Nashville Predators – Record 41-27-14, 96 points. 4th Place and 1st WildCard
The Nashville Predators underachieved until after Christmas. The Ryan Johansen trade finally started to take hold and they played some of the best hockey in the league the second half.
The Predators then surprised the hard-charging Anaheim Ducks in the quarterfinals before falling to the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference semifinals in seven games. GM David Poile feels that they are still a player or two away.
Their roster probably won’t undergo much change for next season, Paul Gaustad, Eric Nystrom and Carter Hutton won’t be back. Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok need new deals and the Preds will be well under the Cap if they want to bring in a Free Agent or two. They also have a couple more prospects who are on the cusp of contributing.
The Predators biggest problem is that they have three core players who nearing the end of their careers. Shea Weber, Pekka Rinne, and Mike Fisher don’t have much time left and if the Preds are going into win now mode they need to make a few changes in a hurry. It remains to be seen what that would cost them.
Next: Chicago Blackhawks