Sunday, October 9, 2016
Nashville Predators 2016-17 season preview
The Nashville Predators made a very surprising move in the off-season when they traded their captain D Shea Weber to Montreal in exchange for d-man P.K. Subban. Subban is younger and has a better contract than Weber. Subban's skill with the puck is unreal but the loss of Weber is big. Nashville's only other departures were when C Paul Gaustad and D Barret Jackman both announced their retirement. Also, backup goalie Carter Hutton went to St. Louis. Depth defenseman Yannick Weber (who oddly enough, took Shea Weber's no.6), Matt Irwin and Matthew Carle were signed to one year deals.
Behind Subban, the defensive core is really strong. Roman Josi is turning into an elite defenseman and Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm are nice top 4 defensemen to have. RW Filip Forsberg, C Ryan Johansen and LW James Neal are all legitimate first liners but might not play together a lot. G Pekka Rinne is 34 and not getting younger. With no Carter Hutton, Marek Mazanec and Juuse Saros will fight for a backup spot. In the first round of the 2016 NHL draft, the Predators selected D Dante Fabbro with the 17th overall pick. It's questionable to pick a defenseman when your oldest defenseman is 27 but they have a fair amount of young forwards too.
The Predators' projected lines look like this:
Filip Forsberg- Ryan Johansen- Craig Smith
James Neal- Mike Fisher- Calle Jarnkrok
Colin Wilson- Mike Ribeiro- Viktor Arvidsson
Pontas Aberg- Colton Sissons- Mikka Salomaki
Roman Josi- P.K Subban
Mattias Ekholm- Ryan Ellis
Anthony Bitetto- Yannick Weber
Pekka Rinne and Marek Mazanec are in net. D Matthew Carle, F Austin Watson and G Juuse Saros are scratched.
Finally, for my prediction, the Nashville Predators, a team on the rise, will make the playoffs AND win the Stanley Cup in 2016-17.