You read the title correctly. The Nashville Predators can’t buy a goal and appear to have the worst offense in recent memory. We traded the franchise’s 2nd all-time point getter at the deadline for an 18-year-old which all but verified the inevitable: We are in a rebuild. However, I don’t believe that we’re in any position to panic. I’ll give you three reasons why.
Filip Forsberg is Going to Be a Monster I’m going to ask you to evaluate the following chart.
What do all of these players have in common? Here’s a hint.. we added Filip Forsberg to this list in our final home game against Detroit as a divisional opponent this week.
The list represents all active NHL players that made their debuts as an 18-year-old. And if you didn’t notice, I put them into three tiers. The list on the left would be a best case scenario, all-world, just completely exceeded any expectation that I could have possibly had for Filip. The list on the right represents a worst case scenario for Filip. Not saying that the players on the list are bad.. most have had successful and lengthy NHL careers. But with Forsberg’s hype and draft position, I don’t think he belongs in this tier.
The list in the middle is what I think we should expect from our little Filip. However, it’s a tough list to grasp. Half the players mentioned are still prospects themselves. So it’s almost the same situation for them as well. Will they drift left to the top-tier or right to the bottom tier?
Also, the average draft position of the middle column was 7.6. Forsberg was drafted at 11th overall but was supposed to go much higher heading into the draft (roughly 6th or 7th). Forsberg became the 3rd Nashville Predator in franchise history to make his debut before he turned 19, joining the ranks of David Legwand and Scott Hartnell.
We Can Draft a Franchise Forward.. If We Commit to Losing Please take a moment to evaluate the NHL standings at the point of this blog post. Do not be surprised if you look again at the end of this week and we are sitting in 28th place.
Picking in the top four is not out of the question as there is not a team in the league right now playing worse than us. In fact, we have not won a game since we swapped Martin Erat for Filip Forsberg at the trade deadline. That was the moment we were all assured that we were in a rebuild. I feel like the locker room came together collectively and said, “Come on guys.. let’s lose for a brighter tomorrow.”
We’re only two points ahead of Calgary, who is currently sitting on Jonathan Drouin or Nathan Mackinnon at 3rd overall. If you haven’t heard of Drouin or Mackinnon then I suggest you start googling. Whoever lands each of these two gems will have a franchise forward that would make any rebuild a bit less painful. My personal favorite, Jonathan Drouin, is already starting to catch the eyes of casual hockey fans.
So 2nd or 3rd overall would be a dream. Having Jonathan Drouin and Filip Forsberg added to a team within a couple of months would put just about any team in the hunt for a playoff spot. However, if we only pick 4th not all hope is lost. Aleksander Barkov, although no Drouin or Mackinnon, is still an outstanding prospect that could be a huge contributor down the road. I would be disappointed but we would still be in good shape. 5th overall or worse then we clearly didn’t lose hard enough.
We’re In Good Hands With Barry Trotz The situation we’re currently in reminds me of the early 2000s. The young guns we’ve added to the puzzle in the past few seasons (Josi, Ellis, Forsberg, Smith, Bourque, DROUIN *fingers crossed) reminds me of the pieces we added then (Erat, Hartnell, Timonen, Upshall, Hamhuis, Tootoo). And when you compare our six now to then, I think most people would choose the youth we have now.
But when we made the playoffs in 2003-2004, that’s the label that stuck with us: Look at these young kids with no experience taking two games against the almighty Red Wings. On paper, we looked like a cellar dweller but we were competing in the post season. But that’s exactly my point. Barry Trotz did it before, he’s going to do it again.
We did it in 2004 when we didn’t have the world’s best goalie. We didn’t have an annual Norris trophy candidate on the blue line. We didn’t have the prospects that we do today. Trotz has won with much worse.
I don’t see this ‘rebuild’ lasting anywhere past this season. Yes, I believe that we will be in the playoffs once again in 2013-2014. Our team will be much different from the 2011-2012 playoff run and we’ll once again be labeled as that young team with no experience putting up a fight against the almighty *blank*. Trust the organization and enjoy the success when it comes. And believe me, it’s coming.
This is for my journalism class by the way. I'm studying Sports Journalism at the University of Tennessee. If you liked it, feel free to visit http://bluelinebabble.wordpress.com/
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