2014 Nashville Predators Season Preview
The Nashville Predators found themselves in a transition year in 2013. The team was coming off of their first season missing the playoffs since 2009 and were hampered by nagging injuries all season. The Predators ended up missing the playoffs for a 2nd consecutive season. Enter 2014 and the Nashville Predators have new leadership and hope that the injuries that have plagued them for the past 2 seasons are finally behind them. Peter Laviolette takes over for Barry Trotz as the Predators head coach and will bring a fresh look on what has been a solid core of Predators players. Elite goaltender Pekka Rinne returns from a hip injury that kept him out much of last season and if he stays healthy, will have a major impact on Nashville’s 2014 chances. Captain Shea Weber will have added help from newcomer James Neal, who has the potential to be the top points scorer for the Predators. NHL’s Central Division is packed with possible playoff and Stanley Cup contenders, look for the Predators to be in the top half of the division and once again be in the thick of the playoff race late in the 2014-15 NHL season.
2013 Nashville Predators Season Preview
While the Predators missed the playoffs for only the second time in nine seasons, a lot of it was due to a plethora of injuries that Nashville hopes to avoid this season. They brought in new players as well, including Viktor Stalberg, Matt Cullen, Eric Nystrom and Bobby Butler. They also picked up Seth Jones with the fourth overall pick in the NHL draft, and think they have put together a team that can make a run at the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014. All eyes will be on Jones when he hits the ice as a promising 18-year old defender, and he’ll be hoping to prove he was worth the #1 overall pick. The Predators host the defending-champion Blackhawks on December 17th before a key five-game home stand in January that includes games against the Sharks, Ducks, Senators, Wild and Flames. Another four-game road trip will be a test in January, starting against the Canucks on Jan. 23.
2012 Nashville Predators Season Preview
The Red Wings reach the playoffs for the 21st consecutive season, though they aren’t the scary first round matchup their opponents are used to. However, the Predators will need to make sure they win games at home throughout the series, as Detroit did set an NHL record with 21 consecutive wins at Joe Louis Arena. The return of Alexander Radulov is the most unlikely storyline of this series, as the winger returned to Nashville from Russia after abandoning his contract with the team four years ago. Radulov had three goals and four assists in his seven games back and formers a potent offensive attack along with deadline-day addition Paul Gaustad.
2011 Nashville Predators Season Preview
With the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and NFL’s Tennessee Titans having breakout years in 2011, the Preds actually started the trend by scoring an astounding 99 points and winning their first playoff round since coming into the league in 1998. The question is if they can keep it up with their stars—Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne—on the last year of their contracts. It helps that they’ve already brought back their top defenseman and scorer, Shea Weber and Sergei Kostitsyn. However, the team isn’t soley dependent on any one player, depending on the likes of Mike Fisher, David Legwand, Martin Erat, Sergei Kostityn and Patric Hornqvist. It helps that in the net they will skate out Rinne, one of the best goalies in the league who will be following up his Vezina-nominated season. Their future started last year, but it might be this year when all the pieces add up to a major push for the Stanley Cup!
2010 Nashville Predators Season Preview
The Nashville Predators were one of several surprise playoff teams last season, and despite being knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, they gave their fans reason to be optimistic for the upcoming year. One of the biggest struggles for the Predators last season was finding a consistent goal scorer, and that will likely be the case again this year. The offense will likely be centered around third year man Patric Hornqvist, who scored a team-leading 30 goals last year. Joining Hornqvist will be J.P. Dumont and Steve Sullivan, who will both be looking to build on last year's medicore seasons. Nashville returns much of it's back line from last season, which was among the best in the NHL. The defense is full of young talent, and is led by Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. Along with the standout duo of Weber and Suter are Cody Franson and Ryan Parent, who both impressed last year. In goal, the Predators have a solid netminder with Pekka Rinne, who posted a 2.53 goals against average last season.
2009 Nashville Predators Season Preview
The Nashville Predators will be looking to improve in the 2009-2010 NHL season. Nashville finished last in the tough Central division of the Western conference last season. This year Predators star Shea Weber will be looking to get Nashville back into the NHL playoffs for a 5th time in the past six seasons.