So, we started this trend last year for the 2011-2012 Nashville Predators season and we had 20 bold predictions. Well, guess what? It’s that time of the year again and since we only have half a season, we will have half the number of predictions.
Below are our 10 bold predictions for the 2013 abbreviated season:
1: Nashville will have a Top 20 scorer
Whether it’s Sergei Kostitsyn, Martin Erat, Gabriel Bourque, or any of the Predators forwards, one of them is going to be in the Top 20 of NHL scoring during this shortened shotgun season. Personally? I think it will be Sergei Kostitsyn, however that’s just my guess.
I would love if I were wrong and it was more of a Martin Erat or even a defenseman like Shea Weber or Ryan Ellis.
2: Pekka Rinne will start 40 games for the Nashville Predators
Personally, I don’t really hope that Rinne starts 40 games, as I’d like to see him get a bit of rest here and there, but we all that Rinne works best when being run like a racehorse. Rinne is on top of his game when he faces a plethora of shots on a nightly basis, so why not just assume that he’ll take the majority of the shortened season’s workload anyways?
We know that Rinne thrives under pressure and we know he is a heavy competitor, wanting to see his team succeed. I just have a feeling that this could end up being an…”interesting” season if Rinne starts off on the right foot.
3: Nashville will advance to the Western Conference Finals
You heard it here first. I talked about it earlier this week during my weekly time on HasBeenSports’ Monday Night Forehand. It just seems like if things DO indeed start off on the right foot, this team come almost be a team of destiny.
Now, will the Predators advance PAST the Western Conference Finals? I don’t think this year they will, however I could be wrong. All in all, the Western Conference Finals just seem like an attainable goal this season.
4: Three Predators will walk away with NHL Awards hardware
Shea Weber, Barry Trotz, and David Poile. I think Nashville sends three representatives and comes home with three major awards. If Trotz
gets the team to the Western Conference Finals as I predict above can lead the team to a high seed and possibly a division title (thanks to Paul in the comments for reminding me that postseason doesn’t count for the Jack Adams), it’ll be enough to secure him Coach of the Year honors. Weber was robbed of, what I believed to be, a sure-fire Norris Trophy this past year, so expect him to come home with it this season.
As for David Poile, well, only one thing well help him secure his award and that is…
5: Jonathan Blum will be packaged up and traded from Nashville for a key piece of the post-season puzzle
I don’t know what it will be for but Poile will work his wizardry and bring home a key piece of the puzzle that will help the Predators succeed. Most likely I believe it will be some offensive help, but we won’t know unless it happens.
Personally? While Blum is a great guy, I don’t think he’s going to ever fit into the Predators system long-term. Yes, one can argue that he did great in the trailing end of the 2010 season, however since then he’s been an AHLer and has even struggled a bit there as well. Regardless of what the issue is there, I have a feeling a change in scenery may be necessary for the SoCal defenseman.
6: Colin Wilson will be one of the leading point scorers for the Predators
I firmly believe that it’s Wilson’s time to shine. I thought it would have came last year, but I believe his hockey-sense has matured enough for him to really have a breakout half-season during these 48 games.
Having him be successful will also help his possible transition into the center role for the next season, as centers are by-and-large known to be playmakers. If he can prove he’s a playmaker this year, there’s no limit to what he can do after he transitions into the position that he has been used to his entire career.
7: Roman Josi will make the Predators and Predators fans firmly forget about Ryan Suter
Recently in a media scrum, Shea Weber was asked about how the Predators could replace Ryan Suter. He answered quickly with two words: “Roman Josi”. While he may have partially been joking, that’s how much confidence Weber has in the young Swiss defenseman. I think Josi translates into the role quicker than we all believe he will and takes over the reins left by Ryan Suter.
8: Ryan Ellis will lead the Predators in powerplay points from a defenseman
Ryan Ellis will make the team out of the extremely short training camp and he’ll evolve into the powerplay quarterback that he was always touted as being. While Shea Weber’s cannon-blasts from the point have always been something that teams have attempted to focus on to try and prevent him from shooting, teams will soon find out that they’ll have both Weber and Ellis they need to stop. Which leads us to…
9: Nashville’s #1 Powerplay will continue to be #1
Coming off the 2011-2012 season ranked #1 on the powerplay converting at 21.6%, the Nashville Predators will remain the most dangerous team to give a powerplay too in the shortened 2013 season. Nashville was steadily around the 20% mark in each of the months of the previous season, but really found their groove in March going 10-41 (24.4%) before dropping off to a dismal 12% in the post-season.
Whatever was working for the Predators will continue to work this year.
10: Austin Watson will make his Nashville debut this season…
…and he’ll surprise quite a few people in the process. Like Craig Smith’s start last season, Watson will have the same type of start as well if he makes it up to the roster before the end of the season. If so, the Predators may find another talented center to add to their already overflowing pool if centermen.
Now, what to do with them all?
Now, I expect that some of these I will be wrong on. I’d love to be right on all 10, but just like last season, however no one is perfect.
We’ll take a look back midway through the season and after the season ends 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?