The Predators and their fans were definitely disapointed that the late season run came up just short this year, leaving the Predators out of the Playoffs for the first time since 2004. The late season injury bug resulted in the Preds losing their entire 2nd line and 6 of their top 12 forwards. That is hard to overcome to say the least, expecially for a team that lacked scoring to begin with.
Some of the bright spots of this season include the emergence of Shea Weber as a force. He should be a Norris Trophy candidate for years to come. His partner on defense Ryan Suter also had an underappreciated season and the duo forms one of the top pairings in the league. Steve Sullivan made his comeback after a nearly 2 year absence with serious back issues. He was their best offensive player down the stretch. Pekka Rinne carried the team with superb goaltending all season taking the number 1 job away from Dan Ellis. JP Dumont led the team in points with 65 despite having a miserable stretch during the middle of the year. David Legwand had a very solid second half and Joel Ward was a pleasant surprise as a low cost free agent add at the beginning of the season.
Future Looks Bright
Shea Weber continued his superb play by being named the Top Defenseman in the recently completed World Championships. Alex Radulov (Preds Property) scored the game winning goal against Canada in the final. There is some thought that Radulov may come back to fulfill the last year of his entry level contract with the Preds. Colin Wilson, the 2008 First Round pick, signed a 3 year deal and figures to be with the big club next year after a stellar carrier at Boston University culminating in a NCAA Championship.
Patric Hornqvist, Cal O'Reilly, Cody Franson, Ryan Jones and Mike Santorelli look to be possible additions next year after strong seasons with the Milwaukee Admirals and time with the big club. Defenseman Jonathan Blum, who has been officially signed to Milwaukee will be at training camp this year. All Blum did last year with the WHL's Vancouver Giants was score 15 goals with 50 assists in 51 games with a mindboggling plus 53 rating.
With Carolina having success again as a small market it gives the Nashville fans hope that the Predators can again build a stong cup contender. Only time will tell but the farm is strong and the future does look bright.
Preds forwards Vern Fiddler, Scott Nichol and Steve Sullivan, along with radio man Tom Callahan participated in the Celebrities Strike up a Cure event Thursday night to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The Predators continue to be heavily involved in community activities all around the Nashville area.
The Preds annual “Open House” is tomorrow from 2-5 at the Sommet Center. Colin Wilson will be on hand to sign autographs. Tours of the Locker Rooms, Photo Ops, giveaways, and free Ice Cream are all part of the event. You can also look to upgrade or move your season tickets or game packages.
I will be back with Predators news as it happens. See ya at the rink!
About the Author
Written by Victor Minicozzi