Well, tomorrow is the day; the Devils’ 2011-2012 season preview will be posted here on Pucks and Pitchforks. For today, however, we take a look at the Nashville Predators, who surprised many in the Western Conference last season, winning six playoff games and giving Vancouver a good run for their money in the second round. Even with some subtractions offensively, the ‘Preds will at least look for a similar performance this year, and with their core intact, this is a strong possibility. Over at Predlines, Dan Bradley breaks down 2011-2012 for Nashville.
Without a doubt, this is the turning point for the Nashville Predators. The Three marquee players are entering their contract years. Of the 12 marquee rookies this year listed by SI.com, four will be wearing the fangs this year. The kids have the keys to the car this year. With revenue up, and the new ownership possibly about to add another partner which could even further stabilize the team and anchor them permanently at 501 Broadway, it’s within the realm of possibility this could be the last year Nashville hangs around the midpoint. That is, if the front office wants to keep all three of Ryan Suter, Pekka Rinne, and Shea Weber.
To read the rest of this Predators’ outlook, click here.
Our Devils will play the Predators once this season, and, ironically, it comes as the first road game of the season. The ‘Devs will visit Nashville on October 15th.
How about a brief look at those ‘Preds (I’m not sure why I’m asking…I do this every day)? Forward-wise, while there doesn’t seem to be any true offensive stars on this roster, there is plenty of depth, including the likes of former Devils Niclas Bergfors and Matt Halischuk. Nashville should receive production throughout their lines, and should be excited about much young talent in their system. Defensively, while their depth is seemingly average, newly-resigned Shea Weber and Ryan Suter give the Predators two very strong blue liners (especially the former, obviously, who is one of the best skaters in the sport). In goal is Pekka Rinne; there isn’t much more to say. The 28-year-old could arguably be the best goaltender in the NHL, and Nashville shouldn’t have to score too much to win a fair amount of games.
Overall, this Nashville team is a very good one. While it might be tough for them to match up with the likes of the Sedin brothers, Kane and Toews, etc., they have sufficient depth on their latter lines to provide much production as well. The Predators have to be one of the best teams in hockey behind their own blue line, and head coach Barry Trotz has this team playing a nice, well-balanced style. I can honestly admit that I was pulling for these ‘Preds in the playoffs last season, and hope that they continue their success this year. I expect them to put up a similar regular season result, with a strong opportunity to win a series or two.
Tomorrow’s preview comes courtesy of…us. That’s right, your New Jersey Devils season outlook (as aforementioned) should be up sometime tomorrow morning. Enjoy!