What Does The Future Look Like For The Nashville Predators

What Does The Future Look Like For The Nashville Predators
Jan 14, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) and Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) look on from the bench during the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After 15 games of the NHL 2021 season, things couldn’t be going a whole lot worse for the Nashville Predators than they are right now. The team is 6-9-0 to begin the season and have lost six of their last eight games. For Nashville fans, frustration is starting to boil over with the way the Predators are playing. Here are a few major questions regarding Nashville’s future:

Where is the offense going to come from?

This team has a huge problem offensively and it’s tough to see where the answers are going to come from. They’re just not very dangerous, and they have a hard time finishing on the chances they are able to create when they get there.

The Predators rank 27th in the NHL with 2.31 goals per game. They simply are not giving themselves a chance to win if those numbers don’t improve. Unless some top players start producing, it’s hard to see where that offense is going to come from.

Is This Who The Predators Are?

Predators fans are upset and rightly so. This team has been steadily on the decline for the past few seasons and the signs are pointing toward that trend continuing so far this season.

There are certainly some disappointing individual performances that have plagued the Predators to begin the season. There are players that have been very productive in the NHL that has not been productive for the Predators over the past couple of years.

However, that simply hasn’t happened with any sort of regularity over the past two seasons for some top guys. Ryan Johansen, while injured right now, has been unproductive when he’s been in the lineup for the past two seasons. Duchene has not lived up to expectations. Viktor Arvidsson only has two goals in 15 games to begin the season. Filip Forsberg has been the only forward this year that has produced at a high level.

Could a “rebuild” be on the horizon?

Heading into this season, a rebuild did not seem like a viable option for the Predators. Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Duchene, Johansen, Arvidsson, and Forsberg should all still be in the prime of their careers. The more the Predators play, the more I believe think that a rebuild may be inevitable. The Predators began to retool with the changes they made this past offseason, leaving basically all of the core players intact. If things continue to go poorly with this group, their mindset must change, and they should begin to develop a new core.  

Juuse Saros?

We have seen enough from Saros at this point to know he’s a “good” NHL goaltender. He’s had his moments where he’s looked awesome. But is he a “franchise” type of player? That was a question the Predators needed to figure out this season.

Nothing at this point would indicate that the answer to that question is “yes.” Saros has a goals-against-average of 3.68 and a .881 save percentage. That’s just not good enough.

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