With the start of 2023 falling almost right in the middle of the NHL season it feels appropriate to look around the Nashville Predators organization as well as the league at large to find some resolutions for the new year. There is no shortage of decisions to be made, improvements to be found, or changes to take place.

Starting first with the Nashville Predators:

David Poile – Bite the Bullet

Through 34 games the Predators have proven to be a mediocre team that has talent but clear flaws continuing to hold them back. They were a fringe playoff team with multiple career seasons and there has not been a progression in overall capability. In 2023 David Poile needs to recognize this roster is not good enough to truly contend and bite the bullet on continuing to turn over core pieces to either add talent or build futures. 

John Hynes – Don’t Become Peter Laviolette

Peter Laviolette led the Predators to heights that had never been realized previously. However, by 2019 it was clear that something was no longer working. Opposing teams were effectively planning for the high possession and point shot offense and the production dried up. Laviolette doggedly stuck to his system and early in 2020, he was gone. John Hynes is reaching a similar place where the low possession, high danger offense system is not effectively meshing with the Predators players and is putting undue pressure on the defense and goaltending to hold off sustained attacks. Hynes and his staff must make systemic adjustments to improve zone exits, sustain possession and push the offense forward. 

Tanner Jeannot – Get that Dawg Back

Jeannot made a big impact on the Predators in ‘21-22. His combination of speed, physicality and scoring touch seemingly willed the team into games at times. Through this season it seems he has lost a bit of his identity trying to play a more complete game. Going forward, Jeannot needs to get back to taking names and let the complete game build off the grinding identity. 

Cody Glass/Juuso Pärssinen – Don’t Settle

The two young centers have played their way onto the NHL roster early in the season and are playing significant roles in all situations. In truth, Glass and Pärssinen just might be the future down the middle in the Predators’ top 6. Now the real challenge begins for the two forwards to become consistent contributors on the score sheet and help a mediocre Nashville offense become more impactful to the team’s success.

NASHVILLE, TN – OCTOBER 14: Nashville Predators center Cody Glass (8) is shown during the NHL game between the Nashville Predators and Seattle Kraken, held on October 14, 2021, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire)

Defense Corps – Turn Over a New Leaf

As with the penalties last season, turnovers have been the Achilles heel for the Predators this season. The defense corps has really struggled when gaining possession to move it cleanly up to the forwards. When pressured, the Predators have a bad habit of waiting too long to make a decision and end up either losing possession or even worse throwing the puck blindly into space. These turnovers seem to end up in the back of the Nashville net with alarming frequency. If the team hopes to climb back into playoff contention, cleaning up the turnovers in the defensive end will be a key change.

Now for a couple from around the NHL:

Buffalo/New Jersey/Ottawa – Learn from Failed Rebuilds of the Past

Three teams have shown positive signs in 2022 of building toward relevance and playoff contention. They have all acquired young talent and grown them into high-level contributors. However, these three should all heed the same warning about attempting to accelerate the process ahead of schedule. Multiple teams in recent history (including the aforementioned Buffalo) have traded futures and signed expensive veterans ahead of schedule and lived to regret it when the progression stalled. So stay the course, be smart with the signings/trades and follow the process.

All NHL Teams not Calgary or Florida – Make Trades Fun Again

I get it, I do. NHL teams are largely risk averse and betting on the players you’ve grown internally over multiple years is viewed as lower risk than making the big swings to change the trajectory of the organization. But year after year from the seat of hockey media some report and the rest of us speculate on the possibility of significant trades that more than likely won’t happen. Trade deadline day and draft day in the NHL are two of the most anticipated days in the hockey calendar but rarely deliver the seismic activity the fanbase is so ready for. Looking over at the NBA and MLB the trade deadlines are often wild swings of teams trying to outdo each other for the biggest assets. Those major moves lead Sportscenter and become discussion points for days on end, if not weeks. There are a lot of NHL teams stuck in the middle (looking at you Nashville) who could benefit both from shaking up the foundation of the roster and by being a major talking point in sports media. While we’re here, don’t schedule games on NHL trade deadline day. Give everyone, most importantly the impacted players and their families, a chance to breathe without having to stare down an opponent that night.

So that’s my list of new year’s resolutions for the Nashville Predators and beyond. Let me know your ideas as well! Cheers to a safe and prosperous 2023 to you all!