A couple days ago I voiced my concerns about the lack of offensive punch currently plaguing the Nashville Predators, and the apparent lack of emphasis being placed on fixing that problem by the team's management. In order to throw a little more light on the situation, I thought I would use a method recently employed by a Chicago Blackhawks blogger to guesstimate the likely offensive output of the Preds as the roster stands today.
The basic idea is to take the depth chart, and project each player's 82-game goal-scoring based on their career goals-per-game average. That can serve as a useful starting point for discussion, keeping in mind that some players will get injured and backups will be relied upon, some younger players may develop and grow beyond their current averages, etc. So here's what this picture looks like for the Preds (don't get focused on lines, this is just a rough depth chart):
|Colin Wilson||David Legwand||Martin Erat|
|Sergei Kostitsyn||Mike Fisher||Patric Hornqvist|
|Jordin Tootoo||Jerred Smithson||Nick Spaling|
|Kyle Wilson||Cal O'Reilly||Niclas Bergfors|
|Ryan Suter||Shea Weber|
|Francis Bouillon||Kevin Klein|
|Brett Lebda||Jonathon Blum|
The grand total here? 214.9 goals, a hair above last season's total of 213. Ugh.
As you look through these numbers, then, where would you make adjustments that you think would significantly impact the overall results? I might be inclined to bump up Hornqvist and Wilson a bit if Nashville can stay healthy down the middle this season, but these numbers seem pretty reasonable to me (if Nashville gets 17 out of Bergfors, that indeed qualifies as a big win). One could argue that you could replace Kyle Wilson with a Blake Geoffrion, and maybe add a few goals, or that one of Ellis/Josi/Ekholm could jump in on defense, but that's only going to account for a handful.
And remember, while it's easy to consider hopeful scenarios, there's also the gloomy ones to consider, such as last season's injury issues. Who would step in if a winger gets hurt? Halischuk? Stortini? That could drag down the offensive results.
Juggle those numbers yourself to see where the improvement might come from, while you read this morning's hockey news...
Nashville Predators News
Predators prospect Garrett Noonan talks about the draft, college and Colin Wilson - Inside Smashville
If he ever ends up taking a penalty shot, I just imagine Ted Knight looking on from the stands going "Noonan... Noonan..."
Preds On The Glass: POTG Friday Headlines, News, and Links
Buddy's got good news, bad news, and a little in between this morning.
Win a Ticket to the MAFIAoZA’s Music City Brewer’s Fest! | PuckScene.com
Write about your love of hockey, win an afternoon of beer drinking. Well played, Mr. Fuqua.
Smashville 24/7: Poile’s best off-season moves since the lockout
I'm stunned that the Eric Belanger deals were both passed over.
Around the NHL
Checketts says Blues interest in Blues heating up - The Globe and Mail
Did they finally fire up a Blue Light Special? Sorry, couldn't resist that one.
Redefining the New Panthers: Brian Campbell - Litter Box Cats
Dale Tallon signed Campbell to an outsized contract as a free agent in Chicago, and now he's brought him to Florida via trade. Can he provide enough jump for the Panthers to lift them back into playoff contention?
Let's Speculate Over Zach Parise's Next Contract - In Lou We Trust
Could the young star get a contract rivaling what Steven Stamkos just got?
Some NHL records may be etched in permanent ink - NHL.com
One of my favorite all-time records here; Gordie Howe's 20 consecutive years as a Top 5 scorer, all while being the toughest SOB on the ice, too.
John Scott's Troubles - Second City Hockey
In Chicago, Sam Fels is ready for the age of the enforcer to pass, too.
Politician accused of copyright violation for using ‘Miracle’ footage - Puck Daddy
A presidential candidate lifted ABC's footage of the 1980 US Men's Olympic team for a political ad...