The Nashville Predators Are Unstoppable Going Into Playoffs (4/11/2024)

The Nashville Predators are hot, hot, hot! Since Feb. 17th, the Nashville Predators have a 17-4-3 record and also broke their previous franchise record for consecutive games with a point  (14). The Preds stretched their point streak to 16 games on March 28th but fell to the Arizona Coyotes 8-4 on March 29th, which ended their marvelous run.

With the offense scoring four or more goals in 13 of the team’s last 23 games and the defense locking it down in front of goaltender Juuse Saros, the Predators are ready to jump at the throats of their first-round opponent.

New Dynamic Duo For Predators

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Not only has forward Filip Forsberg broken his career high in goals with 43, but he has also tied the Predators franchise record for most goals in a season previously owned by Matt Duchene in 2022. The Swedish star is on a tear as of late, potting 18 of his 43 goals since Feb. 17th and scoring at least one goal in seven straight games from March 16th to March 28th. 

Gustav Nyquist signed a two-year, $6.37 million contract over the summer with the Preds, and he’s made every dollar count. Career highs in assists (49) and points (71) from Nyquist have improved the forward core drastically from the Preds, as the offense has been their Achilles heel for a couple of years. 

Transition to Trotz

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The Nashville Predators had big news last February as David Poile, the Predators’ first and only GM at the time, announced that he was going to retire as general manager and hand his duties over to Barry Trotz, who had been Nashville’s head coach from 1998-2014. 

Trotz’s coaching resume speaks for itself. 1,812 games (3rd all-time), 914 wins (3rd all-time), 83 playoff wins (12th all-time), two Jack Adams awards for Coach of the Year, and one Stanley Cup with the 2018 Capitals highlight Trotz’s career behind the bench.

In between jobs during the 2022-2023 season, Trotz reached out to Poile regarding the GM position.

According to APNEWS, Poile said, “Around, I’d say, Christmastime, he kind of said I’m not gonna coach anymore, and he said could I talk to you about being a candidate for the GM position,” Poile said. “And from that time it went pretty fast with he and I talking and ownership getting involved, and probably by mid-January we probably had that done.”

The Trotz Effect

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As soon as he planted himself in the general manager’s chair, Trotz went to work to retool his Predators. Inking veteran forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Gustav Nyquist were the first signings for Trotz, and they have not disappointed. Both have career offensive years, and they are a big reason for Nashville’s recent success.

As far as first-year GMs go, Trotz has done an excellent job of keeping the core players together as well as bringing in new players who are perfect fits for Nashville’s style of play. 

After missing the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons, Trotz had a tough ask in retooling the Preds to be a playoff-caliber team yet again. But like a genie granting a wish, Trotz has brought the Preds from potential rebuilders to playoff contenders.

About the author: Trevor Poetzinger is a senior at Western Michigan University studying journalism in hopes of becoming a sports journalist. Poetzinger is a big Chicago sports fan, with the Blackhawks and White Sox as his favorites. Poetzinger also loves talking about anything hockey and baseball-related, whether it’s the pros, semi-pros, or college. 

 

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