Sunday, September 10, 2017
Nashville Predators 2017-18 season preview
After trading captain Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens for P.K. Subban, the Nashville Predators finished with 94 points, and made the playoffs as the second wild card team in the Western Conference. They magically got around the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks, and made the Stanley Cup finals. But, they were defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. In the offseason, they made a lot of changes. Let's look at what they did in the offseason.
Notable additions: C Nick Bonino, F Scott Hartnell, D Alexei Emelin, G Anders Lindback.
Notable subtractions: LW James Neal, C Mike Fisher, F Mike Rebeiro, F Colin Wilson, F Harry Zolnierczyk, F Vernon Fiddler, G Marek Mazenec.
Here are my projected forward lines.
Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - Victor Arvidsson
Scott Hartnell - Nick Bonino - Craig Smith
Kevin Fiala - Calle Jarnkrok - Pontus Aberg
Austin Watson - Colton Sissons - Mikko Salomaki
That first line was dominant last year when Arvidsson had a breakout year. The second line is more of a third line, but I found it weird that Mikko Salomaki had a chance at the second line. Maybe the second and third line switches. Fiala is coming off a major injury in the playoffs, but he should be healthy. The extra forwards are Cody McLeod and Fredrick Gaudreau.
Here are my projected defensive pairs
Mattias Ekholm - P.K. Subban
Roman Josi - Yannick Weber
Alexei Emelin - Matt Irwin
Ekholm and Subban is a really good first pairing. It's a big blow that Ryan Ellis is out for most of the season. That means that Weber will play with Josi. Emelin brings a good physical style of play. I think that Anthony Bitetto is the extra defenseman, and could play instead of Irwin some nights.
Rinne is old, but he's still a starting goalie. Saros is very small for a goalie, but still is a good backup. Anders Lindback will either be in the AHL or the third goalie (probably AHL), but will be the backup if either Rinne or Saros go down.
The Predators are still a good team. But, I have one concern for them. Besides their first line, I think they have a below average offense. They are relying on their defense. But, I still think they will once again sneak into the playoffs.