Nashville Predators: NHL Finally Makes Some Progress on Next Season

Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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This offseason has been filled with wondering when the Nashville Predators and the rest of the NHL will return to the ice for a new season amid labor disputes.

It appears there may be some light at the end of the tunnel for the Nashville Predators to get back on the ice for the 2020-21 season after plans from the NHL were brought forward.

Per a report from the Associated Press, a mid-January start date has now become the target instead of the original January 1 start date, which always seemed like a pipe dream to honest.

At this point if you’re the NHL you’re just hoping that you can get through this next season and not affect 2021-22 in any way. They have to get back on their normal season timeline sooner or later, especially with the expansion Seattle Kraken coming into this mix later in 2021.

You also have the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics which the NHL doesn’t want to run into for a multitude of reasons with the big one being their relationship with NBC.

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So with all of this said, it looks like progress is being made as more concrete plans are coming out. I’m expecting to start hearing news that players are heading back to their NHL cities and beginning the process of preparing for training camp.

The Nashville Predators are going to have a very interesting training camp with so many new players in the mix, including both prospects and free agent pickups.

Head Coach John Hynes and the rest of the coaching staff have their work cut out for them on how to assemble this lineup behind the top line and defensive pairing. How these players look in training camp will determine how Hynes decides to assemble the line combinations.

Considering division realignment, now we have to wait for official word on what these divisions are going to temporarily look like. There’s already been speculation swirling around, and ESPN’s Greg Wyhshynski has the Predators with some rather interesting new division opponents:

If this ends up being the new divisions for 2020-21, then the Predators are going to get some old division rivals back with the Detroit Red Wings and the Columbus Blue Jackets. And how could we forget the disdain we all have for the Pittsburgh Penguins?

I’m not sure if this division is more difficult than the traditional Central Division. It looks intimidating when you see the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins join the mix, but you’re also losing the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche.

If anything, it comes out as a wash. It’s going to be challenging for the new-look Predators in 2021 regardless of what division they throw them in.

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The league is saying 52 or 56 games is the possibility for the regular season. It’s not the 60-plus that many were throwing out there just a couple weeks ago, but it’s better than nothing.

Even with all of the uncertainty, there’s still a lot to be excited about with the Predators. They still have the Norris Trophy winner Roman Josi leading the way, and every hockey fan loves watching him play.

The newer players on the team, like Luke Kunin and Mark Borowiecki should bring a new style of play to the team.

There should be a more formal announcement on the plans for training camp and opening night of the regular season in the next week or two. The NHL has really came out looking pretty bad in all of this as fans await hockey to return.