What’s Next for the Predators?
Although this year’s version of the Nashville Predators had not even had the opportunity to clean out their lockers, Coach Barry Trotz and Captain Jason Arnott were ready to talk about the future of the team.
Coach Barry Trotz discussed the plans for the summer in building next year’s team. He explained, “I think there are some in the organization that can be some help. Some of the young guys, Ryan Jones and Hornqvist, that we had a lot of faith in this year will have to be a little higher contributors. We will also look outside the organization as we have depth in certain areas and other organizations have depth in others”.
When asked specifically about certain players, Trotz explained, “We aren’t to that point yet. Myself, the scouts and David (Poile) will meet and try to figure out some of our shortcomings and strengths and how we build on that”.
Specifically Trotz said, “Our goaltending and defense look like it will be strong for the next little while, and we are trying to get some young forwards to help us. Obviously, Colin Wilson was runner up for the Hobey Baker (best college player award). Down the road, he’s a guy that could probably help us. You saw a Santorelli and an O’Reilley come up and help us this year”.
Trotz was questioned further on the source for new players, “I think you need a little bit of both, inside and outside the organization. If you think all your help is coming from within that’s probably not the case in pro sports. You have to use every aspect from free agency, the draft, trades, all those things will be considered”.
Captain Jason Arnott also discussed what lies ahead for the Predators, “We've got a great nucleus here, having Marty and Leggy hurt here this last little while didn’t help. I still firmly believe we have one of the best young goalies in the league in Peks and that’s what you have to build around. You start with a really top, number one goaltender and work your way out”.
Arnott went further, “The way our defense stepped up this year, the young guys, Webby, Suts and Hammer really stepped up to the next level for us. Hopefully, that will continue next year. Hopefully, David (GM David Poile) can add a few more pieces to the puzzle, but I still think we have a great nucleus and will do some damage. That starts with the goaltending , and you have a definite number one in Peks”.
While reflecting back on a game or two making a difference, Arnott was ready to move forward, “You find yourself pondering, if we’d won that game or another, we might have got in, but you have to move on and be ready for next year”.
To the average fan, the Predators season may have just ended. However, for General Manager David Poile, Coach Barry Trotz and their staff, preparations for the next season began when the last second ticked off the clock in the final game of the season. The work they do over the summer by and large will determine what where the Predators will spend the post-season next April.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnThGlass and the Columbia Daily Herald