Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Thanks For Coming Out, Nashville Predators

Just when you get over the hurdle of the Detroit Red Wings and you think you're cruising-- something hits a bumps and next thing you know-- the Nashville Predators are out of the playoffs. And now, with an unknown summer looming as far as free agent defensemen go, the Preds will wonder if they'll ever clear that second-round hump.

More over, the whole controversy with what happened to Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn after Game Two into Games Three and Four-- you have to wonder if a misjudgement by punishing two solid scorers  for another game could be Barry Trotz's undoing. I'm sure it won't be, but for a team who only scored nine goals-- six in the first two games-- you would need all the offensive power you could muster.

Which is another thing you could look at in the undoing of the Preds was not scoring when needed. The team only had one 20+ goal scorer in Mike Fisher and had three guys with a high of three goals in the playoffs. While the addition of Radulov was wishful thinking, he only contributed one goal in the playoffs--which is something that many expected wouldn't happen.

On the defensive side, it's the biggest question on whether or not the Preds can retain both Shea Weber and Ryan Suter or if one or both will be going away from Music City, USA. Weber is the captain and probably will be the guy the Preds will want to retain; but he's also a restricted free agent, which helps and hurts the Preds, while Suter is the UFA. The loss of either would be huge, as Weber and Suter were 4th and 5th in team scoring, respectively. For a defense first team, the Preds will exhaust everything in order to try and keep both.

Pekka Rinne is the only constant for next year, as his extension gave him a little hangover after he signed, but his first 40-win season and Vezina nomination shows that Rinne will be the cornerstone of this Preds team moving forward. Though, having some help in front of him would help a lot.

It will be something to behold what the Preds do, but it will be a lot of head-scratching after a season that should still be going came to a screeching halt.

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