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SWOT Analysis - Assessing the Nashville Predators' Strengths

How do the Nashville Predators stack up these days, and what are the prospects for their success in the short- and long-term future? Since we've got two weeks of Olympic hiatus coming up, I'd like to invite Preds fans to join me on a deep-think over where the organization stands today, and how it can move forward in the current NHL.

RADIO NOTE: While you're adjusting your thinking cap, give a listen to general manager David Poile's segment on the Thom Abraham Show this afternoon, as he joins the rest of Team USA in preparation for their first game tomorrow - David Poile on Thom Abraham Show 2010-02-15.

What is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Oppportunities, Threats) is a common tool used in the business world to assess an operating group and the environment within which it operates, in order to determine what steps are needed to help that organization achieve its goals. Just as one applies this tool to a factory or a sales force, it can be used with a hockey team as well...

For starters, I'd like to propose the following goal to guide the discussion:

"The goal of the Nashville Predators is to consistently qualify for the playoffs, and contend for the Stanley Cup championship."

As we consider how the Preds can best pursue this goal, we're going to start by defining the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that pertain to the club. Strengths and Weaknesses are characteristics of the club itself, whereas Opportunities and Threats are external factors that influence the team (like how other teams are doing, the free agent market, etc.).

For today, then, I'd like to start with defining a list of the Strengths of the Nashville Predators organization, as they pertain to the goal stated above (in other words, "coolest mascot" probably doesn't apply). Strengths should be things that the Preds do better than the average NHL organization, areas upon which they can leverage a competitive advantage.

I'll toss out two for starters, but in the comments below, I'd like you to help flesh out this list. Over the rest of this week, we'll get to the Weaknesses, etc. For now, just focus on the Strengths of the Preds.

  1. Development of Defensemen: In today's salary cap environment, getting significant contributions from drafted players in the early part of their career (entry-level and RFA contracts) is essential, and the Preds have an excellent pipeline of talent on defense. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter are homegrown team leaders, Dan Hamhuis has had a fine run with the team, and players like Kevin Klein, Cody Franson, Alexander Sulzer, Teemu Laakso, Jonathan Blum, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis should keep the team stocked with superior and affordable blueline talent for years to come.
  2. Stability of leadership: By retaining a single GM and head coach throughout the team's tenure, there is a clear understanding as to what direction the team wants to take on the ice, as opposed to many franchises which are searching for a winning formula.

So what would you add to this list?