The Nashville Predators will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and only the second time in the last nine years.
As a result, longtime Preds coach Barry Trotz knows changes will be coming.
“Obviously (general manager) David (Poile) has a gameplan,” said Trotz, per The Tennessean. “It’s probably inappropriate for me to comment on it, but I know we’re going to have to have a very busy summer and make sure we fill holes. I know he has a gameplan for that. When he wants to divulge that gameplan, we’ll unleash him on you I guess.”
There’s no question losing defenseman Ryan Suter to free agency hurt the Preds. Suter is a Norris Trophy candidate in Minnesota.
But one key player’s absence doesn’t fully explain how Nashville has fallen to last in goals per game (2.23) and 18th in goals against (2.66).
“Losing [Suter] is obviously going to affect the team, I don’t think it’s the reason we didn’t make the playoffs,” captain Shea Weber said, per ESPN.com. “He’s obviously a very good player and he’s done well this year. But I think there’s obviously a lot of other reasons you can attribute to why we’re sitting on the outside looking in.”
Injuries is one reason. The Preds have had their fair share.
Pekka Rinne’s numbers have fallen as well. In 2011-12, he finished with a save percentage of .923. This year, it’s .914 — still pretty good, but not great.
But as in the past, the Preds’ biggest issue is simple: there isn’t enough talent on the roster. David Legwand is tied for the team lead in scoring…with 23 points in 44 games.
How Poile addresses that issue, we’ll have to wait and see. It won’t be easy given the club’s budget constraints.
But Preds fans know all about that by now.