Nashville Predators: Time to Buy In


The Nashville Predators third-winningest season of all time in 2014-15 created a ton of new fans, but there is even more to be excited about as we prepare for this year. Nearly everything is looking up as they prepare for this season. Expectations are higher than ever as young talent matures, the national sports media takes notice, and the franchise is thrust into the spotlight.

Let’s go over some of the reasons that now is the best time to be a Preds fan.

1. Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones

Forsberg (9) and Jones (3) after Forsberg’s game winning goal against the Florida Panthers in a shootout at BB&T Center. The Predators won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The two young bucks enter their fourth and third professional years, respectively. Forsberg finished with 26 goals and 37 assists in his 20-year-old season. For comparison, someone put up similar numbers at such a young age is 3-time Stanley Cup Winner and 25th-all-time scoring leader Brendan Shanahan. The next season, the Hall of Famer scored 72 points with the New Jersey Devils, and we’d all love to see that kind of production from our young Swedish winger.

Seth Jones has made himself a key part of the defensive depth already, but at the beginning of last season–even at his young age–he performed admirably with Shea Weber on the first pairing when Roman Josi suffered a concussion, before sliding back to the second pairing. I, among other Smashville fans, would love to see the young blueliner paired up with the Captain more often this year. It will be a lot of fun to watch these two blue-chip youngsters take another step toward their primes in 2015-16.

2. Cap Flexibility

Maybe I’m the only one that loves a good salary cap talk, but everyone should be excited about how much flexibility the Predators have this year. Free agency is over, and other than re-signing contributors Colin Wilson and Craig Smith to midsize contracts, they didn’t make much of an offensive splash. Perhaps this is the year to make a splash at the trade deadline. Nashville has the second-most cap space, with $12,355,772 of space before the max–enough to afford even Jonathan Toews‘ massive cap hit of $10,500,000, the biggest in the league. It’s no secret that the offense needed a shot in the arm last year, and maybe this is the time to make the move. It will definitely be fun to watch the rumor mill for potential targets.

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3. Confidence

President Sean Henry put a vote of confidence in the team with his comments last Wednesday:

"“We’re better poised as a franchise because of the talent we have, and how long they’re locked up, than we ever have been in the history of the team. When you look throughout the League, there’s probably not another team that’s set up for the next five to eight years to be as consistent as we’re going to be. Hopefully we catch the magic in that run and win the Stanley Cup, but [we should] at least compete for it year in and year out.”"

Of course, it’s the president’s job to have confidence, but generally, these comments are perceived as bluster and are reserved for the likes of John Tortorella. These just don’t have that feel. They feel a lot more like reasonable expectations, and when high expectations feel reasonable, that’s a good place to be. And there’s nothing better than a team that’s going all-in, but still has a successful future mapped out clearly.

4. All Star Weekend

Bridgestone Arena is playing host to the 2016 All-Star Weekend. Fans from all over the country will be in Nashville for the NHL Skills Competition and NHL Fan Fair. All Star Weekend is an incredible chance to make new Predators fans, from local fans in Nashville to a wide base of fans scattered across the country.

The logo for the 2016 All-Star Weekend was unveiled in May. Promotional image.

The best way to prepare for All-Star Weekend is to spend the entire season voting for Predators skaters to fill the All-Star pool. The more Predators on the ice for the All-Star game, the more new fans will be brought to Smashville. Nothing would be better than seeing four or five Predators on the ice for the Eastern Conference team.

Now is the time to buy in. Let’s make Predators games the #1 place to be in Nashville.

Let’s throw some catfish.

Next: Predators Power Play

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