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Preds year in review

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PRESEASON OUTLOOK Nobody took them serious as a real cup contender, most felt they were a borderline playoff team. If it breaks right, a low end playoff spot. If it dont, a near miss.


FINAL RECORD 45-30-7 97 POINNTS 5th in Central, lost in first round sweep to the Avalanche'


HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR They entered play December 4th 12-10-1 and then went on a seven game winning streak, followed by two losses (one in overtime for a losers point) then a five game winning streak. The 12-1-1 run moved them near the top of the Division and included two nice wins against the Avalanche. It would be easy to say the stretch run where they locked up a playoff spot as the high point but truth is, they were pretty bad down the stretch but Vegas was worse. They actualy went 4-5-4 in their final 13 games So I consider the nice December/January run as the high point.


LOW POINT OF THE YEAR They lost in the first round to the Avalanche 4 games to nil and were outscored 21 to 9. Saros was injured and the Preds can try to say that if he had been in it might have made a difference. It might, they likely would have still be swept but only outscored 16-9 or something like that.


WHAT WENT RIGHT Saros was a workhorse (38-25-3) and was the main reason they made the postseason. If there is a more underrated blueliner than Roman Josi I cant place them, 96 points in 80 games, just incredible. Matt Duchene came back from the dead with 43 goals and 86 points. Filip Forsberg added 42 goals. Granlund was fantastic as a setup man especially on a surprisingly strong power play. Johansen like Duchene lived right and had a renaissance.  Fabbro and Carrier continue the long line of Predator blueliners they have developed. The team rolled four lines that could score, 10 guys had double digit goals. Tenner Jeannot had a fantastic rookie year as a nasty piece of work, willing to fight anyone any time and scored 24 goals.


WHAT WENT WRONG Big Game Dave Rittich was lousy in the regular season and worse in the playoffs. Much more than 11 goals was expected out of Eeli Tolvanen.Jeremy Lauzon came over from the Kraken at the deadline and did pretty much nothing. Cody Glass spent most of the year at Milwaukee and is looking more like a career AHL player and NHL bust. 


FREE AGENTS and DRAFT PICKS  Moment of truth for Filip Forsberg who is a sweet smooth goal scorer, he is an UFA and will demand big money, the Preds desperately want to keep him but he is likely gone. Nick Cousins had a surprisingly solid year on the 4th line and is an UFA as well and the Preds want him to return as well. They do not have a second because they traded it for Lauzon.


TOP PROSPECTS Yaro Askarov is coming to North America and is widely considered if not the best goalie prospect in the game then certainly on the short list. Saros is young and talented but may be forced out of town soon by Askarov. Phillip Tomasino performed very well in limited duty in Nashville this year and is here to stay in the middle six. David Farrance will crack the blueline this year, likely paired with college teammate Fabbro with whom he has great chemistry. Luke Evangelista is a solid bottom six forward prospect who could play up a bit, he will make the team with a strong camp. Yegor Afanasyev a former second rounder is considered a solid prospect but I dont know. I watched him play twice this year, he looks like a floater....


  Overall the prospect pool is good to very good with a bunch of 18/19 year olds who are still several years away so I didnt mention them. The Preds always seem to draft well.


COOLEST NAME Take your pick, Roman Josi or Luke Evangelista. Both are unique and fun to say.


STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR Did you know the Predators were the nastiest meanest team in Hockey this year, and it wasnt even close? They led the league in team penalty minutes with 1057, next closest was the Bolts who were over 100 behind. They led the league in minor penalties and by a massive margin led the league in fighting majors with 61. the Wild were next with only 36, only three teams had half as many fights as the Preds. Borowiecki led the league in Penalty minutes in spite of playing in only 57 games and Jeannot was third. They also led the league in penaties drawn, so their games were among the most spirited of any played night in and night out.A lot of this was by design, the Preds had the third most power play goals in the game 


OFFSEASON OUTLOOK Swept in 4 straight, the Preds still consider the year a winner, Duchene and Johanson came back to life, lots of talented kids, the big question is can they find a way of keeping Forsberg? Saros is signed to a sweetheart deal, three more years at 5 million a season, is there a chance they move him and hand the wheel to Askarov? Probably not but remember the name, he will be in North America this year and Milwaukee is a temporary destination.

Edited by yave1964
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