Concern #1: Relying too heavily on Saros to carry the team
For as long as I can remember this team has lived and died by how incredible their goaltender could be to steal games from the jaws of defeat. It was Pekka Rinne for all of those years, but now it’s Juuse Saros’ turn.
It can’t be that way this season if the Nashville Predators are going to break out of irrelevancy. They have to become a more complete team so that Saros doesn’t have to be perfect every night.
Of course it’s a great luxury to have a world class goaltender like Saros in your net to bail you out, and that’s the main reason why analysts always give the Predators a puncher’s chance to make some noise every year.
We’re likely going to get the same tired result of barely scraping by into the postseason if all the weight falls onto Saros again to the tune of nearly 70 starts. He needs more support in front of him, and they hopefully did that with the acquisitions of Ryan McDonagh and Nino Niederreiter.
Although the Predators were in the top half of league in goals per game last season, I still think they can be even better this season. If they combine becoming a reliable offensive team along with Saros in net, they will be tough to beat for a lot of teams.
If they regress in this area, then Saros will once again be called upon to put this team on his back. The addition, which still puzzles me, of Kevin Lankinen is a minor upgrade to David Rittich so perhaps we’ll have more reliability when Saros does need a rest.