So far I have touched on the defense (I think we are good), goaltending (bold prediction...I think we are great) and now comes the offense.
I have saved the most difficult for last. Let me say up front that offensively I think we are going to have problems. I am not blaming all this on Radulov's journey back to play for the Russian mafia but we will miss his 26 goals for sure. I am also not blaming this on the growing prospect that we will never see Steve Sullivan in a Preds uniform, or any uniform for that matter, again. We made it through without him last year so I can't blame him.
The fact is that the Preds did nothing to bring in a goal producer. Before you go shooting at me I understand that these type of players don't grow on trees...they are tough to find. I know that but we did nothing. Yes Joel Ward is a great story. The emergence of some of our young prospects (Rich Peverley, Patric Hornqvist, Ryan Jones) is exciting but is it the answer?
Who Needs To Step Up:
- We need him to be solid, strong and to not afraid to park his big body in front of the net.
- If the Preds are going to make the playoffs for the fifth straight year I think that JP will have to have a career year. We will need him to produce like never before!
- It is time for his game to go to the next level. I have been a huge supporter of his and continue to be but it is time for him to show up on the offensive side. 15-20 goals is you don't mind Jordin.
The Young Guns
- Rich Peverley, Patric Hornqvist, and Ryan Jones need to show us why they made the roster out of camp. You need not look further than Chicago last year to see the impact that talented young players can have. The Emergence of two of these guys will give us a huge boost.
As much as I want to say that the Preds will make the playoffs again I just don't think we will see it this year. Too many other teams got stronger while the Preds seemed to have taken a step back. Until we see someone replace Radulov's output and someone else step up we are destined to finish somewhere between 9-11 in the west.
Please let me be wrong...Please