The Nashville Predators are coming off their best year in franchise history. Finishing first in the Central Division, the Predators posted a 53-18-11 record with 117 points. That entitled the Predators to the President’s Trophy, making them the most successful team in the regular season. That was the only hardware the Predators won last year as the Predators fell to the Winnipeg Jets in the second round of the playoffs.
Despite a shortened postseason, general manager David Poile knows he has the team that can win the Stanley Cup. The team was relatively quiet in the offseason.
Additions: Dan Hamhuis– D (Dallas Stars).
Ryan Ellis– D re-signed to an eight-year contact; Ryan Hartman– F re-signed to a one-year contract; Miikka Salomaki– F re-signed to a two-year contract; Juuse Saros– G resigned to a three-year contract.
Forward Colton Sissons and blue liner Mattias Ekholm are productive defensive players and they generated their best regular-season numbers last year. Both should enhance their offensive production to help the club more in 2018-19.
What to Expect:
It was a disappointing end for Nashville last year. With higher expectations and postseason veterans returning, the Predators were cut short from a Cup-winning ending. Nevertheless, that does not take away their incredible regular season.
Three things we learned last year: 1) Nashville knows how to win. Only one team among 31 earns the President’s Trophy and 117 points speaks to their consistency. 2) Goalie Pekka Rinne won the Vezina Trophy last season, so we know he can be the best; he needs to be in the conversation again this year. 3) Getting offense from defensemen is a necessity in the postseason. The defensive core needs to contribute more when Stanley Cup play begins in April.
The Predators have unfinished business; that’s what a second-round playoff loss should mean to the team. Nashville has the ingredients to win the Cup: ample forward depth, an outstanding defensive core, and two consistently good goaltenders. Nashville has rebuilt themselves in the last couple of seasons, and it’s time for the hard work and patience to pay off.
—Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for Fullpresscoverage.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter @jack_woods15.
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