Stanley Cup Appearances: 1 Last Appearance: 2017 ( Lost in 6 to Pittsburgh Penguins)
When I was first starting this article, I thought of having the Predators higher on this list because they showed this year that they have a bright future. Even after they sold at the trade deadline and suffered a brutal amount of injuries, their youth performed admirably and got them to missing the playoffs by just three points in the standings.
Guys like Cody Glass, Tommy Novak, Juuso Parssinen, Luke Evangelista, and Philip Tomasino look like the future, and of course veteran stars like Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi will be around for awhile.
They have one of the best goaltenders in the game in Juuse Saros, and Yaroslav Askarov is still hyped up as someone who could be historically good at his position. Also, they hired a new head coach in Andrew Brunette who should mesh better with several of their brighter players, as well as bring in a philosophy that is much more in line with what works in the modern day game.
The idea of how well the Predators are set-up is quite nice, but when you take a step back and look at the holistic picture, you tell yourself to pump the brakes a bit. At the end of this day, this team just started rebuilding, and there are a lot of questions left to be answered.
Number one, there are still a few players currently on the team who could be traded this offseason, or even after the new season begins. Saros is among them, and if he is indeed dealt, the Predators can forget about contending for a Stanley Cup for at minimum three more years.
And while most people think that Brunette is going to be a coaching upgrade over John Hynes, he is still a new head coach and is unlikely to have everything figured out on day one. Not to mention that the Predators also have a new GM in Barry Trotz, and we cannot truly know his vision until he has a few years of experience under his belt.
The team is undoubtedly off to a good start as far as getting a new Stanley Cup window opened, and you never know it could be fairly soon when they are ready to compete again. But the truth is there are too many moving parts to expect them to get to that point within a quick time.