Quick Hit: Nashville cannot score

Posted by Richard Pollock in Nashville Predators,Quick Hit on October 16, 2009 — 4 Comments

Last season, the Nashville Predators were 24th in the National Hockey League in goals-per-game with 2.52.  Further, the Predators had the 26th ranked power play efficiency in the NHL with a 15.7% success rate.  With those stats the Predators only finished three points out of a playoff spots (the team finished with 88 points, three points back of Anaheim’s 91). 

The team just missed out on the playoffs thanks to great play from Pekka Rinne and strong seasons from the likes of Ryan Suter and Shea Weber.

Over the off-season not much changed personnel-wise in Nashville, so should we have expected the Predators’ poor offensive totals to take effect again this season?

The simple answer is: Probably.

After six games this season, the Predators sit 30th in the NHL in goals-per-game with 1.17.  As for the power play, the Predators sit last in power play percentage with an awful 5% success rate.  Admittedly it is still early in the season, but it has to be troubling to Predators fans and Predators bloggers like On the Forecheck and Preds On The Glass that the same trends appear to be continuing.

I know this team passed on the opportunity to acquire Phil Kessel, and I think that was probably a good decision.  However, at some point doesn’t this team have to mortgage at least some of its future to take a stab at doing something other than trying to sneak into eighth spot?

Is that the Predators’ biggest problem? Or is the team’s biggest problem the lack of productivity from the highly paid David Legwand ($5.0 million this season) or Martin Erat ($5.25 million this season) who have combined for one point in twelve games?

David Legwand better pick it up in Nashville. (Picture courtesy of tsn.ca)

David Legwand better pick it up in Nashville. (Picture courtesy of tsn.ca)

I’d lean more towards the latter because in today’s cap age (or the necessary budget restrictions put on the Predators), if your big money players aren’t producing at their expected rates, you’ll never have a chance to make a long playoff run.

The future looks bright for Nashville with Colin Wilson and Jonathan Blum en route to the big leagues, unfortunately fans in the City of Nashville may start getting sick of the future and may want some answers right now.

  • http://predsontheglass.com Buddy Oakes

    It has to get better simply based on the law of averages on shot%. Preds are so low that it has to improve. Hamhuis and Klein have killed us on D.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com Richard

    Totally agree and think it will improve, but I guess I’m wondering if it will improve enough? I just don’t think it is likely without a move or two.

  • http://www.ontheforecheck.com Dirk Hoag

    I’m with Buddy that we’re seeing right now is a short-term blip (combined with the loss of J.P. Dumont for the early games), but I do agree that the team has a tremendous amount of salary invested in Legwand and Erat, which is not likely to pay off in goal scoring.

    Just because you increase a guy’s pay and tell him he’s a leader, that doesn’t make him a more productive player. Heading into the season both David Poile and Barry Trotz called for Legwand and Erat to step up and have career years. Unless they get a proven scoring winger, however, that’s just a wish. Both of them are old enough now that we know what we’re working with; good NHL’ers, sure, but not offensive dynamos.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com Richard

    Dirk,

    Totally agree. The Preds are asking players with a solid track record of offense to step up above their proven means. For over 10 million combined Legwand and Erat have to perform to at least their usual levels for the team to have a chance at the playoffs.

    Are either of you in favor of a trade of pending uFa Dan Hamhuis for some offense?