It’s been a couple of very long months for the NHL, Nashville Predator fans, and for me personally. Tonight, we all get to escape the real world for a couple of hours and let the joy of watching the Nashville Predators play hockey be what matters most. I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty good way to open up that pressure valve and let some of that steam out.
So, as we await the drop of the puck tonight, here are some of my thoughts and predictions for the upcoming season.
- Pekka Rinne will be re-signed prior to Christmas to a 3 – 4 year deal.
- The emergence of a line featuring Smithson, Spaling, and Tootoo keeps David Legwand in more of a scoring role. In that vein, Legwand stays healthy and reaches 62 points.
- Legwand also gets the other “A”.
- Craig Smith will do enough early on to convince Trotz and Poile of his place on the team. Soon after Mike Fisher returns, Cal O’Reilly will be traded.
- By the end of the year, a line of Colin Wilson, Craig Smith and Patric Hornqvist will be one of the Predators best (and entertaining) lines. It combines speed, playmaking, grittiness, and shooting skills. It also has the energy and enthusiasm of being young.
- Jonathon Blum will win the Calder trophy in come-from-behind fashion once Ryan Ellis joins the second PP unit later in the year and boosts Blum’s offensive numbers.
- Ryan Suter will not be re-signed prior to the trade deadline.
- Shea Weber won’t be either.
- Neither will be traded prior to the end of the season.
- Weber will win the Norris.
- Ryan Suter will be in the top five in voting for the Norris as there will be increased attention on him due to his contract status.
- Rinne places second again for the Vezina this time to Lundqvist.
- If Radulov’s team is knocked out of the KHL playoffs in time (or doesn’t make the playoffs), there will be a ton of speculation (merited or not) on whether he could and/or would join the Predators this year for the playoff run.
- Nashville will have a power play in the neighborhood of 16 – 17%.
- They will make the playoffs and lose in the second round again, this time in seven games.
- Ryan Suter and Shea Weber will both re-sign prior to July 1st, but for only for 1 – 2 years- primarily due to the expiring CBA.
- The top four teams in the Central division will be separated by 10 points. Columbus will not be one of those four, but they will finish no lower than 11th in the West.
- Zach Parise will be traded by the trade deadline. It won’t be to Nashville (much to the chagrin to Nashville fans, and to me).
- The tougher stance on boarding and head shots will be well-received by the players and considered a success by the league. There will be no back-tracking even though a “star” player will see a 4 game suspension.
- The off season will be dominated by the discussions regarding the CBA, but there will be a growing undercurrent to increase the punishment for fighting. It won’t succeed- yet.
You are invited to follow me on Twitter (@SingletonPreds). For game recaps of all Predators games as well as great insights on the Predators and the NHL, check out my HockeyIndependent colleague, Mark Willoughby (@TheViewFrom111).
About the Author: Nashville Predators Blogger, Software Engineer (C#.NET), Novice Woodworker, Southern Cook, Husband, Father of Two. You may contact me at David.R.Singleton AT gmail.com.