After the shortest off-season in the history of the franchise, the Nashville Predators have gotten back to work to defend their Clarence S. Campbell Western Conference Championship. The expectations are now even higher than they were just one year ago. You might check out this guide to see the Predators odds for the season. The Preds were able venture into the Stanley Cup finals, yet came up just short in bringing the most prestigious title in hockey to the Music City. With this new season brings new expectations, new faces, and a new approach to this talented bunch.
From this moment on, with this caliber of talent, the Nashville Predators have reached high expectations every single year. This is one of the main challenges that we see facing this team for the upcoming season. The expectations are now division titles, conference championships, and eventually a Stanley Cup. Before the arrival of players such as Ryan Johansen, Nick Bonino, and others, the Predators were always looking to make the playoffs and just see what happens after that. Now, it’s more than just making the playoffs. Now, is the time that the Predators must push for home ice advantage and possibly win a Presidents Trophy. The expectation now is to win in June, not just make it late in the postseason.
Over the short off season, General Manager David Poile did what he does best. He was able to make a few moves to give the Predators the opportunity to win this year. When you bring in a player like Nick Bonino, you bring in someone that has won multiple Stanley Cups. You’re bringing a player who can win face-offs, kill penalties, and be a great replacement for the retired Mike Fisher. The Preds also traded for Alexei Emelin from the Vegas Golden Knights for a 2019 third round pick. Emelin seems like a natural fit for the style of play that the Predators push for. He will not score a lot of points, but will be a solid, stay-at-home defenseman that suits the Nashville system. Scott Hartnell and Anders Lindback were brought back into the fold. Hartnell has previous stops in Philadelphia and Columbus and wants to finish his career out where it started. He seems excited to be back in Nashville. Lindback will be an interesting addition to the team. Juuse Saros has solidified himself as the heir-apparent whenever Pekka Rinne decides to hang up the skates. But frankly, Saros has not played that well during the preseason and there could be a battle between the two to see who will be the back up. Will the coaching staff want Saros to mature a little more with the Admirals or have him split time in Nashville with Rinne? Time will tell to see if they keep Lindback or Saros in Nashville for the majority of the season.
Head coach Peter Laviolette has brought to Nashville a style of hockey that the fans have been craving for a very long time. This team knows how to put up points but seemed to bog down against a very good defensive team in the Pittsburgh Penguins during the Stanley Cup Finals. The approach for this year will have to change from last year. When you lose players such as Colin Wilson (Avalanche) and James Neal (Golden Knights), the approach must change. The players brought to Nashville via the off season, whether it was through trades or signings, it will be difficult to replace 30 goals per season in losing a player like Neal. Look at the organization to depend on young players such as Kevin Fiala and Pontus Åberg, and even Miikka Salomaki and Frederick Gaudreau, along others that have developed in Milwaukee for more of an offensive push. Also, the Predators will need the new signees to produce immediately. There can’t be a delay. Production for this franchise is needed immediately. Any delay could cause the coaching staff to make changes. The expectations are the highest they’ve ever been, and these individuals were brought into do a job.
The Nashville Predators will look to get started on the road in Boston on October 5th. Under new leadership, with Roman Josi taking the helm as captain, and lots of new talent in Nashville, the Predators will look to start the season with wins. Be sure to catch all of the action this season as Penalty Box Radio brings up-to-the-date game previews, player interviews, and a variety of coverage that is unparalleled in the city of Nashville.
Welcome back to Smashville!