We’re less than 31 days away from the beginning of the 2017/18 season. Today we continue to dive into the 31 NHL teams in alphabetical order, take a look at their previous standings and upcoming season predictions, as well as their key additions and subtractions. Yesterday we looked at the Montreal Canadiens. Today we look at the Nashville Predators who are seeking to return to the finals and win the Stanley Cup.
2016/17 record: 41-29-12= 94 points
Key additions: Scott Hartnell, Nick Bonino, Alexi Emelin
Key losses: James Neal, Mike Fisher
2017/18 prediction: 47-28-7= 101 points
Coming off of a game six loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup finals, the Nashville Predators are looking to rebound after a solid playoff run and find a way back to the cup.
The Predators had a busy offseason signing Scott Hartnell and Nick Bonino and acquiring Alexi Emeilin from the Vegas Golden Knights. These additions should help replace 30 goal scorer James Neal, who went to Vegas in the expansion draft and retired former captain Mike Fisher who spent six years with the Preds and will be a player the Preds will miss. James Neal reached 136 points over 219 games. His scoring on the 2nd line will be absent, but the Preds are counting on Hartnell with a young Kevin Fiala (drafted 11th in 2014) to step up to fill Neal’s role. Nick Bonino should be a good replacement for Fisher, he may not always have amazing stats, but he’s a player that you want to have on your team because he’s a distraction for the rest of the league.
The Predators also boosted their D corps by acquiring Alexi Emelin from Vegas on July 1st, which will improve their third line D. Nashville’s defence makes the team with a superstar group of Subban, Ellis, Josi and Ekholm. Nashville will rely on the strong defence to lead them to the finals.
Nashville’s biggest offseason move was extending Ryan Johansen’s contract got 8 years worth 8 million per year. Johansen was acquired in 2015 for Seth Jones. The Preds have now locked up their first line centre and expect Johansen to be the leader in the locker room.
Do you think the Predators will return to the finals? Let us know in the comment section or on Twitter.