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yave1964

Predators offseason primer

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FINAL RECORD 53-18-11 117 POINTS FIRST IN CENTRAL, lost in second round in seven games to the Jets

 

  The Preds went to the finals the year before and a lot was hoped for this season, they frankly did not disappoint. A loaded team remembered the attrition from the year before which left them unable to come up with 12 healthy forwards by the time they faced thePens in the finals, this year they kept adding pieces just in case and gearing up for a deep run. They had the greatest regular season in team history and beat Colorado rather easily in the first round before going out in seven thrilling games against the Jets. 

  What a year! It begins in net with Rinne winning an amazing 42 games, Saros established himself as one of the games best backups. 

 On defense, the grouping of Josi, Subban, Ekholm and Ellis has few if any equals and are supported by a nice veteran third trio in Weber, Emelin and Irwin.

  The forward depth which became a problem as the postseason went on two years ago became a strength, Arvidsson and Forsberg are a dynamic winger duo, Johansen, Turris and Jarnkrok are a fantastic trio down the middle with Mike Fisher centering the fourth line. Craig Smith as usual, like punching a clock scored 25 goals, Fiala had a fine year and has serious upside. Sissons and Watson were very dependable 4th liners who could bounce up and down thelines as needed.

  Like everyone else not everything went well. Bonino came over from Pittsburgh and was a mild disappointment, Hartnell in a return engagement was a non factor. Pontus Aberg sucked and was donated to Edmonton five seconds after the season was over. Ryan Hartman came over midseason and was a non factor, just a body.

  Easily the best season in Nashville history and they are young and hungry enough to keep it going.

 

TOP PROSPECTS

Eeli Tolvanen highlights a deep young talented bunch, a first rounder last year he reminds a lot of folk of Forsberg and while they are deep at forward there is a chance he cracks the team this year. Alexandre Carrier and Dante Fabbro are the next two talented skilled defenseman, Carrier is ready now to step in and force his way into the mix and Fabbro is a step behind but probably with a bit more upside. Emil Pettersson will force his way into the forward mix as a late bloomer, a 6th rounder a few years ago he has impressed with speed and vision. They have a deep and talented farm system.

 

FREE AGENTS

Hartnell and Emelin are goners and wont be missed. That is it.

  They have little cap space and need to resing RFAs Saros and Hartman. They are expected to return most of the team and keep on keeping on with perhaps just a bit of tweaking.

 

OFFSEASON QUESTIONS

RINNE IS AN UFA NEXT YEAR. DO YOU RESIGN HIM? A few years ago the whispers had started that Rinne was done but he has answered the bell over the past two years admirably. He is iconic, arguably the greatest player in team history but Juuse Saros is banging on the door. There are even a few rumors that the Predators may even listen to offers for Rinne this offseason and hand the reins to Saros. He makes 7 million this year in the last season of his deal, the odds are the Predators allow it to continue throughout the season.

 

CRAZY RUMOR; PK SUBBAN FOR ERIK KARLSSON IS ON THE TABLE. IF TRUE, DO YOU DO IT? Subban will make 9 million a year for the next four years, Karlsson as a UFA at years end is in line for more than that, possibly 11-12 million a year long term. Karlsson is a force of nature on the back end, the best offensive blueliner of his generation. Personally, I don't do it, Subban is no bargain at 9 million and can be prone to missing a few games here and there but Karlsson will want more money, longer term and is seriously injury prone. I ride the PK train as long as possible.

 

WILL THEY WIN A CUP AS PRESENTLY BUILT? Anything can happen once you are in the postseason, and this team has perennial powerhouse written all over them. I would rank the Jets ahead of them in their own division but it is close, I love both teams as built. Out West I rate the Jets and Preds way ahead of everyone else.

 

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