Three of the Nashville Predators’ key players who have battled injuries this season aren’t going to be coming back. Nashville Predators communications manager Kevin Wilson broke the news today:
— KWilsonPreds (@KWilsonPreds) April 11, 2013
The three had 40 points between them and were each key players for the Nashville Predators this season. Colin Wilson was the team’s leading scorer with 19 points before he was knocked out on March 9th, and it took weeks for Shea Weber and Martin Erat to reach that level. Similarly, Gabriel Bourque was the team’s leading goalscorer with 11 when he was injured by Chicago Blackhawks forward Dan Carcillo on April 1st. Paul Gaustad, who still ranks fourth in the NHL in faceoff winning percentage at 59.7 percent, has spent more than half the season battling an upper-body injury and hasn’t played since April 4th.
Losing two top-six forwards and the team’s key faceoff man would be devastating to a team that was fighting for a playoff spot, but the knowledge that the Preds are out of the chase makes this good news to my mind. For the last seven games of the season fans won’t to wonder how long it will be before we have our best players back. They can focus on enjoying a sneak peek at the future of the franchise before they return to Milwaukee for next season.
Besides, all three of these guys play key roles, and they make Nashville a tough opponent to play against when they’re at their best. Bourque and Wilson both drive the offense and work the power play, and Gaustad is as strong a penalty killer as the Preds have had for some time. That they’re expected back healthy for training camp in September gives plenty of hope for some stability in 2013-14.