It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway)... when you have two high quality NHL players like P.K. Subban and Pekka Rinne you have more than an excellent chance of winning Lord Stanley's Cup.
Last season the Preds had the best record in the league with an amazing 53-18-11 record good for 117 points.
A shoe-in for the Cup, right?
Until they met their match in the high-flying (pun intended) Winnipeg Jets who went to seven games to finish off the Nashville club in the second round of the playoffs.
The way they lost had to be on their minds all summer. After taking Game 6 on the road with an impressive 4-0 shutout of the Jets, the Preds fell on their faces in Game 7 at home losing 5-1.
Not even close.
Now this doesn't downplay the fact that the Jets are a formidable team who will give the entire Western Conference fits this coming season.
It just shows that you can't win a series against a good team like Winnipeg when you lose three of four home games in the playoffs.
Not going happen.
But, this is new season, and to say the Predators have something to prove is an understatement. They WANT it this season!
Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - Viktor Advidsson
Kevin Fiala - Kyle Turris - Craig Smith
Eeli Tolvanen - Nick Bonino - Ryan Hartman
Colton Sissons - Calle Jarnkrok - Austin Watson
Extra forwards: Miikka Salomaki, Zac Rinaldo
Roman Josi - Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm - P.K. Subban
Matt Irwin - Yannick Weber
Extra defensemen: Dan Hamhuis, Jarred Tinordi
Best case scenario:
- Rinne has another Vezina Trophy winning season and stands on his head to take the Predators to where they should have been last season... to the Finals.
- P.K. Subban continues his dominant play on the blueline and stays healthy to play all 82 games as he did last season.
- With the same basic team they had last season, the Preds show their winning ways again, and this time advance farther in the playoffs.
- Defenseman Ryan Ellis who recently signed an eight-year $50 million contract starting in 2019/20, needs to show his worth for that kind of money. It's quite a commitment from the team. Now he needs to continue to perform... and stay healthy as he only appeared in 44 games last season.
Worst case scenario:
- Rinne's age catches up to him.
- He looked less than unstoppable in Game 7 and got yanked giving up two goals in 10 minutes; he may run out of gas since he will turn 36 a month into the new season.
- An injury to an important player like Subban or Forsberg proves lethal to the Predators' plans for the postseason.
- They get to the playoffs after a dominating season like last year only to lose in the first or second round.
- Mike Fisher makes yet ANOTHER comeback after retiring twice already.
The Nashville Predators will certainly be in the playoffs again, they are just too talented to not make it.
What they need to do this time around is win their playoff home games! It's essential to moving on. They just must hope they won't be matched up against the high-flying Jets again.
For some reason they just didn't match-up well against that team. Perhaps it was the Jets' speed or youth... or both. In any case all they need to do is play their game of good offense, excellent defense and incredible goaltending and the rest will take care of itself.
The city of Nashville is hockey crazy and if they win the Cup, the fans will go crazy. Who knows where the Cup will show up if that happens.
They have the talent, now they just need to go out there and show it.
And I think they will. Nashville in seven vs the Tampa Bay Lightning.
How do you think the Nashville Predators will do in 2018/19? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to give us a follow on Twitter by searching (@VAVELNHL_ENG).