Divisional Preview: Nashville Predators

?This week on Homers and Hat Tricks we take a look at the Central Division. We will preview each team this week and make our predictions next week. Let us know what you think in the comments below. 

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Nashville shocked the NHL world when they executed the biggest trade the league had seen in a long time. Despite advancing to the second round of the playoffs, management decided to shake up the roster when they dealt captain Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens for budding superstar P.K. Subban. It was a surprising move at the time but could be the last step the Predators need to make a legitimate run to the Stanley Cup.

Peter Laviolette has brought an offensive system to Nashville that hasn't been seen since the days of Peter Forsberg. Oh and they just so happen to have a Forsberg playing for them, Filip instead of Peter. 

Forsberg is the real deal, too, he lead the team in goals and points last season. There was no sophomore slump for Forsberg as he was able to duplicate his 60 point season. Forsberg is just one of the many talented young players on Nashville and adding Subban to the mix is going to make then exciting to watch. 

Nashville has the potential to score a lot of goals this year with a top 6 of Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Craig Smith, Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher and James Neal. Mike RIbeiro, who was the fifth best point producer last year, centers the third line. If there is going to be a let down it will be that the Preds don't have an NHL caliber fourth line. Last year the players potentially on the fourth line combined for 12 goals and an even rating in about half a season. 

The backend has always been a strength for Nashville and that doesn't change this year. Subban is going to slide right into the slot vacated by Weber and there won't even seem like a a drop off. Roman Josi is continuing to build himself into top tier defensemen, increasing his point total every year since his rookie season. Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis and new addition Matt Carle will make teams weary every shift of the game. 

Pekka Rinne will have to play a majority of games yet again this year with Carter Hutton moving on and a relative unknown moving into the back up spot. Rinne had one of his worst seasons statistcally last year, his goals against and save percentage were his worst since 2009 minus the season he was hurt. He is still a premier goaltender and will be able to win enough games to get the Predators back to the postseason but Nashville will need to start looking for his replacement pretty soon.

If Nashville is to advance to a Conference Final or Stanley Cup, their best players will need to do much better then this past season. Forsberg and Robeiro combined for 6 points and a minus 14 rating in 14 playoff games. Josi and Wilson were bright spots, though, with 22 points in those same 14 games. Gaining that experience against some of the best teams will only increase their ability to succeed in the playoffs the next few years.

Nashville is going to be a scary team this year and they always give teams fits. This could be a banner year in the Country Music Captiol of the World. 

What do you think? Can Nashville compete for a Stanley Cup this year? Will P.K. Subban be able to replace what Shea Weber meant to this team? Tell us in the comments below.