The Nashville Predators begin their run at a Stanley Cup on Thursday night as they take on the Minnesota Wild in Bridgestone Arena. They will look to bounce back from a disappointing finish to last season after they got bounced by the Dallas Stars in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Wild come into this season off a bad end to their 2018-19 campaign. They finished last in the Central Division with a 37-36-9 record.
After some offseason moves that I will mention soon, this is how the Predators will line up for tonight’s game against the Wild:
#Preds holding an optional morning skate this morning at 10:30. Projected lineup for tonight:
— Robby Stanley (@RStanleyNHL) October 3, 2019
The Predators made a few splashes this offseason, shaking up the team a little bit.
Preds trade P.K. Subban
The biggest news that happened this offseason for the Predators was their trade with the New Jersey Devils. They traded defenseman P.K. Subban early in the offseason to clear up cap space. While it hurt to lose one of their top defensemen, the Predators picked up two players: Steven Santini and Jeremy Davies. They also picked up two draft picks from the trade, the 34th overall pick in last year’s draft and a second-rounder in 2020.
While it was a tough trade for general manager David Poile to make, the promise that Dante Fabbro showed in his few games with the Predators was a good sign. Not only is Fabbro a lot younger than Subban, but he is also cheaper, sitting at a current salary of $925,000/yr. To put that in perspective, Subban’s current salary is $10 million/yr.
Preds hire Dan Lambert to help awful power play
In probably one of the biggest pickups of the offseason, the Predators hired Dan Lambert as an assistant coach. Lambert has been a great power-play coach in his time as an assistant coach. He was the head coach for the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs last season, where they had the league’s top power play.
This move is huge for the Preds, considering they had the league’s worst power-play last season. They were dead-last in power-play percentage, scoring on just 12.9 percent of their power-plays. They scored a total of 33 goals on 255 power-play opportunities. It only proceeded to get worse in the playoffs, as they failed to convert on the 15 opportunities they had against the Stars.
Their power-play looked fairly better in the Predators preseason games, as they scored four power-play goals in six games.
Preds add Matt Duchene
The Predators had one of the biggest offseason pickups, as they signed Matt Duchene on July 1. Duchene had flirted with the idea of becoming a Predator for the last few seasons but finally ended up in Nashville.
While Duchene has been on three separate teams in the last two seasons, he has still made a big impact on those teams.
He’s been a very consistent scorer in his 10 years in the NHL and is a player the Predators needed. He’s scored 20-pus goals in seven seasons, so they will look to him to be a secondary scoring threat behind players like Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg.
Preds sign Colton Sissons to 7-year deal
Poile, who is a wizard at signing great deals, signed forward Colton Sissons to a seven-year, $20 million deal.
Sissons has been a big role player for the Predators in his five seasons and has been one of the more consistent players for Nashville during the playoffs. Sissons is coming off of his best year in Nashville after posting 30 points, which included 15 goals and 15 assists. While that doesn’t sound like much compared to others around the league, it’s good enough for a career third or fourth line skater.
He posted the fourth-best +/- on the team last year with a +/- of 20. It helps that Poile inked up a guy like Sissons as he’s going through his prime.
Overall, it will be interesting to see how the Predators will look. While they let go of a familiar face and added a new face, the rest of the team has been a key part of the Predators’ success ever since their Stanley Cup Final run. Expect this team to be at the top of the pack in the Central Division alongside the St. Louis Blues, Stars, and the Winnipeg Jets.