Despite Exiting, The Nashville Predators Overachieving Is A Good Thing

We aren't putting makeup on a catfish.
Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators - Game Six
Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators - Game Six / Brett Carlsen/GettyImages

Maybe we can start to heal, together.

After a firewagon of a season, the Nashville Predators were sadly bounced in the first round by the Vancouver Canucks. The team provided a fantastic effort, showing talent, and has a bright future in front of it.

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While ending a season before winning a Stanley Cup always brings some disappointment, there are many reasons to be optimistic.

The rebuild is ahead of schedule

At the start of the season, the idea of GM Barry Trotz's veteran-based rebuild seemed like it might be a band-aid for larger issues. Instead, the rebuild turned out to be a retool and it is clear now what the holes are on the team and where they are already set up for success.

The first line of Filip Forsberg, Ryan O'Reilly, and Gustav Nyquist will be intact and likely the first on the ice for the 2024-2025 season.

Similarly, the 4th line is also pretty much set. Cole Smith, Michael McCarron, and Kiefer Sherwood (who seems like an easy guy to resign) have shown incredible chemistry and all-set individual scoring highs. It will be rather easy to pencil them into their slots again for next year.

You've also got Tommy Novak and Luke Evangelista stuck in as the young guns. You've re-upped Mark Jankowski, Colton Sissons is in the fold, and there is a clear readout on what is needed in the forward group thanks to their success this season.

Obviously, there are going to be some other givens on the team as well. Roman Josi is as good as ever, Dante Fabbro is locked in for another year, and Luke Schenn, Jeremy Lauzon, and Ryan McDonagh are all locked in for another two.

The Predators need a couple of forwards, a couple of defenders, and a backup goalie. Those players also have to be able to contribute to a playoff-caliber team immediately.

Bruno Can Coach

Despite the early exit, you have to have confidence in Head Coach Andrew Brunette after this season. He pressed all the right buttons and created a team that was brimming with cohesion and that came with effort and execution every night. The playoff scoring woes aside, the team was firing and was in every game.

Brunette been nominated for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's best coach and it seems like he and his staff (Todd Richards, Dan Hinote, Derek MacKenzie) have their finger on the pulse of the team and understand how to deploy their roster to the best possible results. Keep this staff intact for as long as possible.

Setting a Draft strategy

The Predators have needed a little bit of everything when it comes to prospects. Now it is far more clear what the direction of the team is going forward. This team is set up to compete over the course of the next 1-4 seasons. Thus in the draft, Trotz now has direction on the type of player he needs.

Look for the Predators to pick hard nosed, ready for the NHL rigors sooner rather than later, type players. With later round picks the talent ceiling won't be as higher, but they'll still be looking for productive high compete type players.

Plus if you anticipate the graduation of Juuso Parssinen, Spencer Stastney, and Yaroslav Askarov, then you'll know what players in the AHL system you need to replenish.