Nashville Predators: 10 Predictions for 2015-16


The Nashville Predators are on the verge of beginning one of their most interesting seasons in recent memory. There have already been some surprises with both Kevin Fiala and Steve Moses being sent to Milwaukee.  There are not many things sillier than trying to predict, with any certainty, the eventual results of any one NHL season. There are eight months of grinding, exhausting play interrupted by an All-Star game in Nashville and the trade deadline.  But is sure can be a lot of fun so here goes some NHL predictions and a look at some things that may or may not happen this season regarding the Preds.

Prediction #1 – Filip Forsberg breaks Jason Arnott‘s season record of 33 goals.

Forsberg had 26 last year and that is with a stretch where he went through a 15 game slump in late February with only three points. He is a little bigger and more mature this season and we expect more from James Neal on that first line too.  Forsberg’s ice time increased all last season and he should have more opportunity than ever this season.  No sophomore slump here.

Prediction #2 – One of the “Mikes” will take a step back

Mike Ribeiro had 62 points in 82 games last season and Mike Fisher had 39 in only 59 games.  One of them will not live up to those lofty numbers this season either because of health or age issues. It’s a lot to ask two 35-year olds to duplicate last year and we don’t think it will happen.

Prediction #3 – David Poile will trade for a center

There is a good possibility that one of the three top centers isn’t going to work out as well as hoped.  Either the “Mikes” or Cody Hodgson will falter.  Even if they don’t, the best chance for the Predators to make a really deep playoff run is to have a center of a different level to lead the team.  It may be at the Trade Deadline or even earlier but the best chance for the Predators to get to the promised land is for them to have a way to match up down the middle against the rest of the Western Conference.

Prediction #4 – Cody Hodgson will have a near career year.

His best year is only 44 points and that was two years ago.  He is only 25 years old and moving to a more offensive system.  According to The Tennessean, Hodgson traveled to Gothenburg, Sweden, to train during the offseason with two renowned coaches, a champion speed skater and an expert in biomechanical movement.  He has a one-year contract so it is a contract year.  There is also a good possibility that he will be top six at some point.  Everything here points to a minimum of 40 points.

Prediction #5 – A Predator will Win the Norris Trophy

Everyone knows that the Nashville Predators have a wealth of great players on defense.  After the Cody Franson trade last year, the rest of the world heard more about it than ever.  To get in the Norris conversation these days, you must have good offensive numbers, your team needs to play well and you have to gain notoriety somehow.  Both Roman Josi and Shea Webber should qualify on all counts.  It could actually hurt them that they both play on the same team, but we believe that one of them will break through and win a Norris this season.

Prediction #6 – The Power Play will improve

This should happen without much problem.  They were pretty much dreadful last season no matter what they tried.  The team was 25th in the league with a 16.2 percent goal percentage on the man advantage.  For reference, the Washington Capitals had a 25.3 percentage and even Arizona was one of the seven teams over 20%.  Familiarity and more shots should up this easily and it is an important part of a winning season.  They started out the preseason with six power-play goals in the first four games.  That didn’t carry over to the next two but is a positive to look forward to.

Prediction #7 – A Rookie will make a big splash

We are not predicting that someone will come along like Filip Forsberg did last season, that is really too much to ask for.  There are a lot of good chances that someone will step up, though.  Viktor Arvidsson and Austin Watson are starting the year in Nashville.  Kevin Fiala and Steve Moses (technically a rookie even though he doesn’t qualify because he is 26-years old) are in Milwaukee waiting for an opportunity.  There is plenty of talent there and one of them is going to make the jump and make a big impression.

Prediction #8 – The Preds will be in the hunt for the Central Division Title.

We will make our final prediction on the Preds final position in the Central later this week, but we can tell you this.  It will go down to the final week and the Predators and St. Louis will be in the mix.  I feel less confident that Chicago, Dallas or Minnesota will get there.

Prediction #9 – The Third Line will see a lot of combinations.

We are really hoping that by the time the calendar changes over to 2016 Coach Laviolette has found the right parts to get this line productive.  There are so many possibilities with players who are currently in Milwaukee and moving players from the top six to find a way to balance scoring from all three lines.  We think the players are there, it is just a matter of finding the right chemistry.

Prediction #10 – Pekka Rinne will be really good but maybe not great.

We have been spoiled with Pekka.  He has been truly amazing and last season at the half-way point was maybe the best player in the entire league.  Not just goalies, there was talk about him winning the MVP award.  There are a couple of reasons to think that he won’t be quite that good this year.  He is now 32-years old.  Not old by any means but the time when goalies tend to be just past their prime.  We don’t believe in Hutton as capable of getting Rinne as much rest as he needs.  All of this is not to say that he won’t be good enough to get us where we want to be.  It will just be hard to duplicate the beginning of last year.  We hope we are wrong!

That is our ten predictions.  The season starts later this week and it should be a blast.  Maybe even a historic blast.  We are sure looking forward to the ride.

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