The end is nigh my fellow Predators enthusiasts. It seems that the stars of the NHL lack any sort of genuine affection for the Nashville franchise. Now isn’t the time for my typical theatrics. With Shea Weber signing an offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers it feels even more likely that the Preds will be without their top two defensemen and a general lack of proven top six forwards. Though the departure of the current captain is not guaranteed, these are difficult times to be a Predators fans. If you’re reading this then you’re likely we’ll informed, so I won’t list out a bunch of facts. What I am going to address is a world with Weber.
A lot of the backlash at this point is directed at GM David Poile. The 2011 offseason was a poor showing from Poile. The RFA fiasco and general lack of action was forgotten after the Rinne contract and the bold moves prior to the 2012 Cup run. But now we’ve seen another offseason that has continuously edged towards an embarrassing disaster. Instead of a cap team fans are going to peer between their fingers as the Predators dish out contracts in order to reach the salary cap floor. The team’s current situation is far different than the cap spending team that the organization’s front office has been promising a growing and rabid fan base. Me, I want new blood. It isn’t a matter of Poile’s lack of success so much as it is that I don’t know if he can do what’s needs to be done for Nashville to keep and attract talent. It may just be time for change because clearly the status quo is failing.
Now what about the team? I’ll come out and say that I’m not a fan of Trotz’s system, but if there is one thing that he can do is make a team and keep it together. I think Trotz can do that at least. What would be great is if the team took at least this coming season as an opportunity to grow the young players. If you know that making the playoffs is a reach goal, then there is a lot of fun that can be had during the season. Imagine if Trotz let guys like Wilson and Craig Smith carry the puck into the zone and play some dynamic attacking hockey. Sure, maybe that makes life harder on the defense, but with a young defense in place they have the energy of youth. It becomes a learning experience where players can develop the natural talents got them drafted into the NHL in the first place. Have a season of something different and exciting for the fans since winning the Stanley Cup would be a pipe dream. What I don’t want to see is Trotz’s typical system of defense-first dump and chase monotony. If fans are going to watch a gutted team full of aging veterans and young talent then make it fun to watch. If the Edmonton Oilers can make losing look exciting and fun, then why can’t the Predators do the same?
If you can’t win the Cup, then do your best to put some attractive hockey out on the ice.