John Klingberg probably did us a favor when he scored from the left circle in overtime which ended the season for the Nashville Predators. He put an end to the most frustrating experience I have had since I moved to Nashville four years ago and became a Predators’ fan.
Yes, the Predators did repeat as Central Division champions – and they will probably raise another banner for that one to go with all the others that have fallen short of a Stanley Cup champion. I honestly don’t know how they won the division this year. They certainly didn’t make it easy. This is the earliest exit for Nashville since losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in 2015.
This team once had so much promise but the future is uncertain. Will the Predators fire Coach Peter Laviolette? What moves with the team make in the off season?
There is definitely a problem that is hard to put a finger on. Maybe there are personality issues in the locker room. Perhaps there is a lack of leadership. Right now there are a lot of questions about this team. If they don’t correct it soon, the window of opportunity to win the Stanley Cup may be closing.
After watching the Predators this season here are the glaring weaknesses:
The Power Play is awful and ended up doing them in against Dallas. They were 0 for 11 in the series and had a power play in the final two minutes in Game Six. I know these guys try to set up the play but at one point I counted seven passes before they turned the puck over without even attempting the shot. Something has to be done about this. Oddly enough, it seemed during most of the season that our best scoring chances were when we were shorthanded. The Power Play must be fixed. The Predators were the first team in 10 years to qualify for the playoffs with the worst power play in the league. They finished 33-for-269 during the season and did not score a power play goal in the playoffs.
Lapses on Defense
The Predators used to be the best in the National Hockey League (NHL) on defense but they have gotten awful on defense. Too many defensive zone breakdowns and turnovers have made goalkeepers Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros’ jobs much harder than it needed to be. While it is easy to blame the goaltenders for goals, they have kept the team competitive. Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and P.K. Sabban were once the main guys for defense but they aren’t getting the job done.
While Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson and Craig Smith are usually pretty reliable in getting the pucks to the net, the others are horribly inconsistent. This is clearly evident when you get someone like Rocco Grimaldi who comes in and out plays the other “stars” on offense. Maybe it’s time to trade some of those stars.
So, if I were in charge, what moves would I make?
#1 – Trade P.K. Subban
Yep, I know he’s a fan favorite and all that but his defense has been terrible this season. I think it’s time for a change.
#2 – Trade Kyle Turris
Turris is one of those offensive stars who was supposed to be the goal scoring machine when he came to Nashville. Since coming to the Predators in 2017-18, he has only scored 20 goals. I think he’s expendable.
#3 – Bring up Eeli Tolvanen
There was quite a splash when the Predators signed Tolvanen but what have they done with him? I don’t think they have given him much of a chance to prove himself. Bring him up now and insert him into the lineup.
#4 – Restore home ice dominance
Enough with the “someone sucks” chants by the fans. Bridgestone Arena has not be a good place for the home team to play. When your team plays better on the road than at home then something is wrong. Change up the goal songs and get some new energy in the home games. Make it a feared place for opposing teams to play again.
It’s time to take a break from hockey.
While it has been frustrating to watch the Predators this season, I’m still a fan and always will be. It’s sad that the season is over but a relief that we can take a deep breath and take a break for the next five months. Some times it’s easy being a fan because I don’t have to make these difficult decisions and can actually forget about hockey for the summer.