Rich's thoughts about the Predators lack of scoring;
Last season, the Nashville Predators were 24th in the National Hockey League in goals-per-game with 2.52. Further, the Predators had the 26th ranked power play efficiency in the NHL with a 15.7% success rate. With those stats the Predators only finished three points out of a playoff spots (the team finished with 88 points, three points back of Anaheim's 91).
The team just missed out on the playoffs thanks to great play from Pekka Rinne and strong seasons from the likes of Ryan Suter and Shea Weber.
Over the off-season not much changed personnel-wise in Nashville, so should we have expected the Predators' poor offensive totals to take effect again this season?
Not to completely dismiss this or anything, but the "probably" answer is kind of weak. Isn't it obvious that we not only will continue our offensive struggles, but we'll do so to an even greater extent than anyone has seen? ...
Read? I don't go to message boards to read. I go to troll and look for women!
In all seriousness, the Predators are in a difficult spot. In trying to maintain a core they spent the money on players like Legwand, Erat, Sullivan, Weber, and Suter. So far, the $10.25 million spent on the first two has looked like a losing gamble. It's also just a couple of million shy of being one-quarter of that self-imposed cap that keeps the salary beneath the midway point in order to maximize revenue sharing and keep the team (read: business) viable long term.
As a fan it's a tough spot to be in. We realize that we need to win in order to grow the fan base and, in turn, give the team more flexibility for salary. We also realize that our ownership is comprised of businessmen who are not in a position to absorb great losses. If they lose $20mil this team could be gone. For the time being I, for one, will have to find a way to be patient for that one gamble to come along. Until then, I'm perfectly happy, though often frustrated, with simply having a team to cheer for, curse at, and talk about for another season that, in 2007, wasn't supposed to even exist.
I'm concerned that the current attempt to get Legwand's line going is to put the pass first, second, and third O'Reilly up there. Who's the goal scorer on that line? Maybe Trotz is thinking "hey, Leggy had his best year with Kariya, and Kariya liked to pass..." I'd feel more optimistic if they had Leggy on the wing. But maybe that's the way it will play out, with Leggy trying to do more of the finishing, while still taking the faceoffs and contributing defensively.
I think Erat may pick up his game on Wilson's line. With Ward. But it's just a hope. It's not as if Trotz has a lot of options and is somehow overlooking a great goal scorer in the system. But I wish Santorelli had stayed up for more games after the Erat, Legwand combo was split. Yes, Erat and Legwand need to get going. SOON. And need to communicate with Trotz. Because those guys making ten million and doing so little just kills our chances.
I do like the fact that against Chicago the emphasis was team defense. Because that's how we were supposed to win this year. We were supposed to be tough to score against. And for a couple games that part was a huge fail. If they can tighten up defensively, we can get going again.
I will try to be more positive. I do plan to go to a lot of games the rest of the way and hopefully season tix next year. I hope there's enough support to keep the team. And so I don't want to bail if we have a tough year.