I’ve been going back and forth since the Nashville Predators swept over how I should feel about the Colorado Avalanche continuing to dominate during the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
We just watched Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals last night and although back-to-back champions pushed it into overtime, the Avalanche once again proved their elite.
Hey, we also know how it feels to push the Avalanche into overtime in these playoffs. I still haven’t gotten over the disappointment of Game 2 when Connor Ingram did whatever it took to steal that crucial game down the road, making 49 saves.
Be that as it may, one thing is certain; The Avalanche is next in line to become the NHL’s new dynasty. They are set to be dominant and have Western Conference supremacy for the foreseeable future, although there are a few teams that will have a say next season.
spoiler alert; The Nashville Predators aren’t one of those teams, as we’re sitting about a month away from the numbers to be a pretty intriguing free agency.
Has the avalanche changed your optimism about the Nashville Predators?
So how should we, as Nashville Predators fans, feel watching the Avalanche do what they do? Should it make us feel better? Would we feel a lot worse if the avalanche was caught by the Blues or the Oilers?
This could be the case before 2017 when we got a taste of postseason magic and went to the Stanley Cup Finals, then won the Presidents Trophy the following season, and then clinched a Central Division title the following season.
But now, in 2022, who cares what other teams are doing? It’s about the Nashville Predators and what they’re doing to get out of this pit of averages. This pit of despair is actually a better way of putting it.
When general manager David Poile reiterated at last month’s season-ending press conference that the Predators didn’t have enough to take on the Avalanche, it was sobering, but I also appreciated the brutal honesty. He also admitted it’s up to him not to give head coach John Hynes more to work with on the roster.
How can the Preds change the narrative this offseason?
All of this leads me to believe that Poile will be aggressive this offseason, whether by free hand or trades. Either way, with his significant amount of cap rank, he knows he has big bucks to spend this offseason.
Watching the avalanche only confirms how big the gap is between the Predators and the top of the mountain. I’m not sure if that should make anyone feel any better.
In two months we could be singing a much different and more optimistic tune about this rift between the Nashville Predators and the top of the Western Conference, but two things are non-negotiable for that to happen.
First, sign Filip Forsberg. You just can’t lose him this offseason and stay in that “competitive rebuild” state of mind. Second, it takes a bold and risky free agency addition to bolster offense and pace to keep up with so many of these other teams we’ve watched in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Things have changed quickly since the Nashville Predators captured the Presidents Trophy in 2018, narrowly knocking out some of those Avalanche players in the first round of that year.
For example, Nathan MacKinnon was on the Avalanche team in 2018. Likewise, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, JT Compher and head coach Jared Bednar coached the team in its second season.
I expect the Lightning to react in Game 2 and turn it into a streak that lasts at least six games, but it’s still the Avalanche’s trophy to lose. They’re the team to beat, despite Lightning being the reigning champions.
The Nashville Predators cannot be patted on the back just because the team that defeated them is so good. Maybe they would have done better in the first round against the Calgary Flames, but we can’t live in a world of what ifs.
The unfortunate reality is that the team has been smoked and the gap between the Nashville Predators and the top of the Western Conference is as wide as the Pacific Ocean after this year’s playoff show.