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.
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.
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.
|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.