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September Previews - Nashville

September 30, 2009, 6:43 AM ET [ Comments]
Paul McCann
Nashville Predators Blogger •Predators Radio Network • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Tonight is the season premiere of HockeyBuzz Radio, join Pete Weber and me at 6pm for our pre-season preview show. Our guests are Bill Clement, Peter McNab and Terry Crisp.

HockeyBuzz Radio... on SportsRadio 560 WNSR, listen online at www.wnsr.com or on podcast at www.hockeybuzzradio.com.


We reach the end of my month long series of previews of every team in the NHL. Today some home ice advantage… Nashville. League wide predictions to come...


Nashville Predators – A very difficult season for the Preds in '08-'09, a year that started slowly with a September/October/November that ultimately put the Preds in too deep of a hole to crawl out of. It was also a year that saw the inspirational return of Steve Sullivan from a back injury that kept him out almost two seasons that resulted in him winning the Masterton Trophy. Nagging injuries reduced the effectiveness of players like JP Dumont. Untimely injuries to David Legwand and Martin Erat certainly didn’t help. One of the positives to come out of last season was the leadership shown by Jason Arnott, taking this team on his back in March and almost willing it to the playoffs. Another positive was the play of goaltender Pekka Rinne, making the third straight season that the franchise had a change in number 1 goalies. It was a season of stabilization for the franchise as the team moves forward from the ugliness of two summers ago.

Last Year’s Record – 40-34-8 88 points. 5th in the Central Division, 10th in the Eastern Conference

Key Additions – Ben Guite, Francis Bouillion

Key Subtractions – Scott Nichol, Ville Koistinen, Vern Fiddler, Radek Bonk, Greg DeVries and Greg Zanon

Division Match Up – The strong Central Division was three points away from putting all five teams into the playoffs last season, the division looks every bit a strong this year and perhaps a bit more even. Chicago has a lot of talent, but a lot of drama also. St. Louis looks to be healthy, Columbus is coming off their first playoff appearance and Detroit is still the favorite. It will be a tough road for Nashville to improve their standing, but one they are familiar with.

Outlook for 2009-2010 – Health is the watchword for Nashville this season. A healthy Nashville team will be competitive and will be in the mix for a playoff spot. If the injury bug bites too hard, or bites at the wrong time, or bites the wrong player, well… things will not be good. This Predator team is not deep at forward and needs their top five to play at their maximum in order to stay in the race. The top line of Arnott / Dumont / Sullivan will get their share of points, it’s the second line that must step up. David Legwand and Martin Erat will make almost $10 million between the two of them in ’09-’10. They need to produce like their salaries. Goaltending will be strong, truth be told, Dan Ellis looks to be the hotter goaltender coming out of camp, but Pekka Rinne will not give up the top spot easily. The Predators will be in the playoff mix in March but crossing the finish line in the top 8 will be a herculean task in the ultra competitive West.


I’m surprised, and not surprised about Cal O’Reilly and Alexander Sulzer being sent to Milwaukee. Both young players now learn the lesson of bringing it… all the time, every time.


You are invited to follow me on Twitter. Search for PredPAPaul… Not only will I be updating when I get news or updates… I’ll also be updating during Pred home games in season with information and explanations from the PA box.

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