To get you ready for the 2015-16 season, we will be previewing all 30 NHL in 30 days, division by division. Check the bottom of the page for a schedule of each preview.
Today’s team: Nashville Predators
2014-15 record: 47-25-10, 2nd in the Central
How they finished: Lost in 6 games to Chicago in the Western Conference Quarterfinals
Coach: Peter Laviolette (2nd season)
Notable additions: C Cody Hodgson, D Barret Jackman
Notable subtractions: C Matt Cullen, D Anton Volchenkov, D Cody Franson, C Mike Santorelli
Schedule against the Capitals: Tue. Feb. 9 at Nashville, Fri. Mar. 18 at Washington
Outlook: Pekka RInne was having a Vezina caliber season last year before he suffered an injury midway through the season and he never looked the same. Nashville fell from the top team in the Western Conference to second place in their division. His health this year is the most important factor for a Predators' team that changed little in the course of the offseason.
The Predators re-signed Mike Ribeiro after a sparkling season, but he has been incredibly inconsistent throughout his career. It's hard to trust a team with him as their top line center, even if it is between Filip Forsberg and James Neal. If Ribeiro doesn't work out, the team could always turn to Mike Fisher...who is 35. Clearly his 50 point seasons are behind him.
Defensively, the Predators did improve, albeit slightly, by subtracting Anton Volchenkov and adding Barret Jackman.
The best thing you can say about Nashville this offseason is that they didn't get worse which doesn't sound like high praise until you look around at the rest of the conference.
Expectations: Nashville has a good roster and with Rinne on top of his game it can be great, but it does not look like a championship team. Having said that, the Predators showed their potential last season. Imagine if Rinne had not gotten injured and played as well as he did at the start of the season, they could have made a run all the way to the Finals.
Look at the rest of the conference. Anaheim is the favorite but untrustworthy in the playoffs, Chicago overhauled their roster to stay under the salary cap and St. Louis took a step back unless you consider Troy Brouwer an upgrade over T.J. Oshie.
This isn't a roster I completely trust, but you can't argue with Rinne and after seeing how things came together last season, Nashville could make a deep postseason run.
See more team previews:
Boston Bruins 8/15
Buffalo Sabres 8/16
Detroit Red Wings 8/17
Florida Panthers 8/18
Montreal Canadiens 8/19
Ottawa Senators 8/20
Tampa Bay Lightning 8/21
Toronto Maple Leafs 8/22
Carolina Hurricanes 8/23
Columbus Blue Jackets 8/24
New Jersey Devils 8/25
New York Islanders 8/26
New York Rangers 8/27
Philadelphia Flyers 8/28
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/29
Washington Capitals 8/30