Regular Season: After going to the second round of the playoffs in both 2011 and 2013, the 2013 season should have been the continuation of the upward trend for the Predators. Instead, they took a big step backward as Pekka Rinne had an up and down season, and the Predators couldn’t score enough, falling to 14th in the Eastern Conference
Playoffs: The Preds were 14 points out of a playoff spot.
Ready To Make The Jump: F Filip Forsberg, D Seth Jones
BIG 3 FACTORS
1. Who Is Gonna Score?: The Predators added some veteran presence up front, but they are still going to be goal-challenged and there will be a lot of pressure on young prospect Forsberg to alleviate some of that load.
2. Rinne Bounce-back: He had some bumps and bruises, but the Finnish standout Pekka Rinne wasn’t up to par last season. He has more pressure probably than any goalie in the league, because of the limited offensive potential and lack of a proven understudy now that Mason has been let go. If Rinne isn’t in the Vezina conversation at year’s end, then the Predators will be in trouble.
3. No Change At The Top: The Predators have had the same GM (David Poile) and Head Coach (Barry Trotz) for their entire existence. Eventually their message is going to fall on deaf ears and a change is going to be needed in Nashville. If they don’t make the playoffs this year that change might come sooner rather than later.
PROGNOSIS: The blue line has been the Predators deepest position over the years, and with 4th overall pick Seth Jones falling in their laps, that will only get better. Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Kevin Klein, Ryan Ellis and Jones form a rock-solid unit that is loaded with youth that will start to overcome losing Ryan Suter for nothing. They might not be able to score more than 2 or 2.5 goals per game, but with that unit and Rinne back on his game, then the Predators should be playoff bound.
PREDICTION: 3rd Central Division
We have been and will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th. As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings. Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):
|1||Sept 9||Sept 8||Sept 7||Sept 6|
|2||Sept 5||Sept 4||Sept 3||Sept 2|
|3||Sept 1||Aug 31||Predators||Canucks|