Nashville Predators '22-'23 Expectations
October 5th, 2022
45-30-7 (97 Points)
Goals For 266 (12th)
Goals Against 252 (16th)
If not for the injury to Juuse Saros last season, I do believe the Predators would have taken the eventual Stanley Cup Champions to a minimum of a game 7. Had Saros played I would have been confident in the Preds to win that series outright. The Predators were never considered a legitimate contender last season after being bounced by Carolina in 6 games the year before (Covid realignment year), and the shocking elimination at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes in the shortened 2020 season. Nashville finished fifth in the tough Central Division last season but clinched the final wild card spot in the playoffs. Jusse Saros got hurt towards the end of the year and missed the first round against the Avalanche which saw the Avs score 21 goals in four games. The games in this series were much closer at times than the box scores would tell you. Connor Ingram, David Rittich, and the Nashville defense played catastrophic at times giving up multiple goals in short periods of time during the most crucial parts of multiple games. Had Saros started and played in this series the Preds would have been the Avs toughest opponent in their Cup run. Nashville has been a very productive team in the NHL since coming into the league almost 25 years ago, making the playoffs in fifteen of them and being in the Cup finals only six years ago. Fillip Forsberg was signed to an eight year extension this offseason giving him and Matt Duchene a guaranteed four more years together to build this team. Superstar defenseman Roman Josi is signed through the next eight as well. The Predators are a team that develop defenseman like no other team in the NHL over the years and have brought in veteran defenseman Ryan McDonough this offseason to join them. Up front, Nino Neiderreiter comes in as a very undervalued top six forward after going overlooked due to the free agency depth of superstars this offseason.
The Preds are a team that can take the next step this coming season. Nashville is a team who was able to keep virtually the same team that provided them success last year while also adding two depth pieces in McDonough and Neiderreiter. With Colorado the favorites to win the division, Nashville has the potential to reach the second seed of the Central this year. Regardless of where this team finishes in the standings, they are a playoff team and should outscore their point total from last year. Nashville should be active at the trade dealing with trigger happy GM David Poile in the front office as well. Poile, at times, can be too aggressive so how the moves actually turn out will depend, but I will expect this team to be active. Roman Josi came sixth in voting for the Hart Trophy last season having a career year with 23 goals and 73 assists. What I like about Nashville coming into this year are the additions of McDonough and Neiderreiter and the depth of this team. Nashville is a team and franchise that plays with pride and I believe this team believes they have something here. In net, Nashville has a top three Vezina finalist and back to back top four goalie in voting. On defense, Norris Trophy winner, and last years runner up to Cale Makar leads a three line deep defensive corp who have three vets in Josi, McDonough, and Mattias Ekholm to lead the next wave of Preds defenders in Lauzon, Fabbro, and Carrier. Up front the Preds have two 40 goal scorers in Forsberg and Duchene being led by center Mikael Grandlund. Five of the top six are rounded out with Ryan Johansen and Nino Neiderreiter playing on the second line. Second year players Phillip Tomasino and Tanner Jeannot have shown in their rookie campaign they’re able and ready to compete and take the next step this year. Jeannot already scored 20+ goals last year in his rookie season and has the makings to be a 30 goal scorer. Yakov Trenin continues to get better and should hit the 20 goal mark for the first time this season as well.
Outside of the Avs, who will be dealing with their own offseason losses this year, there is no true dominant force in the West and teams going back to back are very hard to come by. A Nashville team with momentum heading into the playoffs could spell disaster for anyone they face. The playoffs are a grind and an extra quarter of a season and I believe this Nashville team is close to being ready for a return to the cup. As mentioned in the Columbus article, there is a deep list of skilled players set to hit free agency this year. Nashville is a team that will be in play at the deadline to make the necessary moves to add some second and third line depth on both sides of the puck.
Playing futures with a limited bankroll is difficult especially when you’re laying a line. When you’re able to play on a line with credit it’s easier to make these kinds of plays without having to worry about the tied up funds. Nashville’s points total at 96.5 will be roughly what they need to make the playoffs again. I do think they would require less but the total is high enough where if they hit it they will be in. The Preds to make the playoffs line is -180 and I think it’s a highly winnable play. I wouldn’t recommend laying a -180 for a full season but if you have the ability to do it on credit I would.
Nashville opens the season Friday in Prague against San Jose. This game will be at 2pm in the afternoon. Keep an eye out for an email tomorrow and posts on social media as our new site will be going live in the morning! I look forward to building another profitable season with you all especially after the monster year we had last year!