Just about every fan base in the NHL seems to have one long-standing need which they yearn to see fulfilled. In Philadelphia, they haven't had a stable, franchise goaltender in ages. In Columbus, they've lacked the top-line center who can help maximize Rick Nash's potential. In Toronto... well, that list is pretty long.
With Nashville, folks have long wanted to see the Preds land a high-profile scorer, the kind of guy who can post 40-50 goals and contend with the league leaders. To get those guys, however, teams must typically get them with the very highest of draft picks. Out of the current Top 10 scorers in the NHL, you have 3 first-overall picks (Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin), 1 second-overall pick (Daniel Sedin) and 1 third-overall pick (Henrik Sedin). Since the Preds have iced competitive teams every year since the lockout, they simply don't get to fish in those waters on Draft Day.
Some, then, have mused over the years that perhaps it might be in the best interest of the franchise (not right now, obviously, given their 4th-place standing in the West) to clean out some veterans, go with a youth movement, and try to land such a star player via the high first-round draft pick that comes as the reward for a lousy season.
That's a dangerous course to chart, however, as there's little guarantee that talented youth can gel into a successful team, and once a franchise starts accepting losing, they can get stuck in that cycle for ages. For every Washington and Pittsburgh you also have teams like Florida and the New York Islanders who just can't seem to put it together.
Sunday, the Preds will battle a team which is currently in the middle of this development path, the Edmonton Oilers. After a surprising run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, where they fell to the Carolina Hurricanes, they struggled in recent years before finally clearing the decks and going with youth. They have some exciting young forwards in Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi, and appear headed for another Top 5 pick this summer.
For a look at how the Oilers are working their way through this "tank and rebuild" cycle, I highly recommend you check out Oil Change, the behind-the-scenes series which airs on the NHL Network (the episodes are also available online). If you liked "24/7" featuring the Capitals and Penguins, I'd suggest that watching a team on the opposite end of the NHL standings is perhaps more interesting. There are jobs to be won up and down the roster, so the personal stakes are high for the players and staff alike.
But before settling in for a few hours of "Oil Change", and pondering the road that the Predators have conspicuously avoided, follow after the jump for your morning hockey news!
The Preds have 9 home games coming up in the month of February, including dates against the Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, and Chicago Blackhawks. Save some cash and get yourself some discount Nashville Predators tickets for these, or any other home game.
For recaps of last night's triumph in Denver, head over to Preds On The Glass, The View From 111, Predlines, and from the losing side, Mile High Hockey, where they weren't impressed with how the Avs responded to that video review in the 2nd period.
Friday Face-Offs, 1/21/2011 | Hockey Independent
David touches on a number of issues surrounding the Preds, from the future of Cal O'Reilly and Marcel Goc to his personal campaign to bring Jarome Iginla to Nashville.
Preds On The Glass: Predators Riding High in the Saddle and Friday Wrap-Up
Buddy takes a look over at SportsClubStats.com and sees some good news.
Paul McCann - Take Two and Move On...
Sometimes the breaks go against you, other times, they work in your favor, so you simply thank the hockey gods and look ahead to the next game.
Fixing the Admirals Power Play, Three Solutions - Admirals Roundtable
I'm shocked, shocked I say, to hear that the Milwaukee Admirals are having trouble on the power play!
Late Goal Earns Point For Admirals | Admirals Roundtable
Roman Josi's 3rd period goal got the Admirals to OT, where they fell to Edmonton's AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons.
Jon Greenberg Chat Transcript | Admirals Roundtable
In a Q&A with fans, the President of the Milwaukee Admirals talks about the possibility of an Admirals game in Nashville, and a Predators game in Milwaukee.
Predators’ seek cash, investment push could reach $25M | Nashville Business Journal
It looks like I need to break into the kids' piggy banks...
Confirmed: Jonas Andersson of Kazan - hockey Express
Run this Swedish site through your favorite translator, to read about former Predators Jonas Andersson finalizing a deal with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL. So much for that second chance at redeeming his 2nd-round selection by the Preds back in 1999.
O'Reilly's bad break - Predators Insider
Josh Cooper notes that last night would've been a neat opportunity for Cal to face off against his brother Ryan, but both are injured right now.
Preds get caught up - NashvillePost.com
J.R. Lind provides his report on yesterday's Metro Sports Authority meeting, which also highlights Bridgestone Arena's bustling business of late.
Top Prospects Shine for NHL GMs, Scouts -- NHL FanHouse
Nashville GM David Poile was one of many who watched some of the top players eligible for this summer's draft play an exhibition game in Toronto.
Around the NHL
The NHL Guardian Project origin story: Behind the scenes of hockey's most controversial new marketing effort - Puck Daddy
Get the scoop on where The Guardian Project has come from, and where it's going. I tell you, adults may poo-poo this thing, but my kids (ages 8, 8, & 7) bug me EVERY SINGLE DAY to see which hero has debuted, which ones are coming up next, etc. They are excited about this.
Wise ol' Scotty rambles on, and then some - Vancouver Province
When Scotty Bowman talks hockey, you'd best listen.
Updated around midnight: Red Wings officially sign Nabokov, and now the wait begins - KuklasKorner
Stay tuned around 11:00 a.m. Central Saturday, as we hear what happens with Evgeni Nabokov. He has to clear waivers, and there are some reports of back-door dealings with the New Jersey Devils to ensure that he ends up with Detroit. I don't even pretend to understand all the CBA dynamics involved here.
Avalanche's Tomas Fleischmann out for season - All Things Avs
Wow, what a tough break for the Colorado winger, a pulmonary embolism has him on the shelf for quite a while.
Were in trouble | Hockey Independent
One Calgary blogger is ready to torch the Flames.
The Onset of Cal Clutterbuck - Houses of the Hockey
It sounds like the Minnesota banger is starting to do more than just rack up hits.
Sharks goalie Jordan White? College netminder gets to live the dream for a night — and minor Niitty update | Working the Corners
When Antero Niittymaki suffered an injury during the morning skate, the San Jose Sharks needed to call in an emergency backup from the University of British Columbia.
A Tale of Two Tampas - Behind The Net
It looks like the Lightning may be well positioned to make a big surge in the Eastern Conference.
Video: Controversial goal review angers Kings; GM claims NHL bias - Puck Daddy
Wow, I'm guessing L.A. Kings GM Dean Lombardi is going to backpedal this morning from his whining last night that the war room in Toronto screwed his team because the man performing the review is frustrated over not having gotten his job.
Fight Videos: 80 penalty minutes in 1 second for Senators, Flyers - Puck Daddy
Ottawa and Philadelphia brought the nasty last night...
10 Suggestions For Hockey Day in America That NBC Hasn’t Mentioned Yet " Puck The Media
Steve Lepore has some good ideas about how NBC should handle the big Saturday of hockey coming up next month.
Down Goes Brown: The signs of the hockey zodiac
DGB spins the "new zodiac" story in hockey's direction.
The Hockey News: Too many NHL games lead to too many injuries
Adam Proteau thinks that all of a sudden, the 82-game schedule is to blame for all the injuries going on. Really.
Physical And At Times A Violent Sport - KuklasKorner
In an all-too-rare opinion piece, Paul Kukla compares the physical nature of the modern game to days gone by.
Beer-Dispensing System Will End Ballpark Lines - Playbook
This just made #1 on my "Cool Things They Could Add To Bridgestone Arena" list...