Monday, November 7, 2011

Number Four In Our Five Part Series on Daydreaming

I deeply apologize for the delay in the NHL pick-o-rama.  Other matters have needed tending.  I promise to get the fifth and final option up very soon.  I know we KC hockey fans are all very patient people, so I hope to have your understanding.

Now, onto the fourth franchise Kansas Citians can most identify with, and thus cheer for: the Nash...dahhhhh raspberries!

Wonderful surprises await after the jump.
Umm...they look like a good group...and junk

Village West Best Potential Award:  Player that brings the most to the team

Pekka Rinne.  Period.  This guy is nuts.  He is like their Zack Greinke (if anyone remembers what having a #1 starter was like). Without him, the Predators are not a force in the playoffs, and they may not even be worth talking about in the Central Division.  He was a Vezina Trophy finalist in 2010-11, and is only 28.  Looking at the longevity of goalies in the league nowadays (e.g. Khabibulin, Tim Thomas, etc.) he presumably has many good to great years to come.  Without hyperbole or equivocation, he is the most exciting and important player for the Nashville Predators.  And he will be with the organization for many years to come.  $7MM per year is a bargain for this guy.

Union Station Biggest Burden Award: Player with least upside and carries a big financial burden

Look, I know Nashville loves him or whatever, but David Legwand.  It’s disappointing to think that he is consistently one of the team’s top scorers year in and year out while only scoring about forty points per season over the past four years.  Yes, he’s a great leader and has a decent physical presence for an offensive guy, but at a $4.5MM cap hit per year through 2014, the Predators must eventually wonder if he is holding anyone back.  No, their farm isn’t terribly deep (more on this later), but that seems like a pretty penny for a veteran leader when you already have large contract veterans like Martin Erat, Shea Weber, and Ryan Suter on the team.

If you don’t like that choice, then Mike Fisher, because why not.

Eric Hosmer/ 2004 2008 2012 Royals Hope Award: Reason for Optimism

The defensive core and goaltending.  The only problem is locking up solid D-men Shea Weber AND Ryan Suter long term.  Other than Weber and Suter, the lineup is full of decent stay-at-home defensemen.  Last season, the Preds were fifteenth in the league in shots against per game (they were twenty-fourth in shots for per game).  They were also eighth in goal differential at +19, and fifth on the PK.

Rinne and backup Anders Lindback were third collectively with 2.32 goals per game.

Those are very real numbers, folks.

Katie Horner Scared-Sh!tless Award:  Reason to Worry

They are not deep.  As in, prospects.  This past draft they took a goalie with their first selection (coming in the second round).  So, I guess they got much deeper there.  One beacon of hope is nineteen-year-old 2010 first round pick Austin Watson, currently playing for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL.  Watson has a scoring touch in juniors, but really has not had much of a chance with the big league club.  Sure, Blake Geoffrion and Zack Stortini can make their presences felt now, but they need to get a group of forwards in to the mix if they want to move forward. 

Some young defenders like Jonathon Blum and Roman Josi are getting a chance now.  And highly touted former first rounder Ryan Ellis is surprisingly at the AHL affiliate in Milwaukee, but he is only one man!

Buck O’Neil Positive Attitude Award:  Reason to cheer them

Mark Funkhouser Memorial Trophy:  Reason to Hate Them

Haha Remember this guy?!  Boots Del Biaggio, the man with an interest in owning a NHL franchise in KC, who then bought a piece of the Predators franchise a few years back, and everybody flipped and thought he was working on the inside to bring the Preds to KC.  Annnd then he was tried on fraud charges and is now serving a 97-month prison term.  I don’t think Kansas Citians should necessarily hate the Predators for Del Biaggio getting hopes up about the Predators moving to KC.  No, we could certainly hate them for this instead:

Worlds of Fun Ride that Best Describes the Franchise: Viking Voyager

You free-fall in a "log" raft about 40 feet down a flume.  Sounds like a blast, right?  It's the first thing I want to ride when going to WOF.  But, is it ever really that fun?  Sadly, no.  Such is the Nashville Predators franchise.  You see a lot of Lost in Conference Quarterfinals when looking at the team season by season.  That's great they go to the playoffs often, but it must be tough to get too excited for a team that always loses in said playoffs.
Also, the Preds are always randomly brought up in relocation talks, so that cannot feel too good.  Don't get me wrong, it's not like anyone is talking about tearing down the Viking Voyager.  It's just that not even enough water splashes on you to justify riding it in the summer time.  It sucks to walk allll the way around the park in the middle of July just to get to the Monsoon or something.

Also, because they have Scandinavian players.  Elephant in the room acknowledged.

Rinne: En pelkää mitään!
Laasko: paitsi Canucks...
Lindback: Hej, vad som sägs?

There's a little Swedish-Finnish humor for you.  Laugh it up, that's as good as it gets.
Number of Floating, Disembodied Jack Harry Heads:

Three out of five

Nashville is not a natural hockey town, much like Kansas City, so it's hard to say that Jack would care much about them.  The Nashville media seems to marginally respect them, but that may be a result of them being the only other game in town along with the Titans.  The national media certainly does not pay much attention, given the fact their playoff series with the Anaheim Ducks last season was not picked up by NBC Sports.  Heaven forbid the national media ignore a team near the middle of the country!  I have never heard of such a thing...
Also, what did I just say above about going to the playoffs and losing?  What local franchise does that on a pretty regular basis?  It starts with a C and ends in a DERP.

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