32 Teams In 32 Days: Nashville Predators
They are always pretty good, but how can they get beyond that?
In today’s 32 Team outlook we examine the Nashville Predators, consistently the most average team in the NHL.
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If nothing else, you have to say this for the Nashville Predators: They are consistent.
In every possible way.
From the continuity of their decision-makers and people in leadership positions, to their performance on the ice, to their adventures in the playoffs. You always know what this team is going to look like and what it is going to do.
Since entering the NHL in 1998-99 the Predators have had exactly one general manager (David Poile) and are only on their third different head coach (Barry Trotz, Peter Laviolette, and now John Hynes). In a league that recycles through GMs and coaches on a regular basis, it is an unprecedented level of continuity in those key spots. Especially when you consider the lack of championship-level success that would typically produce that sort of patience.
They have produced teams that almost always accomplish the exact same thing. They make the postseason as a mid-tier playoff team, and then lose in the first round with the occasional series win thrown in just to keep things exciting.
They are rarely elite. Never terrible. Just always competitive without every truly being a serious, consistent contender.
After the initial expansion team struggles in the first five years of its existence, Nashville has made the playoffs in 15 of the past 18 seasons, but has never really made a dent in the playoffs once it gets there. The Predators advanced beyond the First Round just five times and beyond the second round just one time (a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2016-17) during that stretch.
They have also had just five seasons during that stretch where they finished higher than 10th in the league standings, and only one season where they finished lower than 20th. In the other 12 they finished somewhere in the league’s middle ground between 10th and 19th. Even their one deep playoff run (the 2017 Stanley Cup Final) came in a season where they finished 17th in the league standings that year.
Are they looking at more of the same this season, and why is it never really ever capable of accomplishing more than this?
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