By John Glennon
Clearly still frustrated over his Predators' opening-round playoff loss to underdog Arizona, Nashville general manager David Poile wasted little time Thursday in announcing a need for change moving forward.
His words must have come as a relief to Predators fans who've seen the team's postseason fortunes steadily decline since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2017.
But does that mean we should expect the Predators to completely blow up their roster, transforming themselves into something hardly recognizable over the next few months? Anything's possible, sure. But I'm not sure I'd forecast a monstrous overhaul, in part because several hefty long-term contracts will probably keep much of the Preds' core in place.
Let's take a look, first, at the players who are – barring unexpected trades – all but certain to return.
Starting with the forwards, the top-line trio of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson redeemed themselves to some degree in the playoff loss, once again looking like an elite NHL grouping. Johansen and Forsberg tied for the team lead with five points in a four-game series, while a healthy Arvidsson scored three goals, tied for the team lead with Forsberg.
Was that enough to make us forget Johansen and Arvidsson suffered huge drops in their points-per-game average during the 2019-20 regular season, or that Forsberg remained a streaky goal-scorer? No . . .
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