Nashville Predators Biggest Problem is League Parity

Dec 15, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) and left wing Filip Forsberg (9) react after a loss against the Minnesota Wild at Bridgestone Arena. The Wild won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 15, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) and left wing Filip Forsberg (9) react after a loss against the Minnesota Wild at Bridgestone Arena. The Wild won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nashville Predators goalie Carter Hutton (30) and St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators goalie Carter Hutton (30) and St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Here’s a truth about NHL hockey: the teams taking home the Cup are ones who have spent their time in the doghouse. The Nashville Predators simply haven’t been bad enough to earn high draft picks, and remain unable to gain enough high-end talent to make a legitimate Cup run.

That’s why we see this continuing trend of first round-ish exits from the playoffs. It’s why last year’s sniff of the Conference Finals represented a maximization of the roster’s talent, and why the team continues to meddle around the Wild Card line all this season. It’s a wish-wash of never too bad, but never good enough. 

Imagine for a moment if the Nashville Predators had tanked back in 2009 instead of suffering another first round playoff elimination by the Blackhawks. If they had tanked really, really hard- replace 18th overall pick Austin Watson on the roster with a Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, or Ryan Johansen (without having to trade a future asset). Even if they don’t get a top 5-pick, a Jeff Skinner or Vladimir Tarasenko may fall into a gold jersey.

It’s all useless speculation, but it illustrates how different the Predators roster may look if they weren’t always ‘pretty good’ and falling right near the middle/bottom half of the draft season after season.

Barring significantly impressive front office wizardry, the Nashville Predators appear destined to continue the loop of parity-stricken performance. Something to consider as the expansion draft approaches, offering opportunity to shift fortunes as a large dose of parity will be spooned out league-wide.

Next: Preds Subban Injury a Big Question

Am I saying the Nashville Predators should tank on purpose? Find out next time.