This has probably been the most frustrating season I’ve seen the Nashville Predators play in the last decade for many different reasons. The hopes of the playoffs have all but dissipated and we haven’t even hit the official halfway mark yet.
With that painful reality, there’s a development that has come out of this that should give reason to be plenty enthusiastic about the future for the Predators.
It’s the youth of the roster and what’s coming up through the pipeline, to go along with changes that have been put off far too long and need to happen now.
The Nashville Predators pipeline
We’ve gotten a chance to get to know some new playmakers that should play a big role in how long this rebuild might last. Players like Eeli Tolvanen, Mathieu Olivier and Ben Harpur have risen to the occasion to try to salvage this season for the Predators.
Rem Pitlick is another player to be excited about, and there’s still the likes of Philip Tomasino waiting in the wings to make his first NHL splash. That alone should have you enthusiastic going into the remainder of this season and into 2021-22.
Frederic Allard is another prospect I’m pumped to see dress for the Predators for the first time here in the near future.
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If the Predators can manage the trade deadline effectively in the coming weeks, they can position themselves nicely to get through this rebuild much quicker. It might very well be GM David Poile’s last stand as the franchise’s only general manager in its history.
As much of a legend that Poile will always be for the Predators, I’m ready for the Predators to have a new vision in the front office. A change there would brighten up the future as well.
What we’ve seen from Filip Forsberg has also been extremely refreshing to see. He’s having arguably his most productive season of his career, and is now seemingly heading into his prime. Build around him and we could be in store for a quick bounce back into contention.
Reason for optimism going into 2021-22
It’s not all doom and gloom for me as much as this season has tested my patience. As the season wears on, I think the Predators will play the spoiler role and be a team you can’t overlook as they continue to gel together with new pieces in the lineup.
The major caveat to all of this optimism is what the Predators decide to do at head coach. As much as I think John Hynes isn’t the long-term answer as head coach through a rebuild, I’m also of the belief that firing him right now is jumping the gun a bit.
A developmental type of coach, like Karl Taylor of the Milwaukee Admirals, would give me even more optimism about the Predators’ future going into next year. Check out our head coaching candidates that were shared by Predlines contributor Colin Blouin recently:
What I’m seeing in the prospect pool is very encouraging. It’s showing a lot of improvement and strengthening over the past few drafts. ESPN has their prospect pool ranked No.16 in their prospect pool rankings from December.
Goaltending is an area that still gives reason for concern as we don’t know Pekka Rinne‘s future, or Juuse Saros‘ for that matter. Perhaps the Predators can work out a deal to get Rinne back for one more year in a team-friendly deal, or Saros can bounce back after coming back from IR.
We’re going to have to buckle in through the rest of this season with a lot more losses, seeing long-time players be shipped away, and we’ll likely miss the playoffs. However, I have new restored hope that the rebuild won’t last as long as previously thought due to some promising developments from the younger players and through the play of Forsberg.
You know what they always say; change is often a good thing. The Predators need some wholesale changes as they try to get quickly through a rebuild.