What’s Next for the Nashville Predators

Ryan O'Reilly readies himself to take the ice for the Nashville Predators.
Photo: John Russell / NHL.com

The 2023-2024 Nashville Predators season was a wild one to experience. A slow start and less-than-average mid-season was pointing towards another long summer for the boys in gold. However, a late season 18-game point streak, career seasons for multiple players in the lineup, and star goaltender, Juuse Saros, returning to form helped the Preds secure the WC1 slot in this year’s playoff hunt. 

The Predators went over a month without losing in regulation, dominating the post-All Star break stretch to secure the WC1 slot in this year’s hunt for Lord Stanley. From February 10 to April 15, Nashville went 21-3-7. They outshot their opponents 1147-988, for an average of 37 shots per game, and outscored their opponents 116-88 for an average of 3.74 goals per game. The Preds were on fire, winning key games against Winnipeg, Vegas, and Colorado when they needed to, and going well over a month without losing a game in regulation.

From their high-scoring form in the last 31 games of the season, the Preds couldn’t find those offensive opportunities they needed come playoffs. A lot of their game down the stretch was throwing anything and everything at the goaltender, and getting lucky about 10% of the time, but Vancouver limited their shots significantly. The Preds only got 150 shots on net in the series, scoring just 12 goals. And while Nashville was able to limit the Canucks to 121 shots, they were able to get in 13 goals. The Preds were strong opponents against the Canucks, both playing heavyweight, highly defensive hockey, but couldn’t find the puck luck they needed and lacked the depth in the lineup to play a full 60 minutes of hockey.

So, where do the Preds go from here? They have six players headed into this summer as unrestricted free agents and newcomer Jaret Anderson-Dolan as a restricted free agent. Last season, new general manager, Barry Trotz, made moves to trim an aging Nashville team, hoping for a quick retool. Their AHL affiliates, the Milwaukee Admirals, are blooming with young talent that are looking to take that next step, and are gaining much-needed experience as they continue their pursuit towards the Calder Cup. Do the Preds look to move on from the players with expiring contracts, like late-season acquisitions Jason Zucker and Anthony Beauvillier, or players that are starting to bloom, like Kevin Lankenin and Alexandre Carrier? How many more seasons do stars Roman Josi, Ryan O’Reilly, and Filip Forsberg have in their tank?

It all comes down to what Trotz thinks is best for the future. This team connected this season when they needed to, but can they recreate that FU2-run spark?  Are players like Spencer Stasney, Marc Del Gaizo, & Philip Tomasino ready for the big leagues? Can bringing in a big-impact player like Sam Reinhart, Jake Guentzel, or even Steven Stamkos bring new life, leadership, and hopefully better puck luck to raise Nashville back into the playoff hunt in 2025?

This is a team that has many different paths available and could be a very interesting July 1st to follow.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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