Despite coming up three points short of the final playoff spot, the Nashville Predators most recent season had many bright spots.
From forward Craig Smith’s bounce-back campaign, goaltender Carter Hutton maturing before our eyes or the flashes of brilliance shown by the young Calle Jarnkrok, the biggest question for the Predators is what’s next for the club.
Cast your vote below in our three different polls, as we present a mixture of a look back at the season with a look ahead to the future.
In sports, it’s a bit of a tradition to always expect more from players after they’ve had a great season. Smith’s increase from four goals in 2013 to 24 this past season, seems to have come from the center’s natural speed and skillful wrister and not a fluke set of circumstances. But can he light the lamp 30 or more times next year? Hutton and Calle Jarnkrok both had instances of true greatness their rookie seasons, where do they go from here?
A new coach in Nashville will inevitably bring changes with him. Predators general manager David Poile hinted as much this past week when he said: “I want this team to play a different way. None of our players should take anything for granted. A new coach is going to be here and things like playing time shouldn’t be assumed.”
With the limited number of contracts coming off the books for next year, the Predators will likely have to make some tough choices. Looking at the players with expired deals is a good place to start when trying to predict future change.