The Nashville Predators have really earned the “wild card” moniker lately, even beyond holding the West’s first wild card spot.
Such a label could describe their up-and-down 2016-17 in general, and it might only intensify over the next few weeks.
Trade deadline players?
Nashville boasts Filip Forsberg, a guy with rare back-to-back hat tricks, not to mention other quality scorers such as James Neal, Ryan Johansen and diamond in the rough Viktor Arvidsson. (Their defensemen can produce points in buckets, too.)
But perhaps they can go from sporadically good to regular contender with that extra boost?
That schedule, though
Honestly, the way their schedule looks, the Predators might need a shot in the arm.
Check out what they’re dealing with during the next few weeks:
Saturday: vs. Capitals
Sunday: vs. Oilers
Tuesday, Feb. 28: at Sabres
Thursday, March 2: at Canadiens
Saturday, March 4: vs. Blackhawks
Tuesday, March 7: at Ducks
Thursday, March 9: at Kings
Saturday, March 11: at Sharks
Monday, March 13: vs. Jets
Thursday, March 16: at Capitals
Saturday, March 18: at Hurricanes
That’s a rough mixture of tough opponents and road games, with even games against non-playoff teams being less than layups (the Hurricanes can beat you when they’re on point, for instance).
The Predators are in the first wild card spot. They’re also not far behind for the third seed in the Central, as the Blues hold a tiebreaker advantage over Nashville right now with both teams at 67 standings points.
That schedule could be an issue, however, for a team that’s been vulnerable to hitting highs and lows.
On the other hand, we’ve also seen hints of the dominant squad many penciled in as a possible contender in 2016-17. In a weakened West, the Predators remain a fascinating team to watch. That could be especially true in the near future.