November 24, 2015

steve laidlaw

2015-11-24

What to make of the Predators' scoring woes, Stastny returns, buying Gostisbehere and more.

Goodness gracious are we back in the Barry Trotz era in Nashville? Shutout three times in a row the Predators have now achieved lows on offense never before seen for this franchise. Last night must have been particularly torturous for the Predators and their fans as they really chucked some rubber at Henrik Lundqvist but were turned aside on all efforts. All told, they outshot the Rangers 31-19 but lost 3-0.

The silver lining is that this opens up an opportunity to buy low mainly on Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro who both have just 11 points in 20 games who are both too offensively talented to be kept quiet.

There is an alarming trend taking place however. While the Predators as a whole are continuing to shoot a large number of shots (31.1 per game versus 31.9 last season) a majority of their stars have seen a decline in their shot rate. All of Ribeiro, Forsberg, Mike Fisher, Shea Weber, Craig Smith and Colin Wilson have fallen below last season’s pace.

James Neal, Roman Josi and Seth Jones are among those who have improved their shot rate from last season so it is no surprise that these three are the only ones not slumping.

Fisher, in particular, has gone invisible and not for lack of opportunity. He is skating over 19 minutes per game – more than he averaged last season – alongside Forsberg and Neal, as well as on the top power-play unit. He is barely averaging a shot per game and you have to wonder if there is not an injury nagging him. Fisher is something of a Band-Aid Boy after all.

The Predators have not even been bailed out by