Nashville Predators 2008 Offseason Report
The Predators snuck into the playoffs as the eighth seed in 08’ with 91 points while three other teams finished three points behind. Unfortunately for them they faced Detroit in the first round, losing in well fought six game battle. Nashville is a very consistent team game in and game out and are very entertaining to watch.
Nashville dealt with a whole whack of team ownership issues that left the management in ups and downs. Finally all that garbage is taken care of and the franchise can officially move forward.
This team has excellent depth but lacks with stars; especially now with their most talented player in Alexander Radulov heading overseas to play in Russia. This is a huge loss for team that needs a potential 90 point player. Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont are both in their early 30’s and lead the team in every offensive category including 72 points each.
Steve Sullivan did not play a single game all year with a back injury while David Legwand spent 17 games on the injured reserve in '08. With Radulov now gone, the health of both is crucial for the Predators in '09.
On defense, Nashville was one of the most affordable cores in the league with less than ten million in salary. This core played at a top level all season long with a bunch of “no namer's”. Marek Zidlicky and Dan Hamhuis became legitimate blue liners while Ryan Suter emerged into a franchise defensemen.
The big question in Nashville now becomes about the goaltending. Chris Mason and Dan Ellis split ice time last season but it was Ellis who sparkled in the regular season and the playoffs. His stellar play gave him the #1 job in 09’ with a nice new contract which also let Mason sign with St. Louis.
Nashville has not made any major changes so far and look to take the exact same team into next season with the hope of better results. Without a budget, this team has done well. Now with a little more money the Predators should only get better; but will they?
> Pro Hockey Fans now features Nashville Predators hats & merchandise available in our Fan Shop!
Notable top players staying for the Nashville Predators:
Jason Arnott, J.P Dumont, Martin Erat, David Legwand, Jordin Tootoo, Radek Bonk, Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Marek Zidlicky, Dan Hamhuis, Dan Ellies
Nashville Predators - Players lost to free agency:
Alexander Radulov, Darcy Hordichuck
Nashville Predators - Players added via free agency:
Drew MacIntyre, Josh Gratton
What Nashville has:
- A very well rounded team. Excellent depth in the forwards and defensemen with everyone responsible for team production including tough guys. Tootoo had a career best 11 goals last season with a lot more playing time.
- Consistency. Coach Barry Trotz is a great bench boss. His army Sergeant look and style always get the best from his troops.
What Nashville needs:
- I really think this team needs that big name all star to take this team to the next level. Radulov would have fit this mold in the next few seasons but he left. Arnott and Dumont cannot be expected to continue getting 70 point seasons. There is a lot of talent in this line up to get a top player through a trade.
- As of now, a #1 goalie is needed but Ellis has the skills to prove me wrong.
Expectations for the Predators next year:
- Just like in 2008, the Predators will be battling for the final playoff spot in 2009 but this time they will fail. They will have a real hard time playing in their division next season; facing the Stanley Cup Champion Wings and the newly built Blackhawks.
- It is up to Ellis on how far this team goes.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
Want to add your comment to this article? Leave your comments on our NHL hockey blog today!
> Follow the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs online with Pro Hockey Fans!
> Find all of the NHL news & articles online from Pro Hockey Fans.