Skip to content

Nashville relies on growth from young scorers

Aug 18, 2013, 8:15 PM EDT

gabrielbourquegetty Getty Images

The Nashville Predators spent quite a bit in free agency this summer, yet with all due respect to Viktor Stalberg and Matt Cullen, the team mainly bolstered its traditional defensive strengths.

It’s more than reasonable to ask: “Who, exactly, is going to score for this team next season?” Looking at the makeup of the roster, the hopeful answer might come from within.

One can assume that the team’s defense might actually generate a lot of the offense, but Barry Trotz and David Poile are probably crossing their fingers that the team’s young scorers will leap forward. Here are four players worth noting:

Gabriel Bourque (22): Only David Legwand (12 goals) topped Bourque’s 11 tallies in 2013, and the young forward (no relation to Ray) played in 14 fewer contests. Legwand, Bourque and Mike Fisher were the three Predators who were able to score 10+ goals last season.

Colin Wilson (23): The seventh pick of the 2008 draft finished his 2013 season with 18 points in his last 18 games (19 in 25 overall) before injuries shut things down. He has a solid 46 goals in 210 career regular season contests.

Patric Hornqvist (26): Unlike the other guys on this list, Nashville would probably be delighted if Hornqvist merely matches his past exploits. The Predators might dream of him matching his career-high of 30 goals in 2009-10, but they’d likely settle for 20+ goals, too.

Craig Smith (23): He hasn’t produced on the level of the other young scorers, yet he has the potential to dazzle at any moment. Smith could make a nice step forward if he can stay out of Trotz’s doghouse.

As it stands, the Predators have a glut of NHL-caliber forwards, so it’s possible that they might even tweak this group a bit.

Either way, Nashville will likely need a couple of these players to take the next step forward or the Predators’ offense could really sputter in 2013-14.

More from Predators day at PHT

Can Jones make the jump?

Nashville preys for goals

Is Barry Trotz an elite coach?

Pekka Rinne faces pressure to improve

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Antropov mulling NHL return

    Jul 27, 2015, 9:29 PM EDT

    Nik Antropov Getty Images

    But are any teams mulling his return?

  2. Mayers returning to ‘Hawks in front office role

    Jul 27, 2015, 8:21 PM EDT

    jamalmayersgetty Getty Images

    Where he’ll work as a community liaison.

  3. ‘I don’t want to play in the AHL next year,’ says Detroit’s Callahan

    Jul 27, 2015, 6:21 PM EDT

    MitchCallahan Getty Images

    24-year-old forward would require waivers to be sent down…

  4. Still unsigned, Briere contemplating retirement

    Jul 27, 2015, 5:22 PM EDT

    Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche

    “I’ll have to start thinking about it more and more in the next couple of weeks.”

  5. Avs ink former first-rounder Hishon to one-year deal

    Jul 27, 2015, 3:26 PM EDT

    Hishon2 Getty Images

    Looking to become a full-time NHLer after suffering a series of injuries at the start his pro career.

  6. Devils GM: Larsson has ‘only scratched the surface’ of his potential

    Jul 27, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    Adam Larsson AP

    He calls it the six-year, $25 million contract “good for both sides.”

  7. Soderberg didn’t hesitate in signing with Avs

    Jul 26, 2015, 9:57 PM EDT

    Boston Bruins v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

    Playing between Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon would excite plenty of people.

  8. Gionta: Sabres’ offseason ‘excites guys in the locker room’

    Jul 26, 2015, 8:50 PM EDT

    Andrej Meszaros, Rasmus Ristolainen, Brian Gionta AP

    Holdovers are noticing a summer of improvements for Buffalo.

  9. Byron (wrist) hopes to be ready for Flames’ training camp

    Jul 26, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Paul Byron AP

    The two sides avoided arbitration on Sunday.

  10. Can the Blue Jackets justify their big spending?

    Jul 26, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

    Columbus hasn’t had a long history of being a “cap team.”

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Holtby (2580)
  2. G. Bettman (2165)
  3. A. Larsson (2035)
  4. D. Stepan (1732)
  5. C. Ehrhoff (1596)
  1. P. Datsyuk (1529)
  2. R. Johansen (1502)
  3. A. Semin (1492)
  4. C. Smith (1488)
  5. A. Anisimov (1459)