It’s going to be a weird season.
The team on the ice is quite different than the Predators of the past. No Pekka Rinne between the pipes. Ryan Ellis is now a Philadelphia Flyer. Viktor Arvidsson is in L.A. This team’s turnover has been slow, but suddenly it seems like the on-ice product is strange. New. Unrecognizable.
There’s some trepidation among fans about what this season could bring. Most projections have Nashville in the lower-middle of the Central Divison. I like to refer to this area as the “mushy middle.” The Preds should be competitive but they’re not going to be hanging with Cup contenders on a regular basis.
So...what do we have to be excited about? Front office management refuses to call this a “rebuild,” but it’s fairly obvious that this is indeed a rebuild. A “reset” or “soft rebuild” both suggest Nashville is removing older, beloved players and replacing them with young talent. Some of that talent is acquired, some is home-grown. In the expansion draft, this “soft rebuild” was put to the test when Calle Jarnkrok was exposed (and selected) over Tanner Jeannot.
Well...I am fairly excited for that “HERD” line that Jeannot is part of. That line includes Colton Sissons and Yakov Trenin, all relative youngsters with lots of physicality. Here’s two goals from the first round of the playoffs featuring the “HERD” line:
I’m also quite excited for Cody Glass. A lot of folks believe that Glass didn’t reach his potential in Vegas, and that’s because he didn’t see regular ice time with the Golden Knights. His AHL production was quite solid, but he did his best work with the Golden Knights when on a line with Mark Stone. Writers like Corey Pronman think that Glass has not yet his his ceiling, and the right linemates Check out this goal from March. Glass has some patient, smooth hands in front of the Minnesota goaltender to poke home a very nice goal:
I’m excited for Filip Forsberg. He’s playing for a new contract, and perhaps this is FINALLY the season where he shows he can be a 30 or 40 goal scorer. While I’m not hopeful because of his injury history, a massive season from Forsberg could be a motivating thing for this team.
I’m excited to see Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen figure it out. They’ve got a massive contract, tons of disappointment, and the opportunity to prove us all wrong. If they don’t, I’m excited to see what kind of return David Poile can get for these two players. It will likely be an underwhelming return, but a team might end up overpaying at the trade deadline for a center with playoff experience.
I’m excited to see David Rittich, even in a backup role. Can he give Saros rest when needed and secure wins even in back-to-back situations?
I am REALLY excited to see Phil Tomasino. If you need to know why, read Eric’s article here.
I’m excited to see what kind of role Phil Myers can carve out for himself on the blueline. I’m also excited to see Alex Carrier paired up with Mattias Ekholm. The big Swede is now a veteran on the team, will likely wear an “A,” and is playing for a new contract. Will Carrier-Ekholm be excellent? I think so.
My point here, Preds fans, is that there are a few things to look forward to. This season might not be the most dominant. Heck, the Predators might not even make the playoffs. However, there’s a lot to be excited for in this “rebuild”... or whatever you want to call it.
Who are you most excited to see this season? Tell us in the comments below.