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Predators preview are they retooled or are they retread

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FINAL STANDINGS 42-32-8 92 POINTS 3 POINTS OUT OF A PLAYOFF SPOT. minus 9 goal differential


ADDITIONS  Luke Schenn brings grit to the back end. Nyquist if healthy is a 50 point a year steady winger. Ryan O'Reilly is the catch here, the desperately needed number one center.  Guryanov is a low risk, medium reward signing from Montreal. 


DEPARTURES Ryan Johansen takes his hot one year, cold the next body to the avalanche. Duchene was bought out and let leave for Dallas. Cal Foote and Zach Sanford were not resigned and went elsewhere.


TOP PROSPECTS The elephant in the room is that Nashville has one of the games best goalies in Saros but the absolute top goalie prospect in terms of ready now elite level talent in Askarov and failed to move one out to fill needs. They begin the year where they were all of last year with Saros in net and Askarov trapped in Milwaukee.


  Other prospects, Joakim Kemell is a real deal scorer but young and raw and will likely begin at the AHL level but if he is hot will get a legit shot at the age of 19 of being a difference maker. Luke Evangelista is a name who i have been hearing about for several years who is ready to join the middle six and put up decent numbers. A wildcard is Zachary L'Heareux, a little ball of hate on the wing who loves to hit and to score. Some scouts are calling him Marchand'ish, i think more Marchand-lite but still one to watch for. 



  Not ready to contend because their kids are just that, kids, too young to make a difference this year, but very talented and truthfully a year or two away. This list does not even include 18 year old Matthew Wood, huge scoring winger who IMHO was one of the steals of this years draft. I think the 18-20 year old talent in the system ranks up there with just about anyone, but that will not translate to this year.


  So for this year O'Reilly relaces Johansen (win) Nyquist replaces Duchene (loss) andSchenn brings grit while kids get their feet wet at the NHL level but are not really ready to make a big difference. I really was stunned that Saros was not dealt to the Kings, it still might happen mid season. One way or another Askarov will have to be given the keys to the Kingdom or moved out to fill holes. It is an aging blueline which by the time the kid forwards are ready in a couple of years will be a major problem if not addressed.


  So also ran, 90 points give or take a couple, flirt with playoffs but not getting there. They are two years from possibly having the best offense in team history but the defense will be aging and out of date by then. I am bullish on the kid forwards and Askarov but truth is something i doubt that i have ever said before, more than a bit worried both mid and longterm about the aging back end. I see the next three or four years being more of the same as weakness becomes strength and strength becomes weakness. Just a lower middle of the pack team that in a great year makes the playoffs and loses first round in six but most years wont even do that. 

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