The Predators are facing their worst start of the season since the NEFHL was born. After 8 games, the team has won only once for a measly 2 points that leaves them last in the league standings.
With such a bad season start, it likely means the end of a 10 year playoffs making streak. Nashville would have to play for around .580 to get to the 86 points mark. Even then, since 2010, that total hasn’t been enough to clinch a spot in three different years.
Since the beginning of the year, the Predators have both had problems putting the puck in the net and getting quality goaltending. On defense, the team has been above average, being 13th in shots against per game. However, both goaltenders have a SV% of .890, meaning the other teams have a shooting percentage of 11% against them. In contrast, the Predators have a shooting percentage of only 6% which is pretty bad. To top it off, the PP is 0% since the start of the year.
Part of the reason that explains the bad start may be injuries to key players. The effect has been holes in the top 6 and between the pipes plus a fatigued roster through the first eight games.
At the same time, the Predators management had warned even pre-season that the current situation wasn’t totally unexpected where they said this was a transition year. It was also already alluded that Nashville might be sellers even before the first puck drop.
However, it seems that the management has prepared for this potential start. The team holds currently many picks for the upcoming draft and its prospects are currently playing well in the junior leagues.
For the upcoming draft, the Predators hold the first round pick of the teams that are currently the three worst in the standings. While this will unlikely hold until the end of the season, Nashville’s odds to have at least one good pick in the next draft are high. Their six 2nd round picks and four 3rd round picks should help them get tremendous value in the next draft as well.
Many Predators prospects are also having great starts in their respective junior leagues. In the WHL, Matt Phillips and Ty Lewis are the current scoring champions with 26 points each in 11 games. While he was passed over at the last NHL draft, Ty Lewis earned a contract with the NHL Avs at the start of the month. On defense, David Quenneville has the top PPG with 14 points in 7 games and sits in second place in scoring. In the OHL, Nick Suzuki is the current scoring leader (tied with two other prospects) with 18 points in 9 games.