen off a bit, but Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis are still elite. With all due respect to the current career of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the former career of Niklas Hjalmarsson, I just don’t think Arizona matches up as well in the backend. EDGE: Predators
Word from the Predators coaching staff – and by that I mean words spoken to people who do this for a living – is that Nashville will be splitting time between their goalies. Pekka Rinne is no longer the Pekka Rinne of old, and without looking it up I couldn’t tell you a darn thing about their 1B. Arizona, on the other hand, is apparently going to split time as well, but among two goalies who led the team to some of the best goals against numbers in the league. EDGE: Pho…Arizona
Although by all accounts he is very well liked by his players, I’m incredibly intimidated by Rick Tocchet. It’s a good combo. EDGE: Coyotes
Quick thoughts about this series: I’m thinking about doing a series ranking based on jersey matchups, and I would have to think this will be dead last. When I put “Coyotes Predators” in the old Google machine to steal whatever picture I used for this post, I foolishly assumed I would get hockey pictures in return. Despite some all star talent, I have to imagine this will be one of the least watched matchups. Seems like a good place to bury an upset pick. Prediction: Arizona in 5.