On Jan. 14 at 7:00 p.m., the Nashville Predators will drop the puck to officially begin their 2021 NHL season. They will face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena on that night. Of course, the Preds are ready to begin the new season, even though this one will be very different than previous years. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL had to make a number of changes. That, too, applies for the Preds.
As the team prepares for their home opener against the Blue Jackets, some roster moves were made. The Preds have named a handful of players to their taxi squad. In addition, the Preds have 21 players on their roster who are expected to play. It includes 12 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies.
Looking Ahead at the Stanley Cup
For the Preds, the start of a new season means another opportunity to win the Stanley Cup. Sure, it’s early to really think about Lord Stanley, but for the Preds, it certainly isn’t. The Stanley Cup is a trophy the team has been running after for 23 years now. They were quite close to getting their hands on it in 2017. However, their dreams were smashed by the Pittsburgh Penguins, who defeated the Preds in the Stanley Cup Finals, winning the series 2-4.
The 2017 season was the Preds’ “golden year” it appears. It was during this year that the team made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time. After that, the Preds haven’t seen the Stanley Cup Finals again. However, the Preds haven’t lost any hope.
During the 2019-20 season, despite a season put to a halt, the Preds capped off the regular season finishing 35-26-8, 4th in the Central Division. It was enough for them to make it to the Qualifying Round of the playoffs, where they ultimately lost the series 1-3 against the Arizona Coyotes.
What to Look for this Year from the Preds
While the 2021 season will look a lot different, the Preds will be ready to play. They have adjusted their roster accordingly. The team have several key players fans should keep their eyes on, especially the goaltenders. After a rocky start last season, Pekka Rinne was moved from starting netminder to back-up goalie. This gave Juuse Saros the green-light as starter. Goaltending-wise, the Preds have two reliable goalies.
In addition to the goalies, the Preds have a nice set of players on their roster that make up the bulk of the team. They work perfectly together and seem to have plenty of offensive and defensive capabilities that will help them be successful this year. Ryan Ellis, Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi are some of the players to keep an eye on. They have proven their potential to both the team and their fans in past seasons, so it will be likely that these players will put their best foot forward this season. This season’s roster will also look a bit different because the Preds have decided to part ways with many well-known players, including Craig Smith, Austin Watson and Kyle Turris.
Despite this, the Preds have a well-rounded roster and have added many key players that can be beneficial in helping the team this year. Some new additions include Erik Haula and Nick Cousins. The Preds also have head coach John Hynes, who has shown that he is ready to help the Preds have a successful season this year. With this in mind, the Preds may be off to a good start this season.