Sports Illustrated's Alan Muir has released his off-season grades for each of the Western Conference teams.
(Thanks to Evanbio for posting this in the comments of another thread!)
This got me to thinking about how I would grade the teams off-season to this point, and how others here might grade it as well. So let's do just that after the jump.
So I read Muir's post and was amazed in some of his grades of other teams, but they don't really concern me because I am a Predators fan. Although I will admit that giving the Blue Jackets a B- does cause one to take all of this with a grain of salt, but I thought the article made for an interesting read in an otherwise dull period of hockey news. I thought he was pretty close with his assessment of the Predators off-season. Lets look at the meat of evaluation of the Predators offseason.
Ryan Suter's gone, taking his 26:30 average ice time and 25 power play points (both third in the NHL) with him. There's no way incoming veteran Scott Hannan and the team's young prospects can backfill that kind of presence.
I would say that that is a pretty accurate statement. It is going to take a pretty good step forward for a player like Josi to fill those shoes. Is he capable of doing so? It is possible, but that is a lot to put on a second year player. Suter was able to put up some significant numbers in his second year, but he was not relied on to be a top pair defenseman as we are going to ask Josi to do. I do not expect to see Josi become Suter over 1 summer. He has a lot of potential, but that is all it is at this point. Potential.
Poile wisely jettisoned malcontent forwards Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn, but has yet to land a top-six forward to pick up the slack. Topped off by a first-rounder sacrificed in the Paul Gaustad deal, this summer marked a huge step backwards for a franchise that was on the verge of something big.
It is almost like he was reading a certain bear's posts on this very blog. I do not see how it could be argued that we do not need to add more offense to this team. It also cannot be argued that losing Radulov, Kostitsyn, and Suter leaves this a less talented team than what was iced in the playoffs, and I think that is the key here. This team did nothing to make itself better this off-season.
Looking at the points above I find myself being forced to agree with Muir. This off-season for the Predators is sitting a firm D in my opinion. We lost an all-star d-man and have done nothing to address his lost, or the lack of a top 6 forward. The good news here is that the off-season isn't over. There is still time to sign/trade for another d-man or forward, but the D looks pretty accurate to this point.
What do you think? What grade would you give the Predators off-season so far?