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On to today’s column…
NHL.com had it’s 31-in-31 for the Predators on Saturday and there was some interesting observations… some solid, some uninformed and some flat out wrong. Robby Stanley did an excellent job breaking it all down, making some excellent points… the national guys… well, that’s a different story.
Let’s start out with the flat out wrong… the observation on the video piece that the power play was the only reason the Predators lost in the first round... now that is just silly. I will not defend the power play, it was putrid and one
of the reasons the Preds went out early… but it wasn’t the only reason. Y’know how I know?
Easy... Let’s ask the question… do they Preds win that series if they scored three more goals? Because if the power play was converting at a normal level, that would have been the result. It maybe helps in game one… certainly doesn’t help in games 4 or 5. Let’s face it, the team stunk on ice (literally and figuratively) the five-on-five play was not good, defensively, the team was bad. It wasn’t just the power play. Oh… and lest we forget… Dallas played one helluva series.
Sometimes we forget that the other team is there to win as well.
Enough about last season… let’s look ahead…
The actions taken in the offseason will certainly help the team offensively. The addition of Matt Duchene should help the power play on the ice and the hiring of assistant coach Dam Lambert should help it off the ice. Keep in mind, this is a 100 point team that has won the division for two years straight. Imagine what position the team would’ve been in last season with a decent power play…
And before you say it… both points about the power play are true and not in conflict when you look at it.
The other thing I expect to be better, health. Injuries hurt this team throughout the first half of the season… think about what Viktor Arvidsson would’ve posted if he hadn’t missed a large chunk of the season, let alone Filip Forsberg.
I also expect much improved performance from Kyle Turris and Mikael Granlund… this team will be better from an offensive standpoint… now defensively?
The loss of PK Subban will be felt, anyone who thinks otherwise is flat out crazy, however Dante Fabbro did show his potential last season, stepping up immediately upon his joining the team. A lot will be expected of the young defenseman. The top three of Josi, Ellis and Ekholm will be leaned on a little more while Fabbro develops.
And speaking of development… Stanley does an excellent job breaking down the prospects in Nashville’s system. The surprising piece is his projection that Eeli Tolvanen is a year away from consistently making the team. After a difficult year in Milwaukee, the coaching staff remains very high on this prospect, and keep in mind that this prospect is still just 20 years old.
The other prospect that peaked my interest was Anthony Richard… after three seasons in Milwaukee, it may be “put up or shut up” time for the 22 year old. Stanley has him as one of the first forward callups this season.
As August winds down, I will be starting my divisional previews in the next few days… camp time is coming.
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