Most likely to Succeed is our newest series which points out one player from every team and explains why that player is poised to increase their point totals. While some teams may have more than one player likely to breakout and some none, we will focus on the ones who actually should improve with a full healthy season. File this article under a sleeper-type but sleepers would not be called that if people saw them coming.
Since losing winger Alexander Radulov to the KHL the Nashville Predators have lacked legitimate scoring skill. Their style adapted from a tough team who worked hard every shift while allowing skill players to carry them to just working hard every night and scraping for wins. Due to this only Patric Hornqvist held any real value amongst forwards and we will not be choosing a forward from Nashville.
Shea Weber looks like the main pick here, and for a plethora of reasons. Let me list:
- Next year he enters restricted free agency and is due a raise. His current 4.5 million salary compares actually favorably to the recent NHL free agency market but he could argue for at least more than former teammate Dan Hamhuis. Regardless, he needs to continue to prove himself as an elite defender— something we find him capable of.
- He has led all Nashville defenders for the past two seasons, after both Kimmo Timmonen and Marek Zidlicky were dealt. At the top of the depth chart he sees every opportunity to blast shots from the point.
- The Predators have improved by shedding Jason Arnott and adding speedster Matthew Lombardi and the super-skilled Sergei Kostitsyn. Ryan Porth of Red Light District feels this may be the best team the Predators have ever assembled. If they make the playoffs, Weber will have a huge role in their success.
- Durability- he has only missed five games over two seasons.
- During the Olympics he was regarded as one of the best defenders in the world. Pretty impressive words, not necessarily fantasy relevant but I always try to employ special type players.
Next season the Predators may or may not make the playoffs. Their one constant for the past few years has been Weber; it should continue to be Weber.