From the outside looking in, it is easy to assume the ownership group, Predators Holdings LLC, feels confident in what our team looked like last year. Only two new players will be on the roster this season. Dan Hamhuis and Zac Rinaldo are those two new players for the 2018-19 season.
Zac Rinaldo the “One New Face”, was drafted in the 6th round by the Philidephia Flyers in 2008. Rinaldo may be a new name for the Nashville faithful, but he is well known by Predators head coach Peter Laviolette. Laviolette was the head coach of the Flyers in 2011 when Rinaldo made his NHL debut. In six seasons in the NHL he has accounted for 14 goals, 20 assists and 34 points in 328 games played. Even though he does not have outstanding numbers he is known for standing up for his teammates and plays tougher when he needs to.
Dan Hamhuis the “One Coming Home”, was drafted 12th overall in 2001 by the Nashville Predators to play defense. He would go on to make his NHL debut during the 2003 season. Dan would spend six seasons in Nashville before going to Vancouver in 2010. During his time in Nashville, Hamhuis recorded 32 goals, 129 assists and played in 483 games. Dan spent his last two season is Dallas where he played in 159 games scoring 4 goals with 36 assists. The Predators signed Dan Hamhuis to a 2-year deal worth $2.5 million during the offseason.
Team chemistry will be the driving force for success this season. After suffering a blowout loss to the Winnipeg Jets in front of their home crowd, there were questions about the future of the team and who would leave or stay. Knowing that the owners and coaches trusted the players we have to bring a championship to Nashville in 2019. The trust instilled in the players should be a sign to expect big things to happen in Nashville.
Just think about it, a new system isn’t needed to be taught to a bunch of new players. The Team already knows the tendencies and skating patterns by their current teammates. The players on the team minus the two new faces, were all a part of that loss at home and know how it felt when the horn went off. The experience of that alone will help provide spark to do better, and will be expected by the team.
The Predators will be without Ryan Hartman due to an injury last season. He had to have shoulder surgery and is eyeing a return next week. The Predators will also play 24 games without Austin Watson who was suspended because of a domestic violence charge during the offseason.
After reviewing their record and schedule for last season and the upcoming schedule for this season, I predict that the Predators will finish 60-13-9. That’s only seven wins better, I know, but by saying that, I don’t expect us to have a decline in wins. Look at our home and away record last year, on the road where it is tougher to win we went 25-9-7. At home we were 28-9-4.
Two main reasons I believe we do about the same in record and win the Central division again is because we have almost our whole team back. Including Viktor Arvidsson who scored 29 goals, P.K. Subban who accounted for 43 assists, Filip Forsberg who had 64 points ( goals + assists). And most importantly Pekka Rinne who won the Vezina Trophy for being the best goalie in the NHL last season. Rinne only allowed 2.2 goals a game last season in 59 games played, winning 42 of those or 71% of the games.
By: Kyle Gamble / @kyleg6116