Is this Willy's year?
As we gear up for the start of the 2011-2012 Nashville Predators season, let's crowd-source a little bit and see what the fan base thinks about how this team will shape up. Thanks for the suggestion, Grizzledbear.
For today, I pose the following question to you - which Pred will lead this team in goal-scoring? Let's review the contenders, and follow after the jump for the poll...
He was brought in to fire the puck, and if he gets off to a good start, could find himself earning prime power play time, particularly if injury strikes another one of the wingers. For all that talent, however, there's a reason he's now on his 4th NHL team.
He's certainly Nashville's most talented offensive player, and appears ready for action, after previous seasons which saw him battle nagging injuries right from Game One. Consistency and goal-scoring hunger have traditionally been Marty's drawbacks, however.
He may possess the hardest shot among Predator forwards, and if his wingers are pass-first types, he could end up as more of a trigger man. It doesn't look like he's going to be ready for the start of the season, however.
He's a lean, mean, shot-producing machine, but doesn't create very many of his own scoring plays, working more for tips & rebounds.
He led the Preds last season with 23 goals, and should benefit from starting off on a scoring line this season, rather than having to work his way up the depth chart. His league-leading shooting percentage from 2010-11 screams "fluke", though.
He can fill pretty much any role up front for Nashville, and if he can stay healthy, could well be in the mix. The Predators expect lots of close games, so there are those empty-net opportunities, too.
He will likely be leveraged as an offensive specialist, and is auditioning for a new contract next summer.
He's been on a roll, and at the age of 22, may well be physically prepared to compete against NHL defenseman. The jump from college hockey is tremendous, however, not just in talent level, but considering the schedule & travel grind as well.
He scored 23 goals a couple years ago, and that would've been enough to lead the Predators in 2010-11. He'll still be the primary option on the power play, and is in the prime of his career.
This season represents a turning point for the 1st-round pick, who is also angling for a new contract. If it doesn't come together now for Willy, you get the feeling it won't ever will here.
Who Gets Your Vote?
So who do you think ends up leading this team in goal-scoring? Vote in the poll, and state your case in the comments below...
Who will lead the 2011-2012 Nashville Predators in goal-scoring?
Niclas Bergfors (7 votes)
Martin Erat (47 votes)
Mike Fisher (11 votes)
Patric Hornqvist (65 votes)
Sergei Kostitsyn (51 votes)
David Legwand (8 votes)
Cal O'Reilly (14 votes)
Craig Smith (25 votes)
Shea Weber (7 votes)
Colin Wilson (105 votes)
340 total votes