Although the Nashville Predators made it to the 2017 Stanley Cup finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who eventually won back-to-back championships, the Music City team is already facing an uphill battle.
The Tennessean's Adam Vingan mentioned on the air of Natural Hat Trick Podcast that the Preds look to be lacking offensive power on paper, especially following the departure of James Neal to the Vegas Golden Knights at the expansion draft, and the retirement of captain Mike Fisher.
Another disturbing fact is that the Predators have lost defenseman Ryan Ellis to injury until the start of 2018, which will hurt them. A loss that will now hinder general manager David Poile’s chances of pulling off one of his trademark blockbuster deals to acquire Matt Duchene from Colorado.
“The Predators are in a situation now where it’s going to be hard to do that, because they lost Ryan Ellis to injury,” he explained. “If Ryan Ellis was healthy, perhaps they’d be more willing to entertain the idea. But he’s out through at least January, probably. They just made Mattias Ekholm — who is a player the Avalanche were reportedly interested in — an alternate captain. And they do have defensive prospects — Samuel Girard, Alex Carrier — who are high end prospects, but that doesn’t seem to be what they’re looking for in Colorado.”
The addition of Duchene would have provided great support at center, and would have allowed the Preds to play newly acquired Nick Bonino as a strong No. 3.
But now that the trade is on the ice, the Predators will be relying on Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson to provide the offensive boost and that hors not leave much margin for error for the start of the season.