It’s about that time of year. The puck drops tonight and where hockey bloggers have already come together to make completely scientific, unbiased guesses about the futures of their teams, I was late to the party. Luckily, I know I can count on you readers for forgiveness for my tardiness, for constructive, positive feedback in the comment section, and for total respect of any differences of opinion. So let’s get to it!
Sep 23, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators players discuss the validity of my predictions while celebrating a goal during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Last season ended for the Predators with a solid regular season finish and one of the most exciting playoff series in recent memory, but also with a loss to the hated team from up north whose name we won’t mention. We’re all ready for the Preds to go deeper, as we’ve only made the conference semifinals twice. GM David Poile is ready to go farther as well, as he added center Cody Hodgson to contribute on the third line and some defensive depth as well. It seems as though Poile is betting on young wingers Filip Forsberg and Colin Wilson to make strides this year, and his bet is good enough for me.
Here’s a bonus prediction to prime you for my season predictions: Filip Forsberg will gain the ability to grow a beard. Now for the individual predictions…
- David Poile will trade a major blueliner in exchange for a top center. There’s so much defensive depth to go around between Weber, Josi, Seth Jones, Ekholm, Ellis, and new signing Barret Jackman, and as great as it is to have six defensemen that could play in the top two pairings, it might be time to take one of these guys to the bank and see what we could get in return. The cap space is there to take on any contract in the NHL. Note: I will never be seen in the state of Tennessee again if Seth Jones is traded.
- Seth Jones will usurp Roman Josi as Shea Weber’s first-pairing partner within the first three months of the season. He’s just too skilled to keep off the ice.
- Newly bearded Filip Forsberg will score 30 goals, leading the Western Conference, and the inconsistent Colin Wilson along with new signing Cody Hodgson will lead the Preds power play back from the dead, to above 20%.
Seth Jones is taken aback by the boldness of my bold prediction. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
One major team prediction for the season:
CONFERENCE FINALS, BABY. The young guns get another year to mesh, everyone’s healthy, the vets seasoned for another year, and a few small additions around the edges round out a hard-nosed but not unskilled core. If Forsberg continues developing and the Preds can add one more legit contributor at center—or if Mikes Ribeiro and Fisher contribute consistently—this will be a top-five defense and a top-half offense, which is enough to advance to the Conference Finals for the first time in team history.
Calle Jarnkrok is peeved that I didn’t mention the fact that he played almost all year last year. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Other notes on the season:
Predators on the Opening Night roster that weren’t last year: Viktor Arvidsson, Cody Hodgson, Calle Jarnkrok, Austin Watson, Anthony Bitetto, Barret Jackman
Predators from last year’s Opening Night roster that aren’t this year: Rich Clune, Matt Cullen, Matt Hendricks, Patric Hornqvist, David Legwand (sad face), Nick Spaling, Kevin Klein
One negative thought:
Despite David Poile’s remarks that the 3 on 3 overtime period would “be exciting” and that he’s “excited for it,” the Preds may not be built for the high-speed chase of 3 on 3. But I don’t want to bring everybody down too much. There’s a chance our first 3 on 3 line of Colin Wilson, Swedish Gawd Filip Forsberg, and Roman “the Conqueror” Josi could take the league by storm this year with Wilson’s power, Forsberg’s sweet stick skills, and Josi’s versatility.
The Preds can take the absolute lead in the Central division with a win over the ‘Canes tonight. That is all.
As I ended my first ever article here at Predlines:
Let’s throw some catfish.
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