In the grand scheme of the NHL, there are three types of teams. There are teams that are executing their plan to seriously contend for a Stanley Cup this year and next, knowing any long term success is likely going to be followed by a salary purge and retooling. There are teams that are bad, know they're bad, and plan on being bad in order to acquire young assets to build upon in order to become the one of the first category of teams. Then there are teams that try to "compete" every year, without a serious plan to become either type of team previously mentioned for a sustained period of time.
Nashville is definitely the latter of the three. And based on the results of what we've seen, the management is content to rely on an pair of aging career 2C's, a 23-year old two-way player who is best suited for middle line roles until he gains some mass, and a host of prospects in the minors as the internal competition for the most crucial part of contending franchise. We've said this many times: center depth wins titles. And unless Mike Fisher unlocks a cheat code, this roster as-is isn't good enough to do more than "contend", shoot a bunch, and fail in the playoffs. Those were our expectations going into the year, and they really haven't changed. But this is frustrating because the rest of the team is actually BETTER THAN EXPECTED, with the exception of Pekka Rinne to this point.
NASHVILLE IS CONTROLLING THE GAME MORE OFTEN THAN NOT. THEY DIDN'T EVEN DO THIS GOOD AT LIMITING CHANCES LAST YEAR. YES, EVEN WHEN THEY WERE GOOD LAST YEAR.
So while Nashville keeps shelling out checks to Shea Weber and Rinne which are enough to finance a revolution, let alone play key roles on a contending team, the management was content to go into the year asking for another miracle from Mike and Mike. That's the reality. This is while Dallas, a team that they should be looking to as their real competition in terms of style, strategy, "hockey market type", and blah blah blah... has surpassed Nashville. They traded for center depth. TRADED, I say. As in, they weren't even terrible enough to draft these guys. And look who they gave up: B-level prospects, lower line players, and Loui Eriksson. AND THEY GOT TWO CAREER 1C's. HELL, NASHVILLE WILL BE LUCKY TO GET ONE GIVING WHAT DALLAS GAVE UP FOR TWO.
And this year, plenty of good young players will be dangled as their coaches kill their careers (Ryan Johansen) or become expendable due to other great young players (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) or just they get tired of playing in the IIHF WC's every year for Team Canada (Matt Duchene).
There's not a real acceptable excuse for being "unable" to land at least one of these guys with the roster, prospects, and picks Nashville has at their disposal. And there's especially no excuse we should accept when the team is paying "contender" money to a goaltender and defenseman over 30.
Get it done. It'll hurt, but we'll know you tried.
Here are your links.
Nashville Predators News
Predators still 0-for-overtime | Tennessean
Weber: "We've talked about it a little bit. We did it in training camp. We did some three-on-three stuff, trying to get used to it, but we haven't since, so I'm not sure. Obviously they're big points. It's a big extra point, so we've got to find a way to win those overtime games."
And that's all you need to know about 3v3.
Other Hockey News That's Mostly Injury Updates and Stuff To Make You Feel Jealous
VIDEO: Hurricanes' Skinner records 2nd hat trick in 3 games | theScore.com
Jeff Skinner is only 23? Wow.
Players Meeting Follows Blue Jackets' 5th Straight Loss - TSS
Maybe they should fi-.... oh wait. So how does Ryan feel about this?
'Sign Stamkos' signs printed by Toronto radio station banned by arena they partly own - SBNation.com
TSN Radio? Really? Color me shocked.
Stamkos largely upstaged in Bolts’ high-scoring win vs. Leafs | ProHockeyTalk
Nine total goals, zero points for the center of attention.
Mike Smith has successful surgery; will be out for at least two months - Five For Howling
The Coyotes will be missing their number one netminder for quite some time.
The Possession Impact of Brooks Orpik's Injury - Japers' Rink
It's hard to ignore how much worse the skaters have looked since Orpik's injury in November... but is it related?
Pittsburgh Penguins injury updates: Marc-Andre Fleury possible concussion, Bennett out 4-6 weeks - PensBurgh
Two new injuries for the Pittsburgh Penguins, neither of which are good news. Starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is being tested for a concussion, Beau Bennett's shoulder will keep him out a while.
Minnesota Wild claim center Jarret Stoll off waivers from New York Rangers
Veteran center Jarret Stoll picked up by Wild after being put on waivers by the Rangers on Monday.
Canadiens trade Thomas to Coyotes in exchange for Lessio | Montreal Gazette
In 24 games with the AHL's Springfield Falcons this season, Lucas Lessio had seven goals and five assists.
Dominant Kings looking like Cup contenders - Article - TSN
Look at the chart. Now, don't cry.
Wild's top line scores 9 points in win over Canucks - Sportsnet.ca
Thomas Vanek scored one of Minnesota's three power-play goals and pitched in three assists, leading the Wild on a 6-2 romp over the road-weary Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.