USATSI 7636512 154511096 lowres


Could a goal scorer help get the Nashville Predators back into the playoff picture?

 

Josh Cooper of The Nashville Tennessean wrote an article on Boxing Day regarding what the Predators needed to do if they had any hope of making the playoffs. He lists three points that they would need to achieve, sweep the Wild in their next three matches, trade for a scorer and have Pekka Rinne return to full health.

 

He understands that healing Rinne is out of the Predators' control so his point is really about making sure they have good goaltending. Pray and hope that he comes back sooner rather than later and that he is in top shape when he does return.

 

As far as sweeping the remaining three games from the Minnesota Wild that does not guarantee that they would make the playoffs. His argument is that Minnesota is the weakest team that currently holds a wild card spot and if the Predators win those six points from the Wild then their fortunes could be reversed. He concedes that Vancouver will most likely retain one of the wild card positions.

 

Discounting the Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets would seem to be unwise and as the game on December 27 proves it was costly to Nashville, losing to Dallas.

 

All four teams, Phoenix, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg have a much better goal differential compared to Nashville, so his last point is that Nashville needs to get a goal scorer before the trade deadline. What do they give up or trade away and for what kind of goal scorer is not detailed. Just that they must obtain a scorer is good enough.

 

The lack of scoring is so severe that only the Buffalo Sabres have scored fewer goals this season and defenseman Shea Weber is their second highest goal scorer with nine goals. Craig Smith has ten.

 

Putting aside what they would have to part with, what good will one scorer do for them?

The following table shows their wins, losses, points, goals for, goals against, goal differential and where they stand in their conference since the 2005-06 season.

 

SeasonGPWLOT/SOPTSGFGADIFStandings
2013-14 38 16 18 4 36 86 113 -27 12th Conf
2012-13 48 16 23 9 41 111 139 -28 14th Conf
2011-12 82 48 26 8 104 237 210 27 4th Conf
2010-11 82 44 27 11 99 219 194 25 5th Conf
2009-10 82 47 29 6 100 225 225 0 7th Conf
2008-09 82 40 34 8 88 213 233 -20 10th Conf
2007-08 82 41 32 9 91 230 229 1 8th Conf
2006-07 82 51 23 8 110 272 212 60 4th Conf
2005-06 82 49 25 8 106 259 227 32 4th Conf

 

The next table shows the goals for and goals against per game as well that this season’s projection, also since the 2005-06 season.

 

SeasonGPGFGADIFGF/GGA/GGFGADIF
2013-14 38 86 113 -27 2.26 2.97 186 244 -58
2012-13 48 111 139 -28 2.31 2.90
2011-12 82 237 210 27 2.89 2.56
2010-11 82 219 194 25 2.67 2.37
2009-10 82 225 225 0 2.74 2.74
2008-09 82 213 233 -20 2.60 2.84
2007-08 82 230 229 1 2.80 2.79
2006-07 82 272 212 60 3.32 2.59
2005-06 82 259 227 32 3.16 2.77

 

The last table shows the goals against, save percentage, the team rank based on goals against average within the league and the main goalies on their roster, also since the 2005-06 season.

 

SeasonGAASPRankGoalies
2013-14 2.78 0.907 ? Rinne, Mazanec, Hutton
2012-13 2.72 0.900 20 Pekka Rinne, Chris Mason
2011-12 2.47 0.919 10 Pekka Rinne, Anders Lindback
2010-11 2.28 0.924 3 Pekka Rinne, Anders Lindback
2009-10 2.66 0.908 14 Pekka Rinne, Dan Ellis
2008-09 2.74 0.905 13 Pekka Rinne, Dan Ellis
2007-08 2.70 0.908 16 Dan Ellis, Chris Mason
2006-07 2.49 0.919 8 Chris Mason, Tomas Vokun
2005-06 2.70 0.916 8 Chris Mason, Tomas Vokun

 

The seasons that are highlighted in orange indicate that Nashville did not make the playoffs that season.

 

What is striking is that they probably need to have a positive goal differential in order to make the playoffs and their current projection has them being in the hole by 58 goals. How will adding one scorer generate, directly and indirectly, those 58 goals? Are they willing to trade away future draft picks and what kind of player do they get in return?

The Dallas Stars went out and got themselves a goal scorer this summer when they acquired Tyler Seguin from the Boston Bruins. It cost them Loui Eriksson, Matt Fraser, Reilly Smith and Joe Morrow. They gave up a lot to get him.

 

Phoenix signed free agent Mike Ribeiro this past summer. The contract was for $22 million over the next four years.

 

Last summer the Predators got Matt Cullen and Viktor Stalberg. Not quite the same is it.

There is one hope and that is Filip Forsberg who is currently on loan to the Swedish National Junior team. They gave up a goal scorer in Martin Erat to get him.

 

Now is the time for patience. Instead of struggling to find a way to squeak into the playoffs they should develop the guys they want for the future. If they still feel they need another goal scorer in the summer then they can go shopping for a free agent because right now there are no Boxing Day deals to be had for them.


Write comment
Comments (1)add comment

Ryanmccor said:

Ryanmccor
... Weber to edmonton for yakupov and their 2014 high first round pick. Makes too much sense for both teams. Nashville would be a contender in a couple years when Jones replaces Weber, and Yak and whoever they pick this year become scoring stars.
December 29, 2013
Votes: +1
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy