Will 2011-2012 Predators Offense have more bite?
Last season while a good year for the Predators, really showed what the team lacked and needed going forward to really be a serious cup contender. Many say that the Predators are just one top six forward away from that goal, and many fans hoped this offseason Poile would go out and grab one for the team. Unfortunately he has not done that yet, but has said that if the opportunity arises he will pull the trigger, but until than the team has what it has.
Last year the team ranked 21st in the NHL in goals per game and 22nd in total goals for the regular season. In the playoffs they had sufficient scoring against the Ducks, a team lacking defence and a goalie at the time, but showed their anaemic offense against Vancouver.
This coming season the offense will look mostly the same, except without Sullivan, Goc and Ward (I don’t really count Dumont) as they all left to free agency. Poile recently said that he believes that our forwards are young and have tons of potential to grow and really produce in the NHL. While that may be true, hoping on potential doesn’t always work but regardless let’s take a look at some possible line combos:
When looking at these lines, it doesn’t exactly scream goals now does it? I see three hard working lines that will play standard Predators hockey that should win us some 2-1 games with the odd streak of goals.
While the likes of: Wilson, SK, Hornqvist, Bergfors and O’Reilly all have potential to score and put up points I am a little mixed when it comes to how I feel about all the youth. To me it seems like Poile is taking quite the gamble and I truly hopes that it pans out in his favour. While the team has always drafted well, Poile has never done a youth movement like this as he believes in veteran presence on the team, but I guess he now feel confident in this group of young players.
To me, when I look at forwards I see two types of players, ones that make players around them better and can really control the offense. Than there are the players that the Predators have, ones that are good support offensive players that have talent and can play with good players but cant lead the charge themselves. It’s the problem of having 2 or 3 second lines and not one top line, the team has to hope one of the secondary lines steps-up and fills the role of a top line, and sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t but that’s the risk you take.
As fans we can only step back and watch to see if Poile’s plan works and players step-up or if we stay in the same boat as last year and hope our defence and goalie bail us out again.
Greg Duley (@G_Duley)