Predators’ Injuries Have Derailed Playoff Push

Horrible injury luck has defined the Nashville Predators‘ 2022-23 season. They are missing three top-six forwards, captain Roman Josi, and additional defensive depth as they make a final push for the 2023 NHL Playoffs. Other reasons add to why they are on the outside in the tight playoff race in the Western Conference. However, consistently missing star players is the primary reason for the Predators’ struggles. Their resilience to withstand constant absences from their roster while remaining within reach of the postseason is impressive; however, it does leave fans wondering if this season could have been different if the Preds’ fortunes were better.

Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.

The Hockey Writers HockeyPedia 800x120

Predators’ Current Injuries

It is almost comical reading the number of star names out for the Predators. Preds fans, proceed cautiously, as the list is not a fun reading experience.

Roman Josi’s Injury

Josi is day-to-day after sustaining an injury in an overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on March 18 – the biggest name on the Preds’ injured list, and, at the worst possible moment. He should be ready to play any day now, and it is safe to say that even at 70 percent strength, he is still one of the best defensemen in the NHL.

Roman Josi Nashville Predators
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Norris Trophy winner from last season is following up his remarkable 2021-22 season with another. Eighteen goals and 41 assists for 59 points in 67 games speaks for itself. If he returns, Josi will have the opportunity to reach the 20-goal plateau for the second time in his career. His career-high for goals is 23. The playoff hopes of the Predators fall in the hands of his health. If he can return soon, with his upper-body injury not proving too taxing, they can still sneak into a wild-card spot. 

Filip Forsberg

Filip Forsberg, arguably the Predators’ best forward, has been on injured reserve since Feb. 28. The most significant detriment to their playoff chances – this injury alone, is the biggest ‘what if?’ of the Predators’ season. The season-ending injury came as a shock to all fans and made the 2023 NHL Playoffs an uphill battle.

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

If Forsberg remains in the lineup during March and April, the Predators will surely win an additional one or two games, placing them in a playoff spot ahead of the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames. He has 19 goals and 23 assists for 42 points this season on an offensively bleak Nashville team. 

Ryan Johansen’s Season-Ending Injury

Ryan Johansen underwent season-ending leg surgery in February. His injury leaves a gaping hole up the middle. Matt Duchene was the sole top-six center before getting injured himself on Tuesday (March 28). Johansen, one of the longest-tenured Predators, has not played since Feb. 21 and has 12 goals and 16 assists this season. His scoring totals are far from the 63 points in 79 games he had last season. 

Ryan Johansen Nashville Predators
Ryan Johansen, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Leg injuries are scary for NHL players. Skating is one of the most important aspects of a player’s game. With dwindling point totals, it is in the best interest of the Predators to take it slow with Johansen, allowing him to miss the start of the 2023-24 season if needed to ensure he is healthy.

Related: Predators’ Cody Glass Finally Getting NHL Opportunity

Latest News & Highlights

Duchene Latest to Fall For Predators

Duchene is the latest domino to fall as major injuries mount for the Predators. He is week-to-week after withstanding a shot off the hand in the loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this week. He left that game, and with three top-six forwards absent from the organization’s forward core, their playoff hopes continue to shrink as the season nears its end. His career resurgence continued from last, scoring 22 goals and 34 assists for 56 points in 71 games. 

Predators’ Depth Injuries

Defencemen Alexandre Carrier and Mark Borowiecki are not players that will sink a season, but a lack of depth is never good. Borowiecki, who has five points in 83 games with the Predators since signing in the 2020 offseason, is a suitable depth defenceman capable of providing big hits and racking up penalty minutes. His veteran presence is valuable on a team moving towards youth; however, his absence would never be the move that swings the playoff pendulum one way or the other. 

Alexandre Carrier Nashville Predators
Alexandre Carrier, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Carrier, a young defenceman finally finding his role in the NHL, had a career year in the 2021-22 season with three goals and 27 assists for 30 points while logging nearly 21 minutes of ice time. This season proved to be a down year offensively while having his average ice time stripped back to only 17:53. He is developing into a reliable top-six defenceman with top-four upside. Still, with more competition for spots on the defensive core, he needs to prove this injury is something in the past. He will look to bounce back from his upper-body injury sustained early in the season and rebound in 2023-24, providing the offensive punch the Predators know he is capable of. 

Predators’ Playoff Push

The Predators currently sit 10th in the Western Conference with 82 points in 73 games played. The Jets sit in the final wild-card spot with 85 points in 75 games. Fate still, miraculously, remains in the injury-riddled Preds’ hands. The Jets and Flames are playing poorly to end the season, leaving the playoffs possible despite the team’s many injuries. 

The Predators have removed themselves from the Connor Bedard sweepstakes with a late-season push; therefore, clinching two home games in the postseason for the fans and, from the owner’s perspective, an increase in revenue remains the biggest hope for a team showing strength and resilience during a time of adversity. 

Sign up for our regular 'Predators Newsletter' for all the latest.