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It’s Nashville Predators day on PHT

Aug 18, 2013, 9:28 AM EDT

Columbus Blue Jackets v Nashville Predators Getty Images

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Nashville Predators.

The Predators have been one of those curious success stories in the NHL. They’ve staved off, ahem, predatory bids to buy the team and overcome a wide range of issues to come out on top in Nashville.

Last season they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008-09 and wound up being rewarded in the NHL Draft with the fourth overall pick. They wound up getting the guy GM David Poile wanted most in defenseman Seth Jones. Not making it to the postseason turned out to be a blessing in disguise for coach Barry Trotz’s bunch, now they’ll have to take advantage of that and get back to the playoffs in the new Central Division.

Offseason recap

It turned out to be a very busy summer in Music City, U.S.A.

After landing Jones in the draft, free agency helped change the look of the team by seeing the Predators get a bit tougher. Out went guys like Jonathon Blum (Minnesota), Matt Halischuk (Winnipeg), Brandon Yip (Phoenix) and in came a group of forwards that will certainly fit into Trotz’s brand of hockey.

Viktor Stalberg, Matt Hendricks, Eric Nystrom, and Matt Cullen jump into the fray and give them a bit more skill (Stalberg and Cullen), toughness (Hendricks), and grit (Nystrom). Hendricks’ addition even gives them a guy who’s great in the shootout. These are solid, but not spectacular additions and should help them improve.

The issue with the Preds, however, is a guy like Cullen could wind up as the first line center. Cullen is a good all-around guy but doesn’t really stack up well with other top guys in the division like Jonathan Toews, Mikko Koivu, or Paul Stastny or Matt Duchene. If the Predators can recommit to their style of hockey and find some goals, they’ll be back in the playoffs.

Related:

Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

  1. girouxed - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    PEKKA PEKKA

  2. jacketsfan7 - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    RINNE RINNE

  3. deathbyspl - Aug 18, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    I really wish Poile would have passed up on Nystrom and Cullen for Grabovski and/or Brunner. He probably could have even picked them up later (like now) and signed them for peanuts rather than overpaying for role players.

    Overall, Preds will be toughest team to play against in the league next year. They will definitely make weaker bodied division teams like Avs and Jets really have to work. Preds may not have much top-6, but I guess the silver lining is that they have arguably the best bottom-6 combined with what will be the best defense corps over the next several seasons. I think Wilson and Bourque will have breakout years and become legitimate top line forwards. I think Stalberg will be good, not great, but good enough for 20 goals which is a milestone in a Trotz system. I’m hoping Forsberg makes a run for a Calder nomination. Phil Housley is the best offseason pickup though. He’s going to do wonders with Seth Jones, Ryan Ellis, and Ekholm which will make special teams so much better like the 11-12 season.

    I don’t see Trotz being with the team for much longer. He needs to deliver a strong a playoff run or at least a division title to keep his job, but his system is limited to only getting to the playoffs and there is a large crop of offensive forwards about to break into the NHL. I think it’s time for a change in that department if Trotz can’t deliver this season or next.

    Anyways….I’m ready for October. Lets go Predators!

  4. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    While much of what you say may well have merit, I can’t agree with your “best bottom six”. Hawks had the best 3rd and 4th lines in the lague last year, and will likely this year.

    • deathbyspl - Aug 19, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      really? this year? stalberg, bickell, frolik are gone. Hossa and Saad will have to stay top 6 leaving bhawks with an injury prone carcillo and a bunch of undersized boy scouts. Chicago’s bottom 6 is going to struggle against tougher teams this year. Not to mention, they will have to decide to risk keeping Hossa by the end of the season and they need to make cap room to keep other guys in the fold.

      don’t be shocked if bhawks get out-muscled again like they did in 11-12

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