Nashville Predators 2021-2022 Season Recapby Charlie Parent May 13, 2022 0 comments
The Nashville Predators were the first team eliminated in this year’s NHL playoffs, getting swept by the league’s best Colorado Avalanche in the first round. This result was something almost everyone could’ve predicted and was nearly asserted in Game 1. The Avs scored three goals early on and carried this momentum throughout the series. Now, the Predators look ahead towards a busy offseason as they try to go from wildcard team to top in the division.
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By the Numbers
Power Play: 24.4% (6th)
Penalty Kill: 79.2% (18th)
Goals For: 262 (13th)
Goals Against: 250 (15th)
This one is obvious. Roman Josi, a Norris Trophy nominee (and should be the winner), was the engine and light to this team all season. The Nashville captain tallied 96 points this season, ranking fifth in the league with 73 assists. This production continued, for the most part, in the playoffs. Josi put up six points in four games against Colorado. The good news for the Preds is that Josi is locked up until he’s 38, so he will be a mainstay in Nashville for quite some time.
While almost everyone on this team saw improvement, backup goaltender David Rittich cannot be credited with this superlative. Vezina Trophy nominee Juuse Saros had a career year as the top net-minder in Nashville. However, injuries at the end of the season caused him to miss the entire series against the Avalanche. Saros led the league with 67 games played. As a result, that wear and tear is a significant cause of the injury. If Rittich were able to produce even close to the level of a high-end backup, Saros most likely would’ve been available for the playoffs, changing the entire complexion of that series.
Behind the Bench Analysis
In two full years with the Preds, head coach John Hynes has lost twice in the first round. With that being said, he led a team that was mostly counted out the whole year into postseason play. However, Hynes deserves a few more years to prove himself, but as Nashville’s Stanley Cup window closes, changes could come at a moment’s notice from the top down.
Front Office Analysis
General manager David Poile did not have his best season. At the deadline, the predators were in contention but not regarded as a team that would get into the playoffs. Although they did make it in, Poile did not necessarily buy or sell at the deadline. This move could prove to be costly in the long run. If Poile bought, perhaps the Preds would’ve gotten a higher seeding. If he sold, Nashville would be set up for the future in a much better facet than they are now.
2022 NHL Entry Draft
Having the worst record out of any team in the playoffs, the Preds will hold the 17th pick in this year’s entry draft. This pick has more bearings than one could imagine. With top-name players like Filip Forsberg headed towards free agency, Nashville is in need of forward help and get can some here. Either they go that route, or Forsberg re-signs, and the Preds could go in a different route like nabbing a center.
Nashville has six UFAs hitting the market this offseason, but Forsberg is a must re-sign. Last season, the winger scored a career-high 42 goals, which put him ninth in the league. However, Forsberg is going to command a big contract and will receive high offers from teams around the NHL. But, at the end of the day, not bringing Forsberg back will be detrimental to Nashville’s playoff hopes next season, even with the emergence of players like Matt Duchene.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images