After losing 3-0 against the Eastern Conference leading New York Rangers, one thing above all else stood out to the Predator fans eagerly viewing the first nationally televised game of the year for Nashville….the team looked lost.
One individual in particular looked more timid and uncharacteristically out of place: Captain Shea Weber. With Suter being on the shelf for the last 1 and 2/3 games is it any wonder why the Predators scored three goals in the first period against the Islanders while Suter was playing and not score again after Suter was off the ice attending to his upper-body injury?
Weber being paired with Francis Bouillon in Suter’s absence has Weber at a -1 for those two games with 7 SOG and 0 points. Unfortunately, the Nashville Predator fans have seen this output before…
Last season from October 20th to November 12th, the Predators were without the help of Ryan Suter. In these 9 games, Shea Weber looked human rather than super-human as many have come to expect. Without Suter quarterbacking the PP, the Predators scored only 1 PP goal while allowing 5 PP goals against. In comparison, in the nine games after Suter returned to the lineup, Nashville scored 5 PP goals and let in 4 opposing PP goals (in one game: the Toronto meltdown).
Nashville’s record in the 9 game absence of Suter in the 2010-2011 season was 3-5-1 and Weber only produced 1 goal, 2 assists and sported a -8 rating in those games. In the next 9 games with Suter dressed, the Predators would begin their turn-around and go 4-3-2 with Weber posting 3 goals, 6 assists and a +4 rating.
Need more proof? From the beginning of the 2010-2011 campaign until Suter’s injury, the Predators had held their opponents to 3 goals or less (5 games). In the next nine games without Suter, the Predators allowed 4 different teams to score 4 or more goals. In the next 9 after Suter’s return, the Predators only allowed more than 3 goals twice.
It is imperative for the Predators to keep Ryan Suter and Shea Weber. Although the above analysis and stats show that the subtraction of Suter from the Nashville lineup proves disastrous, it is best to keep arguably the best tandem defensive unit in Nashville for many years to come.
Time will tell and the deadline is fast approaching for Poile to make some moves and keep the other 2/3 of the “Big 3″ happy and signed in Gold and Blue. Poile is going to have to convince Weber and Suter that Nashville can be a Stanley Cup contender in the very near future and with ownership opening up the purse-strings, now could possibly be the Predators greatest triumph or deepest regret.
What say you Predator fans? What pieces should be moved or offered to add the scoring threat Nashville needs? Will this type of move be enough to convince Weber and Suter to sign long-term?
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