I take a lot of significance from numbers (not numerology?), and jersey numbers have always been an interesting part of player research when I’m looking at individuals. While Colton Sissons wore #18 in the AHL, he chose to wear #10 as his permanent (non-rookie) number when he was promoted to a full-time NHLer. However, don’t forget that in the 2015-2016 season, Sissons was logging a ton of frequent flyer miles between Milwaukee and Nashville. During that season, he was wearing #84 – #84 currently belongs to Tanner Jeannot. Significant? Maybe? Am I dumb for thinking too hard about this? Probably yes. Here’s
Let’s switch gears to this season. Sissons remains underrated in the League as a whole, but the 28-year old is an absolute linchpin fior Nashville. I’m looking forward to another season from him. It’s clear he can support wingers like Yakov Trenin and Tanner Jeannot, but is he built for more? Let’s assume the “Herd” line is Nashville’s third line. Is this the perfect scenario? It seems to make a little more sense than bumping Jeannot and Sissons down to the fourth line. Sissons himself sets the tone for this line.
It seems like a distant memory now, but there was a time when Sissons was a top-6 center due to injuries in Nashville’s lineup. While he was a top centerman when he captained the Admirals, that AHL success hasn’t been mirrored in the NHL. Honestly, that’s quite fine for those of us who are fond of young Sissons and his skill set. We’re talking about a player who wears no letter, but quietly leads on and off the ice. Sissons is a veteran player, and he’s the epitome of reliability. When he does go down with an injury, we haven’t seen significant decline in his play when he returns.
I’d expect the “Herd” line to transform into one of the better third lines in the Central Division. If Sissons and his linemates can remain healthy, their combination of physical play and a bit of scoring touch will relieve the pressure on the older Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen. With the “Herd” line becoming popular in Predators fandom as well as in John Hynes’ playbook, we saw Sissons’ average time on ice increase by roughly two minutes this season. That’s a trusted (and well-loved) line. It felt like the “Herd” line was the only line that showed up against the Avalanche in May.
One of the things that often strikes me about Colton Sissons is his faceoff prowess. He’s one of the better Predators in the faceoff circle, and Coach John Hynes trusts Sissons and his line to come up with possession after a faceoff in Nashville’s defensive zone. They’re not going to blow your mind with a magical breakout play, but Sissons and Trenin have a knack for finding Jeannot crashing around in front of the net. Our friend Alex from A to Z Sports looks at Sissons’ faceoff skills in this article. As Alex notes, Sissons is a master at “set plays,” fishing the puck away from opponents and maintaining possession for chances on net immediately following the faceoff.
Hockey-reference.com lists a mind-blowing 719 faceoff wins for Sissons last season. That’s a win percentage of 55.7%. This puts Sissons in the same faceoff wins category as players like Aleksander Barkov, Auston Matthews, Patrice Bergeron, and more. I could go on and on about Sissons on the penalty kill, but his play speaks for itself.
One Bold Prediction:
I’d like to see Sissons best his 2018-2019 record of 15 goals. If the “Herd” line will be a true third line for Nashville, they’ll have more than enough opportunity to find the back of the net with regularity. Yakov Trenin and Tanner Jeannot are hard-nosed, contact-and-offense-first players. Sissons is excellent in two-way play and an excellent defensive forward. He will play the best hockey of his career this season.