The numbers say the Nashville Predators are a good puck-possession team.
In fact, according to 5-on-5 Corsi, the Preds are right up there with teams like the Kings, Stars, and Blackhawks.
So then why are the Predators just 20-18-8 ? If their Corsi is so great, how have they fallen out of a playoff spot?
Well, first off, nobody ever promised that these new “advanced stats” could tell the whole story. They can’t. Ask the Carolina Hurricanes. Or, more recently, the Montreal Canadiens.
Goaltending is one area that can sink a good possession team, and we all know Pekka Rinne hasn’t been at his best this season.
But captain Shea Weber has another theory. This one has to do with the Predators’ struggling offense.
“I think we’re too perimeter,” Weber told The Tennessean. “We shoot everything from the outside. First thing is traffic and then we’ve got to get inside the slot into good areas to shoot. It’s not good enough to get 40 shots from outside. … We’ve got to find ways to beat their players, make plays into the middle of the ice and get good quality scoring chances.”
Nashville has scored on just 7.9 percent of its shots this year, so perhaps Weber is onto something. Only five teams have converted at a lower rate than that. The Washington Capitals lead the league in shooting percentage, at 10.8.
Another theory is that the Preds just aren’t blessed with enough pure goal-scoring ability. James Neal leads the team with 16 goals. To put that in perspective, 26 NHLers have more goals than that, led by Patrick Kane, who has 30.
And that’s the theory that GM David Poile may believe, given his openness to acquire some scoring help via trade.
“We have to get more production, more consistency, so that would be the first place I would look,” Poile told ESPN.com. “But I’m just open to ideas and anything that might come along. You know how hard it is to make a trade, but for whatever reason it seems to open up more at the trade deadline.”
The Preds kick off a four-game road trip tomorrow in Winnipeg.