CSN Chicago will unveil a preview each day for every Central Division team leading up to the NHL's season-opener. Next up: Nashville Predators.
One-third of the craziest 23 minutes in National Hockey League history involved P.K. Subban being traded to the Predators from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for captain Shea Weber in a one-for-one swap. It shook the hockey world.
The move signaled the Predators' desire to change to an up-tempo style of hockey, which is becoming the new norm, while the Canadiens are looking to build around the best goaltender in the world in Carey Price.
How quickly will it take for the Predators to make that transition, though?
This team has the potential to win its first division title in franchise history, but it will be a tough road to climb when you factor in the competition in the Central and the amount of time it may take to gel.
The Predators are so used to playing from Pekka Rinne on out and now it's the complete opposite. For as long as Weber anchored the back end, it was all about playing tight defense, and even with that style, Rinne had a career-worst save percentage of .908 last year. The quality of shots he'll face this year will get much tougher as they may not be as structurally sound in their own end.
On offense, Filip Forsberg and James Neal combined for 64 goals last year. Weber also accounted for 20 of them, and that's asking a lot out of both Forsberg and Neal to surpass what they did a year ago while counting on Subban to score 20-plus goals when his career-high is 15.
The Predators were also a top-four puck possession team last year, so while their attack should be much stronger with Subban leading the rush, the numbers can't improve by much.
The Predators don't have as deep a forward group as other teams in the division, and their second- and third-line centers are manned by 36-year-old newly-appointed captain Mike Fisher and 36-year-old Mike Ribeiro, who scored just seven goals last year which was the lowest mark of his career since 2002-03. Not exactly guys that can fly.
Subban will certainly change the way the Predators play — and for the better — but it may take some time getting used to.