Individual projections for the Nashville Predators

This might be a hair late given the fact that the Nashville Predators have already played Game One of the NHL season, but I wanted to get individual player projections cast in stone pixels before we got too far down the road.

Here's how my projections for last season went, and looking back I'm pretty satisfied with the results.

So check after the jump for how I think the individual offensive numbers will shake out, and tell me where I'm right or wrong in the comments...

 Name GP G A Pts  Comment
 Jason Arnott 70 35 30 65  Might benefit the most from Sully's presence.
 Wade Belak 50 1 2 3  If he scores, it'll be a heck of a celebration.
 Francis Bouillon 70 2 10 12  By the end of the year, he'll make people forget Greg Zanon.
 J.P. Dumont 80 20 55 75  Has two genuine goal-scorers on his line, and lots of PP time.
 Martin Erat 75 18 40 58  A career-high in points, but not enough to get excited about.
 Marcel Goc 70 4 10 14  Think of him as the new Radek Bonk, but costing half as much.
 Ben Guite 60 2 6 8  Think of him as the new Scott Nichol, but costing half as much.
 Dan Hamhuis 80 5 20 25  Doesn't get the attention that Weber & Suter do, but he's gold.
 Patric Hornqvist 60 12 20 32  2nd strong pre-season in a row, but in a battle for playing time.
 Ryan Jones 65 10 15 25  Off to a slow start coming out of training camp, must earn opportunity.
 Kevin Klein 80 4 12 16  Should prosper as a Top 4 defenseman after years of preparation.
 Teemu Laakso 30 1 3 4  Will be eased into NHL action.
 David Legwand 75 22 34 56  A healthy rebound from last season, but not quite career highs.
 Mike Santorelli 70 16 20 36  Speed and chemistry with Legwand & Erat give cause for hope.
 Jerred Smithson 82 1 5 6  Defensive specialist isn't relied upon for scoring.
 Steve Sullivan 70 30 40 70  Offensive dynamo is the key to improved team play.
 Alexander Sulzer 55 1 6 7  Must work his way back into the lineup, but skill set is valuable.
 Ryan Suter 82 12 40 52  Continuing to mature as a top-level defenseman.
 Jordin Tootoo 65 6 6 12  Will this be enough to earn #22 a new contract with Nashville?
 Joel Ward 70 8 15 23  Expected to play major role on 3rd line and special teams.
 Shea Weber 82 17 35 52  Must establish consistent performance at last year's elite level.
 Colin Wilson 50 8 20 28  Can't expect everyday NHL dominance yet, but coming soon.
GS W Sv % SO  Comment
 Dan Ellis 24 10 0.908 3  He will get his chance to shine, likely earning a job somewhere else next year.
 Pekka Rinne 58 35 0.915 8  Will be pressed by Ellis, but appears ready for the challenge.

There are a few overall trends that guided these projections:

Top line dominance

The 2009-10 Nashville Predators should be led by production concentrated in the five-man unit of Sullivan-Arnott-Dumont up front, and Suter-Weber on the blueline. The return of Steve Sullivan to this group provides a major boost.

Young guns jockeying for position

Between Mike Santorelli, Ryan Jones and Patric Hornqvist, the Preds have three wingers who could show up anywhere from the 2nd line down to the 4th, or even watch in the press box, depending on how they're going at any given time. Barry Trotz isn't shy about juggling the lineup, and none of these three have earned a permanent job.

Rinne reigns

Although Dan Ellis earned the start in Game #1 due to his stellar pre-season work, I still expect Rinne to assume command as the regular starter. Both should be motivated to strong seasons, as they face free agency next summer.

A step towards mediocrity

As a team, this projection has Nashville potting 235 goals, a significant step up from last season's 207, but nothing too large. After all, 235 goals would have only been 17th-best in the NHL last year.

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