There are four Big Questions the Nashville Predators will need to answer in 2020-21.
We are marching on with our 2020-21 NHL Season Previews and today we take a long, deep look at the Nashville Predators.
The Predators are what you could and should call an enigma in that they are absolutely loaded, but have punched well below their weight for a few seasons now, failing to really recover properly since their loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.
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That is despite the best efforts of General Manager David Poile, who has made aggressive move after aggressive move after aggressive move in order to extend the Predators’ win-now window as much as possible.
As such, Nashville will enter the year with a chance to compete and win yet again but, time is running out for this core and things could get blown up if progress isn’t made.
So, without further ado, let’s delve into the 4 Big Questions facing the Nashville Predators in the 2020-21 NHL Season…
4. What impact will John Hynes have on this team?
Peter Laviolette took the bullet for many of his big guns failing to deliver and live up to their potential in 2019-20, with former New Jersey Devils Head Coach John Hynes getting the gig in Smashville.
While there were subtle signs of improvement under Hynes both down the stretch prior to the stoppage and inside The Bubble, it was a small sample size and we won’t really be privy to what the Nashville Predators will look like under John Hynes until the puck drops on the 2020-21 season.
We are of course getting close to finding out the answer to that question, and it will be fascinating to see just what this talent-laden team looks like in the image of their newish Head Coach.
Because that’s the rub here. While they flamed out in the 2019-20 Stanley Cup Playoffs after losing to a weaker team in the Arizona Coyotes in the Best-of-Five Play-In Round, this Predators roster is still awash with star power and elite game-changers.
The top-six forward group alone is one of the best in the entire NHL, at least on paper, 2019-20 Norris Trophy winner Roman Josi is an absolute horse on the backend and Juuse Saros looks like he could be the future No.1 goalie for this franchise.
However, Hynes will have to work out how to squeeze every ounce of talent from a core that has failed to live up to their potential, outside of Josi, while making the Predators tougher and less predictable to play against.
He will also have to solve special teams with the Preds ranked 29th on the penalty kill (76.1) last year, while they also struggled on the power play which was the 25th best in the league (17.3).
So, there is a lot of work to be done by John Hynes who likes to play a quick and smooth transition game, and we will see throughout the 2020-21 season if he has what it takes to turn things around in Smashville and lead the Nashville Predators to the promised land finally.