Predators End of Season Thoughts
#Smashville post-season availability was held over the last few days. We've got injury updates, comments about young players, and lots of hope for the future.
The Predators post-season availability was held over the last few days. We've got injury updates, comments about young players, and lots of hope for the future. Here's some positivity and end-of-season thoughts.
Our friend Alex summed up the injury report here:
We also know Jeremy Lauzon was out with a concussion. While it's disappointing to see players out for a long period of time, I am glad the Predators are taking concussions seriously. Roman Josi said this about his concussion: "But I've had a couple so I think you've just got to make sure you heal and you get fully healthy and I've tried to do that in the past." It's good to know that the organization as a whole is careful with head injuries.
The Predators also announced that they locked up Kiefer Sherwood and Michael McCarron on one-year deals. These are reasonable, minimum-salary contracts that should provide Nashville with some physical veteran forwards as the youngsters continue to grow. Say what you want about Michael McCarron, but "Big Sexy" overcame a lot this season and played his heart out for both the Admirals and the Predators.
I, for one, think the Preds have a lot of bright stars in their very near future. Players like Cody Glass, Tommy Novak, and Phil Tomasino made names for themselves. Josi said this about Nashville's up-and-coming stars: "As much as it hurts not making the playoffs, after those last 20 games or so I'm definitely looking forward to the future and it definitely gives you a lot of hope."
Ryan Johansen said this about Tommy Novak: "He'd just been thrown in the fire and had opportunities to impact games and win games for this club. That he went out there and did it didn't really surprise me. It probably surprised a lot of you guys and a lot of fans. It's like, who's Tommy Novak? Who's this guy? And I couldn't be more proud of him. It's inspiring watching him." Novak had an incredible season, posting 17 goals and 26 assists (43 points) in just 51 games. Novak is one of my favorite stories of the season, and having the support of a veteran like Johansen is incredible. While Johansen will certainly be looking to come back from his tendon injury and prove himself to the Predators, Novak (and Glass) will be looking to fill in, perhaps even in the top 6.
Aside from the obvious "Saros for Vezina" comments that came from nearly every player as well as the coaching staff and management, it's pretty clear that Saros's potential nomination will be a story to keep your eye on...but what else is on the horizon? The NHL Awards and NHL Draft will be held later this summer at Bridgestone Arena, and it'll be an incredible time in Nashville for hockey fans of all sorts. Ryan McDonagh had this to add about Saros: "He definitely took the lessons that he's learned from Pekka Rinne and just carried the torch in an unbelievable fashion, so we're all so proud to play in front of him every night. He just gave his heart out every night. Him and [Kevin Lankinen] - our goaltending was unbelievable this year, so I hope he gets the recognition that he deserves." Nashville is quite blessed with solid goaltending, and there's a lot of excitement for Yaroslav Askarov in Milwaukee, too.
In the "management" media availability on Monday, Barry Trotz and David Poile spun a lot of positivity into this season's injuries and trades. Trotz commented multiple times on the influx of youth into Nashville's lineup, and he emphasized that Nashville's younger players have to learn to play "a man's game." To me, this means that Trotz realizes the challenge of integrating younger players into Nashville's remaining veteran lineup.
Trotz also mentioned that he signed depth players so he could focus a little more on the big pieces over the summer. He has draft capital, and he mentioned that he might be interested in squeezing assets from cap-strapped teams. It's unclear what that might look like, but with the NHL Draft in Nashville, we could be looking at some fireworks on the draft floor in June.
Sound off below, Preds fans. What gets you excited about this offseason? Were there any comments on Sunday or Monday that interested you?