Mar 12, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber (6) skates in the Dallas Stars zone during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Predators shut out the Stars 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Conference Call Wednesday- Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators

Record- 16-23-9 (Last Place Central Division)

Goals Forced-111

Goals Allowed-139

Home-11-9-4

Away-5-14-5

Goals-David Legwand-12

Assists-Shea Weber-19

+/- Mike Fisher, Gabriel Bourque +6

Nashville 2013 Draft Class (wiki.com)

2013 1 4 Seth Jones  United States D
2013 3 64 Jonathan-Ismael Diaby  Canada D
2013 4 95 Felix Girard  Canada C
2013 4 99 Juuse Saros  Finland G
2013 5 125 Saku Maenalanen  Finland RW
2013 5 140 Teemu Kivihalme  United States D
2013 6 155 Emil Pettersson  Sweden C
2013 6 171 Tommy Veilleux  Canada LW
2013 7 185 Wade Murphy  Canada RW
2013 7 203 Janne Juvonen  Finland G

Summary- The Predators are built on the Barry Trotz system which is extremely boring to watch, but it has been very succesful for most seasons.  2013 was not one of those seasons which started with the offseason loss of Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild.  The Predators could not muster offense especially on the road and no matter how great Pekka Rinne played if the Preds got behind it was a serious struggle to come back.  The Trotz system is built on playing defense with either a tie game or the lead, but the system struggles from behind.

The good news on the horizon is that Seth Jones slipped to the #4 spot and the Predators were able to select the top rated defenseman to fill in the spot vacated by Suter.  Another move in  the offseason for the Predators was signing Viktor Stalberg which was a very curious signing with Stalberg struggling with responsibilities while playing for the Blackhawks so how in the world is he going to fit in with the system like Predators.

If you ask a Predators fan they are a playoff team, but most people think they will be at least a year away from getting back to the playoffs unless Rinne stands on his head for an 82 game season which with their lack of offense still could come up short.  Luckily the Division has gotten weaker which could work to the Predators advantage in the end.

We caught up with Patrick Helper the editor of the Nashville Predators Fansided site Predlines.com and he answered some questions for our Conference Call Wednesday so here’s how the Q & A went with Patrick.

Bu-1. Will the Predators have more success in the new Central Division, with weaker teams in Dallas and Colorado?

PL-The new Central does move the odds in Nashville’s favor. Dallas will play the”Ruff” system, a system I have been watching for 15 years. The Predators should match up well vs. Dallas. As for Colorado, I think the addition of the Avs may be a wash. The two teams may go back and forth. I think The Predators playoffs hope may lie in winning the series vs. Dallas and Colorado.

BU-2. What needs to happen for Pekka Rinne to put his name in the conversation as an elite goaltender once again?

PL-If you ask me Rinne is 1 good year away from being an elite goaltender. His career regular season numbers are GAA 2.36 and his SV% is .920. All he needs to do is get a little below his career stats and  I think his name will start to be in the elite group. He may get some run if he has a good Olympic outing

BU-3. Who needs to step up after losing players such as Martin Erat and Brandon Yip in the last few seasons?

PL-Erat is the lose I think will hurt the Predators most, He had 21 points in 36 games last year. I could see Gabriel Bourque, or Colin Wilson making up the difference. As for filling Yip’s void, I don’t see this lose as a big deal. For his career Yip only has 56 points. One name that keeps coming up in my mind is Mike Fisher. It would be a great thing to see him up his game. I’m looking for a 60+ point year from Mike Fisher.

BU-4. How big of an impact well Viktor Stalberg have on jump starting the Predators offense?

PL-Stalberg may be a wild card. His addition should yield around 30 points, and give a much needed breakout option.

BU-5. Will the Predators have trouble keeping up with Stalberg’s speed to use him effectively?

PL-I don’t see the speed of Stalberg being an issue. The Predators have their camp to learn his style of play, and adapt to his speed.
BU-6. Was erat’s departure the cause for the offensive collapse last year? If not what was?
PL-A collapse like last years does not fall on one player. While Erat leaving hurt the club I don’t think the Predators can pin missing the playoffs on  Erat. I think one reason was the play of Rinne. He just fell short.
BU-7. What is the expectations for Carter Hutton in the predators organization?
PL-Carter Hutton = safety valve. I think bringing– Hutton into the organization is more about having a young talent to push Rinne. Hutton seems to have game, but unless he gets 15- 20 games this coming season we wont know how much NHL game he has. If things stay the way they are the Predators just improved at the back up goalie spot.
BU-8. Is it possible the Seth Jones expectations will be too high?
PL-There is always going to be very high expectations with some one like Jones. He “fell” to 4th. That increases pressure right there. However if he plays with Weber it would be the best thing for him. It will be up to the Predators brass to set the expectation level for the team and fan base. I worry more about year 2. Hopefully Jones doesn’t pull a Myers
BU-9. Do you ever wish Barry Trotz would play offensive hockey or have you learned to love the system?
PL-I would love to see more north south play, but the bottom line is winning. While a 2-1 game is a bit dull to watch fans will always respond to a win. I think as the team matures and our new younger guys get going we may see things open up a little.
BU-10. Are the playoffs possible this year, what is realistic expectations?
PL-Yes, the playoffs are possible. Like we went over in the 1st question a lot is going to ride on beating Dallas and Colorado. Predlines.com just did a daily poll on that very question. It seems fans think we can make it but it will come down to the wire.
What do you expect from the Predators in 2013-2014? Thanks again to Patrick Helper for answering our questions and when looking for Predator updates checkout Predlines.com
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