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Predators year end review

After a fairly successfull season which saw the team finish 8th overall in the league and 2nd in the central, barely three points away from the perennial division champions, the St.Louis Blues, the Nashville Predators bowed down in the 1st round of the playoffs, being outmatched by 6th overall Calgary Flames. While the season was an improvement over the previous year, the end result was the same during the playoffs.

This year saw much action for the Nashville Predators, as they have welcomed many new faces yet lost a couple veterans. The team's pricey acquisition, Chris Stewart, had a good season leading the team with 89 points in 82 games and he kept producing during the playoffs with 6 points in 6 games. Waiver claimed Dwayne Roloson also did well down the stretch but lost a bit of steam during the playoffs. Other notable contributions came from Andrew Ladd with 42 points in 80 games and Jason Arnott scoring 39 points in 34 games during his short tenure with the Predators. The biggest disappointment was Brian Rolston's 9 goals during the season, combined with a -14. Rolston also had disappointing playoffs where he was -4 with only 2 points. The veteran was acquired to provide playoff leadership but it didn't pay off.

Looking forward to next year, there will be a lot of movement during the summer. Many short term acquisitions to help the team make the playoffs are set to be unrestricted free agents. The team will likely offer a new contract to Dwayne Roloson with Rask's setback this season. Pavel Kubina, a defensive stalwart for the team this year, will likely test the free agent market. Jason Arnott is also set to leave as the veteran was a rental from the mid season. Mike Grier, who had a good start to the year, will not be retained after his awful playoff performance, being on the ice for 11 of the 17 five on five goals scored by the Flames despite restricted ice time.

The team is likely to give more ice time to its younger players as Chris Stewart is set for a healthy salary raise. Jussi Jokinen, Derick Brassard and Nick Spaling will probably center the first three lines, with Andrew Ladd, Lauri Korpikoski and Matt Cullen on their left wing and with Chris Stewart, Brian Rolston and Rostislav Olesz on the right wing. On defense, Nicklas Lidstrom will be back on the top pairing along with Mark Giordano. John Carlson will likely play on the second pairing with Milan Jurcina and the third pairing will be formed by Tom Poti and Jeff Woywitka. The netminders should be Dwayne Roloson and Tuukka Rask.