Predators’ Poile optimistic better days lie ahead for top-line forwards. How realistic is that?

By John Glennon

    Credit Predators general manager David Poile for being the eternal optimist.

    In his season-ending meeting with media, Poile noted how much better his team had become over the course of the year, how happy he was the Preds had re-claimed their identity, and how proud he was of the way Nashville battled heavily favored Carolina in the first round of the playoffs.

    All of which is realistic and understandable, as the Predators should feel better heading into this offseason than they did the previous two.

    But as for Poile’s belief – perhaps insistence – that his veteran top-line forwards are still capable of returning the Predators to Cup-contender status? That solution seems more pie-in-the-sky than plausible, more a nostalgic memory than a realistic look ahead.

    It’s no secret the Predators have struggled to score goals in recent years.

    In fact, the team averaged a mere 2.70 goals per game in 2020-21, the second-lowest figure in franchise history – and the lowest since the Preds’ expansion season of 1998-99 (2.69). Defenseman Roman Josi led the Predators with a mere 33 points, which tied for 112th among all scorers in the league.

    Had it . . .

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