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20 Bold Predictions for the 2011-2012 Nashville Predators


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So, for the majority of people that know me, I’m not the best prediction machine, nor do I ever claim to be. However, I am hoping to break that trend this season and get a pretty good record going for me. Granted, during the post-season, my predictions were nearly stellar (INCLUDING the scores of the game as well).

Including the normal predictions I do for each game (which I hope to be better this year than last), here are my 20 “Bold Predictions” for the upcoming season for Nashville:

1: David Legwand will have a career year

Well, I don’t think he’ll best his 105 points he had for the Plymouth Whalers in 1998, however I think he’ll garner more than his current NHL career high of 63 points (2007)

2: Pekka Rinne will win more games than 33 games this season…

…but I don’t believe his stats will be better than his regular season stats of last year. Rinne’s 2.12 GAA and .930 Save% where the best he has ever had in his CAREER (when playing more than 10 games), I don’t believe he’ll do much better than that unless he gets unearthly protection in front of him. More than 33 wins? Yes. Better stats? No.

3: Nashville will bring home some post-season hardware this year

Last season, David Poile, Barry Trotz, Pekka Rinne, and Shea Weber were all nominated for their respective trophies and Rinne even received MVP votes, however Nashville was 0-4 in their quest for some type of trophy. With the only Predator thus far to win a trophy in Nashville being Steve Sullivan, that will change this season.

Time will tell if it will be the same 4 individuals heading back to the Awards show for another season or if we’ll have other invitees as well (maybe a Calder or a Selke nomination?).

Who knows, maybe Nashville will bring home a President’s trophy, a Campbell Bowl, or even Lord Stanley’s Cup…

4: Nashville WON’T win the division, but…

…they WILL go further than any other Central Division team in the playoffs. Last season they missed that mark by one game when Detroit took San Jose to 7 games.

5: Columbus will win in Nashville this season

This may not be a positive prediction, but it definitely is a bold one. Nashville has won 17 straight games in Nashville against Columbus (dating back to their last loss: April 3rd, 2006).

There are many that think this trend won’t end, however I seriously doubt it. I would love to reach 20, but Columbus is going to be a much different team this year. Expect the streak to stop at 18.

6: Don’t expect Ryan Ellis to start in Nashville…

…but expect him to play this season for the Predators. For all the talent that Ellis has and all of the hype surrounding him, I just don’t think he’ll make the team out of camp.

Will he play for the Predators this year? Absolutely. Hopefully he’ll be called up later in the year and still be eligible for the Calder Trophy in the 2012-2013 season.

7: Blake Geoffrion will start the season in Milwaukee

Geoffrion made a very lasting impression on the Predators during the downhill stretch to end the regular season AND during the playoffs as well, however look at the players that Geoffrion will have to compete with for a starting Center position at training camp:

David Legwand, Mike Fisher, Cal O’Reilly, Jerred Smithson, Zack Stortini, Nick Spaling, Colin Wilson

Granted, Smithson/Stortini/Spaling/Wilson are all versatile players, however when you throw Geoffrion and fellow late-season call-up Chris Mueller into that mix? More than likely they don’t make the initial cut for the season start.

That doesn’t mean he won’t play in Nashville this year. Look at Nick Spaling. Spaling started the season in Milwaukee but turned into a key contributor for the Predators throughout the regular season and was one of the reasons Nashville made it to the second round for the first time as well.

8: Nashville will eclipse 40 wins for the 7th STRAIGHT season

Since the lockout, Nashville has YET to have a sub-40 win season. The closest they came was in 2009 when they didn’t make the playoffs (40 wins on the nose). Expect them to make this mark yet again this season

9: Bergfors will find a home here in Nashville

Just like Sergei Kostitsyn paid off for the Predators last season, Bergfors will pay off this season as well. What line he will end up on I have no clue, but you have to wonder if Bergfors and Kostitsyn will be paired up at some point this year. I have a feeling that will be an EXTREMELY dangerous duo

10: Weber/Suter/Rinne will ALL sign contract extensions with Nashville

This is a big one. Out of all the speculation that has gone on this off season, I believe the Predators will sign ALL THREE of their superstar players.

Yes it will DEFINITELY be a tough task to accomplish, but if David Poile and the ownership want to keep that proverbial “window of opportunity” open to let Stanley’s breeze seep through, they almost have to sign these 3. Otherwise, the window will shut on the paws of the Predators and it could be a cold cold winter for a long time here in Nashville

11: Jordin Tootoo will nearly double (or more) his current career point highs

This is going to be a great season for Jordin Tootoo. His career bests in points is 18 for Nashville, which he’s done twice over the last two seasons. With a fully focused Tootoo, expect to see him on an absolute tear this year.

Oh, and did I mention it’s his contract year as well? Yeah, that will factor into it too.

12: Colin Wilson will have a “make it” type of year

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This will be Colin Wilson’s year. The kid is ONLY 21 YEARS OLD! Just remember that before you criticize him again.

Yes he’s not going to be the best yet and yes he is going to have some attitude adjustments to go through, but the kid is going to be a star, just you wait

13: Cal O’Reilly will have a “break it” type of year

Sorry O’Reilly fans, this will be the last season Cal dons the blue and gold for Nashville. Whether he is traded this season or is not re-signed after the year is done, O’Reilly won’t be coming back to the Predators in 2012

14: Overtime Losers to Overtime Winners

Last season Nashville went 2-7 in the Overtime period, losing 3 straight in the first 6 games of the year. Don’t expect that this year. Expect a dominance from Nashville if they get to any overtime period (OT or Shootout).

15: Nashville WILL win an overtime home playoff game

Currently 0-2 at home in the playoffs when the game eclipses 60 minutes, Nashville will buck that trend this year and give the fans a glimpse at one of the most amazing types of victories in the NHL.

SIDE NOTE: A home playoff overtime victory is on my bucket list of things to see in terms of NHL. I sincerely believe I’ll be able to scratch that off my list this year

16: Nashville will have a streak of 7 or more…

Wins or losses? I’m not sure on that one. I just believe 7 in a row will be hit one way or the other. Hopefully it’s a positive!

17: 20+ Regular Season Sell-outs

Last season, Nashville had 16 regular season sellouts, second all time in Predators history. This year, they’ll eclipse 20 for the first time since BEFORE the turn of the century.

18: Santa will bring a Top 6 Forward to Nashville

Mark these words: BEFORE CHRISTMAS, a top 6 forward will be acquired by the team. Not just ANY forward, but an extremely extremely talented one.

Nashville shocked the world when they traded for Peter Forsberg in 2007, bringing a future Hall of Famer and an all-world player to the franchise to help them push for a Stanley Cup.

Although they were decidedly handled by the Sharks, the move showed the Predators were in an “All In” state and pushed all of their chips forward. The current ownership talks about being competitive and bring a Stanley Cup to Nashville to ride down Broadway, expect them to live up to their part of the bargain in the first few months of this season

19: Nashville will give up the fewest goals this season

Last season the Predators were 3rd overall in the league in total goals given up over the season with 190 total. Only 7 teams were held UNDER 200 total goals for the entire season. This season Nashville will be #1 on that list and will bring him the William M. Jennings trophy for accomplishing it.

The Predators had a chance last season to do so, but was edged out by Boston and Vancouver over the last few weeks of the season.

20: The Powerplay is BACK

The Predators haven’t had a formidable powerplay in years. This will change. Don’t expect to see the same futility that we’ve been used to for the last few seasons on the man advantage. Something will give this year and the floodgates will open.

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Now, I expect that some of these I will be wrong on. I’d love to be right on all 20, don’t get me wrong, however no one is perfect.

We’ll take a look after the season ended on how I did for these predictions

So, give me your thoughts! Like/Dislike/Offended/Pleased? What do you think are the most reasonable predictions? What do you think are the most absurd one?

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