With pre-season only a month away, hockey fans in Nasvhille have much to look forward to. Coming off of the most successful season in franchise history, here are five reasons that everyone should be excited about Predators hockey in the coming months:
5.) It’s been a long offseason – Many of last year’s players have gone on to other teams, and the Predators have made a few low-key offseason acquisitions. Every offseason feels like it lasts forever, but this one was especially painful, with the loss of some of my personal favorites on the team (like Joel Ward). Arguably the best part of the offseason was the revelation of a new logo and new color scheme for the team; that alone is mildly depressing. Just getting the offseason over with and getting the players back out on the ice is exciting enough for me.
4.) First taste of playoff success – After several unfortunate first-round exits, the Predators finally won a playoff series. Although Nashville was eliminated by the Vancouver Canucks in round two, last season was the most successful season that Nashville has ever seen. Despite losing several key components to last years team, Nashville brings back some of their best players who are all improving, and the Preds will look to build on last year's success and make another deep run in the playoffs this season.
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3.) Nashville has a core of exciting young players – Last year Preds fans were treated to seeing some exceptionally talented young players make the most of their shot with the team. With players like Blake Geoffrion and Jonathon Blum getting more opportunities this season, and many other very good players playing for the Admirals who could be called up at any time, it will be great to see how these young players progress and improve with the team over the season.
2.) Shea Weber is still a Predator – Shea Weber got a record $7.5 in arbitration in the offseason and remains a Predator for at least one more year. Weber also stated during the arbitration that he wanted to stay in Nashville for the long haul in his career. Hopefully the Predators can pull off negotiations next offseason and lock him up in long-term deal. With Weber back, the Predators at least managed to retain their best defenseman (and possibly the best in the league, at that).
1.) Pekka Rinne – After having a career year, it’s going to be exciting to see Pekka Rinne prove once again that he is among the elite NHL goalies. He will be up for free agency at the end of the year, so not only will he be playing for the title of best goal tender, but he will also be playing for a fresh, new contract (hopefully with Nashville).
Obviously, there are many other reasons to be excited about this team next season, but this is just my personal list of the five things I am looking forward to the most in this upcoming season. Also, now that I have finished the daunting combination of summer classes and being a lazy musician, I should have much more time to devout to Fang Faction, and hope to have some more articles to put up in the coming weeks. GO PREDS!