The Nashville Predators had an interesting off-season last year, losing Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild, and matching a monster contract to keep restricted free agent Shea Weber in Nashville for 14 years. The Predators had a lot to live up to this season, and ultimately they never came through. The Predators ended the season in the 14th spot in the Western Conference with a record of 16-23-3.
The Predators felt the loss of Suter on the blue line, and being the defensive team that Nashville is, they had a hard time keeping up in the offensive zone. Nashville scored a league low 111 goals this season. Last season, the Predators scored 237 goals, this season dropped dramatically to 190 (if it were a 82 game season).
The Predators were on the outside looking in most of the season. It took Shea Weber what seemed like forever to get his offensive game going, but ended the season leading the team with 19 assists and 28 points. The contract Weber got in the off-season was a total of 14 years for $110 million. Bridgestone Area cost $144 million to build, just to put that into prospective. Weber is the face of this franchise and has the ability to live up to his cap hit of $7.86 million a season, but he needs to be more consistent. Contracts like this bring a lot of baggage along with them.
The Predators have the fourth pick in the draft this year and will have to take a top end forward. The off-season will be important for the Predators this season. If they can reload with a few good signings they could find their way back to the top of their division.