By Tyler Ruby on June 28, 2014
The Nashville Predators had a disappointing season, and that is mainly due to their lack of offensive ability. The leading scorer on the team was Shea Weber with 56 points. That's not a good sign, especially in their division, which features the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks. But Nashville's calling card has always been its defense. With that in mind, here are the five players Nashville should build around.
Roman Josi may not be the most well-known defenseman on the team, but he was the fourth-leading scorer for the Predators last year with 40 points. He's 24 years old, and he has one of the best defenseman in the world to learn from in Shea Weber. He should be a solid defensive option long-term for Nashville.
Another 24-year-old, Craig Smith took major strides into becoming a top-flight centerman in the NHL last season. He finished with 24 goals and 28 assists, and he was one of the Predators' top scoring options. He has certainly played well enough to move up onto the top line, and Nashville can't afford to stunt his progression as it must surround him with talented wingers.
The Nashville Predators got a much-needed scoring option as they traded for Pittsburgh's James Neal on Friday. Despite his on-ice antics, the guy can just flat out score, and that is what the Predators need more than anything. Neal is only a couple of years removed from a 40-goal campaign, and he is a deadly shooter in the league on the power play.
Seth Jones had a difficult rookie year, but he is only 19 years old, and he still has an unbelievable amount of talent. The great thing for the Predators is that they don't have to rely on him immediately, but they must add pieces around him to help make him better.
Year in and year out, Shea Weber is one of the top defenseman in the league. He possesses a 100 mph slap shot, a physical presence and a steadying force on the back line. A couple years ago, the Philadelphia Flyers almost lured him away from Nashville, but now that the Predators re-signed him, they need to keep him. And the only way to do that is to surround him with talent in order to compete.
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