The Nashville Predators finished just 3 points out of a playoff spot. They had some needs to fill in for this season, and I believe they were successful.
The Predators fired Barry Trotz, who had the second longest tenure as a coach of one team in sports, right behind Greg Popovich of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. The replacement for Trotz was Peter Laviolette, a very good choice. He led the Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup championship in 2006 and the Flyers to the finals in 2010. I think he will do a great job there.
One problem this past season was the amount of goals they let in; this is a little bewildering, because, even when Rinne was out, both Hutton and Mazanek played extremely well. Having Rinne back will be relieving, though, as he is among the league’s elite.
They also had trouble offensively, which is the area they focused on this offseason. Their top scorer was defenseman Shea Weber with 56 points. This summer, they signed Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy, both to a 1 year contract worth just $1 million. Ribeiro, according to Arizona’s GM, has had intolerable behavior, and Roy has not had great seasons of late, but when both are on top of their game, they can be offensive forces. They also acquired James Neal from Pittsburgh, someone who can score 30-40 goals in a season. Those three could make a huge difference for Nashville this season.
With additions of potential offensive forces and new coach Peter Laviolette, I can see the Predators making a wild card spot, but that is still up for grabs.