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OTF Mailbag: A Terrible, Very Bad Week

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This week, Marya, Hayley, and Anish team up to answer a few of your questions following a week most gently described as “horrible”.

Nashville Predators v Anaheim Ducks Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

herzausstein1 asks, Say we get halfway through the season and things still aren’t clicking and it looks like missing the playoffs is a certainty, how do we approach the trade deadline keeping in mind that the expansion draft is coming up?

Hayley: I think it all really depends on what exactly isn’t working. I think it would be smart of the team to keep an open mind towards the trade deadline but I think situations would have to get absolutely dire before they made any major moves. With the expansion draft coming up and knowing certain players are going to have to be protected it’s a tough call to make without knowing what the team is in need of at that time.

Anish: Blow it up. Blow it all up! Just kidding. But seriously, I think a lot of players will be expendable if missing the playoffs becomes reality. I think other than Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, James Neal, Roman Josi, and P.K. Subban, everyone will be on the trade block. It's sad to think about, but it could become a reality a lot sooner than we would like.

Marya: First, as much as I'm always leading the panic train, it is really unlikely that the team misses the playoffs. That being said, I don't think it would change the strategy for the expansion draft. I can't imagine Poile wanting to tinker any more with his top four defense. What they might do is flip some pending UFAs for picks, or if other teams need players specifically to expose.

JBoogie22 asks, I guess what do you guys see as the biggest reason for the early season struggles. Would be interested to hear your opinions.

Hayley: Personally I think the problem is our offense has been slow to start. It’s pretty frustrating that we’re already a month into the season and we’ve seen hardly anything from Filip Forsberg, James Neal, or Ryan Johansen. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get them scoring goals but hopefully it comes sooner rather than later. In all fairness I’d rather see the team struggle early and work the kinks out now instead of streaking into the playoffs like we did last year.

Anish: You got me on this one. From what I've seen so far, I feel like lack of speed has hurt the Predators. Yes, I know that's surprising considering the dynamic defense and skilled forwards. They just look like they are still trying to find their legs. With it being already 2 weeks into the season, they better find them fast before they get into too big of a hole.

Marya: Lack of chemistry due to virtually no training camp, having a moderately tough schedule to start the season, poor goaltending, and terrible luck. None of those are excuses, as they've also been playing very poorly. They don't seem to have the mental toughness to respond to their mistakes and they aren't working as a unit. They should be able to click better and the puck should bounce their way more with time, but it's not fun to watch right now.

SammyClay asks, Based upon the success of the AHL players vs. a (crosby-less) Penguin Squad, Is there a chance there are more call-ups to shake up the lines? If not (which is probably the answer), then what does that Penguins game say to you about our squad?

Hayley: I think it’s fair to say we’ll see more of the guys from Milwaukee on and off throughout the season. Do I think we’ll see permanent call-ups, maybe, and that’s only because I still have hope for Austin Watson. I think the Penguins game says a lot about our team being able to adapt under pressure. Clearly those are not circumstances any team wants to play under, but the fact that they were able to buckle down and pull out a win shows that they are capable of winning games against the best teams in the league.

Anish: Boy, I sure hope so. The kids from the Admirals sure did look impressive. I'm not sure how much more we will see considering the constant changes wouldn't help much with chemistry. One move I would like to see is a more permanent role for Frederick Gaudreau. I think he would fit in nicely with what the team needs right now.

Marya: Poile and company aren't going to try to roll with a minimum number of roster players anymore, at least. To attempt some positivity after last week, I'd say the game showed that this team can win. Bumping up Fiala and Arvidsson worked. They're not a fundamentally bad team, just playing poorly right now.

musamonster asked, What time is Saros time? And if he’s nhl ready, what real reason do we have to leave him in MIL when we need to win games now?

Hayley: At this point I think keeping Saros in the AHL has a lot to do with making sure he gets to play and protecting him from the expansion draft. I’m not sure he’d be eligible for the draft if he was Rinne’s full time back-up this season but better safe than sorry. I imagine we will see Saros in a much larger role in 2017-2018.

Anish: Man it’s hard to tell considering how good he's looked, and how bad Marek Mazanec has looked. I'm not sure why they haven't called him up permanently. My guess is that they see something that he still needs to work on before getting a permanent role with the big club. If it were up to me, he'd be in right now, but I'm not a GM so what do I know.

Marya: Unless he's going to be playing forty games, he needs to be in the AHL, and there's a seven million dollar reason why he won't be. I hope next season marks the beginning of Saros Time, but Rinne's contract is going to remain an issue for a couple more years.

Hayley: This is the only thing that comes to mind, because it’s a train-wreck and so was that game.

Anish: I'm going a little old school here. Hoobastank - Out Of Control. This game had me going crazy with how bad they played. It's the only song that fits for me. It also describes how quickly the game got out of hand for Nashville.

Marya: I'm going to go with "I Threw it on the Ground" in the hopes of laughing rather than crying.