It took almost a decade of the Nashville Predators consistently making the playoffs, going on a magical run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 and a Presidents Trophy in 2018, but finally we’ve become one of those fanbases that’s kind of numb to simply making the postseason.
Just look at the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves who won a play-in game to make the playoffs, and that team and it’s home arena was cheering like they won the NBA title. Not the same basic feeling of enjoyment for Predators fans anymore. The majority want and expect more.
It’s fair to say that once the Nashville Predators fans were the same way by just getting into the postseason, and even as recent as 2015 when Peter Laviolette got the Predators back into the playoffs after a two-year drought.
Nashville Predators in familiar postseason territory
I don’t know about you, but even in a season where the Nashville Predators are outperforming preseason expectations, it still doesn’t move the needle for me much if they make the playoffs for the eighth-straight season.
It’ll be a nice accomplishment and fun to see hosted playoff games on Lower Broadway again, but how much does it really matter if they get ousted in the first round again? Is this team building up for the long-term future and bigger prizes is the question.
There’s still a slim chance they could miss out altogether, which would be a major gut punch considering everything that has broke their way this season with individual performances.
Per MoneyPuck.com, the Nashville Predators increased their playoff chances to 94 percent after defeating the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, a game that was hanging in the balance and took a 1-0 overtime grinder to get the two points.
Looking further into MoneyPuck’s playoff odds, the Predators’ odds drop dramatically after that in terms of making it past the first round for the first time since 2018. They have a 23 percent chance, and I’m sure it’ll drop even more if they fall to the second wildcard position and face the Colorado Avalanche instead of one of the Pacific Division teams.
All of this is to say, has the pure joy of making the playoffs left this fanbase? Is it fair to want more out of this franchise by now?
If you ask me, it’s absolutely fair and is why General Manager David Poile gets so much criticism from the fanbase that’s hungry for more than participation trophies in May.
We’re all hoping that we can get a repeat of 2017. Go on a magical run and get hot at the right time. The few times that the Nashville Predators have been favorites to go deep in the playoffs, they’ve come up flat. I don’t need to remind you of 2018, 2019 and 2020 in the Edmonton bubble.
Missing the playoffs will be a major setback for Nashville Predators
Think about all of the incredible individual seasons the Nashville Predators are having this season. Start with Roman Josi who is having one of the best offensive seasons by a defenseman over the last four decades going back to the days of Bobby Orr.
Do we think a season like this is sustainable from Josi in the future? He’ll keep putting up great numbers every season, but I’m not sure we’ll see anything quite like this in future seasons.
Then you go to Filip Forsberg, who has always been capable of being an elite player. Did he ever pick the perfect season to elevate his level of play to elite status, and now the front office are backed into a corner at the negotiating table to keep from losing him for nothing in the offseason.
Matt Duchene has compeltely revitalized his career this season and has been critical to pushing the Predators into a strong power play team and in 12th in the league in scoring per game.
The list goes on with Tanner Jeannot. We knew he made a statement when he broke into the lineup last season, but no one saw him actually getting into the coversation for Calder Trophy and leading all rookies in goals with 24.
There are even more examples of individuals having unexpectedly great personal seasons that has elevated the Predators to a high probability of making the playoffs with nine games remaining.
It’s not about what the original predictions were back in October and how it looked like a rebuild season. When you see so many outstanding personal milestones and accomplishments, it will be a crying shame if they have nothing to show for it as a team.
This is why missing the playoffs will really make me rethink the future of this franchise, because we can’t count on all of these individually great seasons to happen again next season or the year after that.
So, you’re not wrong for wanting more out of this franchise after 23 seasons of existence, and this season is no different despite performing slightly better than we may have predicted.