NHL Power Rankings: Pre-Training Camp Edition

By Matt Barbato
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Apr 17, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber (6) during the first period against the Chicago Blackhawks in game two of the first round of the the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

9. Nashville Predators

Peter Laviolette is the second head coach in Nashville’s history and provided a jolt of speed and high-paced action to the formerly stoic Predators. That change in style sparked the Preds to a 104-point season, the third-best season in franchise history. However, Nashville derailed at the end of the season and lost its grip on the Central Division, eventually falling in the playoff quarterfinals to the future-champion Blackhawks.

James Neal proved to be an important signing for the Preds. He scored 23 goals in his first season with Nashville. Shea Weber and Roman Josi are two of the best defensemen in the West, and Seth Jones is still developing as he enters his third season.

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The Predators have plenty of quality defenders playing in front of franchise cornerstone Pekka Rinne. The goaltender put up another stellar season with a 2.18 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

Nashville should be in the mix for the cutthroat Central Division, but do they have enough scoring capacity to make a deeper run in the postseason? That question will determine how far Nashville can go in Laviolette’s second year at the helm.

Next: Next: No. 8

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