Immediately after Part 1 was published, this happened:
Below are the answers we received before this news, and you'll get the impression of how surprised we were when Moses was cut. Plenty of us had him pegged to start the season in Nashville.
The staff roster for this piece is Chris Link, Anish Patel, George "The Memphis Tiger" Scoville, Zeke Starr, Alex Daugherty, Caroline Davis, Jeremy Sargent, Kristopher Martel, Dirk Hoag, and Jon Garcia. Joining the staff will be Rebeka
Hutchings Wright from LadyPreds, and the man known as Gumpyyy who happens to be the lord and czar of /r/Predators.
So kick back, read up, and enjoy the show.
3. After seeing some preseason games, who would you put on your third line to start the year?
Link: I don’t think anything shocking is going to happen on the third line. Hodgson, Moses, and Jarnkrok are probably among the favorites for that line. I think Arvidsson could play his way into a third line spot. It’ll be interesting to see how a small, quick third line works. It makes a lot of sense to me and provides the team with something unique and maybe a bit experimental in a size-driven NHL landscape. Should be fun and/or frustrating.
Anish: I would say Hodgson, Fiala, and Moses. With that said, it wouldn't surprise if Jarnkrok or Arvidsson break into the third line.
George: I haven't seen any preseason games. I'm glad to be where I am for the next three years, but man is it going to suck not getting to watch much hockey. Anyway, I think it would be interesting to see Cody Hodgson on the pivot with two of Calle Jarnkrok, Steve Moses, and Kevin Fiala on the wings.
Zeke: A sheltered minutes scoring line with Moses/Jarnkrok playing out of position -Hodgson-Arvidsson would be ideal. Just off preseason I have to put Fiala over Moses and Jarnkrok, but I’d like to see him have another half season in the minors before he gets called up.
Alex: Assuming Hodgson is healthy, I'd go Jarnkrok-Hodgson-Arvidsson. If Hodgson isn't healthy (or if he stinks), I'd go Jarnkrok-Fiala-Arvidsson.
Beka: Because there are so many combinations you could do, this is a really tough question. You know, because Hodgson’s been hurt, it may be a few weeks before we see who really solidifies themselves on the third line. Until then, I feel like it’ll be a rolling experiment that could change game-by-game (or shift-by-shift). But, to start the season, I’d go with Moses, Hodgson, and Arvidsson.
Gumpy: Moses - Hodgson - Jarnkrok. Last year Jarnkrok spent most of his time with the likes of Olli Jokinen and Matt Cullen, It would be exciting to see what he can do with linemates that aren't collecting social security. Cody Hodgson is coming off an unsustainably poor season with Buffalo, who was literally trying to lose. I expect a return to form.
Caroline: I haven't seen any because I don't live in Nashville, and it's hard to say without having seen them play, so I don't know.
Jeremy: This question used to be simple but the absence of Hodgson has changed things up a bit. For me, the ideal third line would be: Arvidsson/Jarnkrok/Moses. Speed, hands, tenacity....check-check-check
Kris: Moses, Watson and Arvidsson. Give Austin Watson the keys to the third line while Hodgson nurses whatever the hell his upper body injury is (and I'm really at a loss what it is. He started training camp, played about two days worth and hasn't come back). I think Moses and Arvidsson would be perfect flanks for Watson while you can send Jarnkrok down to the fourth line to balance it all out.
Dirk: I haven't seen any of the preseason games, but I'd try put Steve Moses there with Cody Hodgson at center and bump Calle Jarnkrok over to wing. That group should be able to contribute something offensively.
Jon: Just off preseason, probably Fiala-Jarnkrok-Arvidsson... but that won't happen. It's tough to gauge when Hodgson has barely played in preseason, and I'm not passing judgement on Moses just yet.
4. What was the biggest failure of the coaching staff last year? And are they in position to correct it for this year?
Link: I think Trotz and now Laviolette overplay certain players. Rinne, Josi, and Weber play huge number of minutes. While the three seem capable of such feats, I feel that balance play time would allow for the elite players that anchor this team to play at an elite level through the course of the season. The coaching staff can absolutely fix the issue, but I don’t think that we will because of hockey.
Anish: For me, their biggest failure was in the playoffs last year. They just couldn't hold onto a lead to save their lives. I think Peter Laviolette's style leaves the team vulnerable to counter attacks. The Predators have a good enough defense though to adjust some of those mistakes from last year. I think Laviolette and his staff will be better prepared this year.
George: Special teams simply weren't spectacular last year. That old adage that your PP% and PK% should equal 100% is kind of arbitrary, but at an 80% PK, one wonders how many more games they might have won with a 20% PP as opposed to 16%. Conversely, how many more games would they have won with an 84% PK as opposed to 80%? And would more effective special teams helped in the playoffs? Well, not necessarily. In the playoffs the Preds were almost twice as effective on the PP with 27%, and nominally better on the PK with 84%. I guess nobody was going to stop the champs. Hopefully the addition of Barrett Jackman on the back end will help shore up the PK, and hopefully the Redemption of Cody Hodgson(TM) and the new youth movement will help produce some more clutch PP goals.
Zeke: I think the power play goes without saying, and we can expect that to better mostly because it can't really be worse (yes I take responsibility for any jinxes). While I hate to cast shade on a staff that greatly exceeded expectations at every turn, the loss of focus towards the end of the year, along with the period between the first and third was troubling. The coaching staff needs to keep this team consistently on message. This is year two and it can’t happen again.
Alex: Hard not to go with the power play. It just looked so putrid at times. Outside of that, they made some very strange line changes late in the post-season run (Y U NO PUT FORSBERG WITH NEAL). The only other major failure from last year was the whole Cody Franson situation, but I'm not sure that was the coaching staff's fault.
Beka: Another tough question… Most people probably would look at the slump the team hit towards the end as a contender for biggest failure, but I believe that was more on the players than the coaching staff. I think it was just one of those freak incidents where everyone went cold at the same time. Giving Rinne too heavy of a workload after he came back from that knee injury would have to be my answer to this question. I know Rinne likes to push himself, but as a coach, you have to know when to reel them in.
Gumpy: The power play could not get any worse last year. If the Preds hope to contend, that can't continue. We're already seeing improvements there this preseason. It also seems like the coaching staff has a lack of confidence in any backup, overloads Rinne. Hutton has is issues, but he does better when he's trusted with starts on a consistent basis.
Caroline: Not getting out of that March slump. We have to learn how to pick ourselves up and move on. (A stronger PP is always a nice dream too.)
Jeremy: The Power(less) Play. If the preseason is a mediocre Litmus test, the Predators PP unit has looked amazing with different players getting a look on the man advantage. The only quibble I had was when Weber was out there and they reverted back to the "pass to Shea and get out the way" mentality. Yes, Weber did score one in the game using this formula, but later on when players started keying in on Shea, the power play became a passing exercise the likes of which would have made Dumont and SK74 proud. I think the coaching staff can coach up better scoring chances on the PP this season as long as they don't revert back to the aforementioned blueline bombs.
Kris: The inability to provide ample rest for Rinne and make the proper adjustments when the season fell apart over the final twenty games. I think this season the players and staff are both accustomed to each other and the same issues that plagued the final run last year will most definitely not happen this season.
Dirk: Over-playing Weber & Josi during the regular season. According to that article by Adam Vingan the other day, they are aware of the problem and want to spread the playing time on defense more evenly this season. It's critical that they do this, not only to preserve Weber & Josi for the playoffs, but to foster the development of Ekholm, Ellis and Jones.
Jon: Not adjusting the power play. At times, watching the extra man unit work was painful. How could a team that was so good in the offensive zone at even strength have so much trouble just getting in the zone at 5v4? So far, it seems to be looking a lot better this preseason, so hopefully that carries over when it really matters. With not much player turn over, they should be able improve.