It’s been a productive offseason for the Nashville Predators. All of the important cogs fueling the recent success of the franchise are retained for the long-term future. They virtually have the same team returning at the top of the lineup. Losses of Scott Hartnell and Mike Fisher hurt depth slightly, but others will get a chance to offer a jolt of youth.
I’m intrigued to see how Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros split their time as starters. When it’s all said and done, Saros become the primary goaltender heading into the playoffs. Either way, the Predators will be solid once again in the net to win games even when the offense isn’t clicking. Robby Stanley of NHL.com likes the Predators to compete for back-to-back division titles, but their younger core of players need to step up.
The JoFA line is returning all intact once again, and the second line will also be the same with Kyle Turris at center. Last year’s team had a lot of changes, whereas this year’s team largely is the same. The addition of Dan Hamhuis from Dallas is an excellent move and will be an upgrade to the departed Alexei Emelin. It makes the Predators’ defense from top to bottom one of the best in the league.
The Predators didn’t make any huge free agency splashes, but they’re mainly the same team from a year ago. That’s not a bad thing. They’re in great shape to defend their division crown, but I can’t put them ahead of who ousted them in a grueling seven-game series.