Why Losing Shea Weber Will Help The Nashville Predators' Power Play
How in the world is a team going to improve their power play after trading away the league's biggest PP weapon? Let's find out.
Before you light up the comments section with a fiery hot take about why I'm wrong, hear me out. Yes, Shea Weber is arguably the best power play weapon in the NHL and scored 14 PP goals (tied for 4th most) last season. The 100 mph slapshot is deadly from the point when enjoying a man advantage. Logic would suggest Nashville will take a dive down the power play ranks in the upcoming coming season without him. However, everything in life is best in moderation.
What is meant by that? The Nashville Predators have relied too much on their former captain's best attribute to score on special teams. The Predators would complete an entire power play on many occasions that didn't look much different than a practice drill of feeding Weber pucks to fire at the net. Sure, the law of averages will see him blast one by the goalie, but that's not the best strategy for overall team success.
Weber was the team's safety net. There wasn't an onus on the power play to become more creative in their attack because why not just feed it back for a Weber blast when getting into trouble in the offensive zone. With the trade of Weber to Montreal, the training wheels are getting taken off the power play bicycle.
And that' a good thing. Maybe in years past the best option was putting Patric Hornqvist in front of the net and have Weber go crazy, but this current team doesn't have the playmaking deficiencies earlier Predator squads were handicapped by. The current firepower of the forwards provide the PP with an array of options to succeed.
Last season's man advantage wasn't awful. They converted at a 19.7% clip (10th best), but there's a lot of room to improve considering the talent on the ice. The main reason for the uptick in PP success from the 2014-2015 season of just 16.7% (24th ranked) to the past year is mainly one person. You guessed it. This last season Weber shot 10.6% with 14 power play goals. That's a big leap from his 6.3% and only five PP goals the prior year.
Nashville's man advantage was so heavily hinged on the success rate of Weber's blast. If it's working, great. If not.... uh-oh.
In addition, let's not forget who Nashville is receiving in return for their captain. P.K. Subban is no slouch on special teams. The new Predator is just a year removed from being the second ranked defenseman with eight PP goals. His shot is no Weber blast, but it's not too far behind. Subban gives the team better playmaking ability from the point for a more well-rounded power play unit.
It's not far fetched for a team that can roll out James Neal, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Roman Josi, and Subban to compete for one of the best power plays in the league. Forcing the issue of becoming more innovative without the easy way out thinking of just sliding it back to Weber can create something really special in the future.
Call me crazy. Say I'm insane, but I'm betting the Predators are a better power play team after trading away No. 6.