Returning Preds can't ignore big issues that held them back

Party Fowl Online Ads 01 1By John Glennon, guest columnist

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There's an understandable belief among Predators faithful that next season's team should be as good or better than this year's was.

But Predators players shouldn't let themselves believe that – not yet, anyway.PredsBricks

Because one of the few concerns they face is realizing that past achievements don't automatically guarantee future success.

It's one thing for fans to look ahead with optimism, based on the enviable way Predators general manager David Poile has constructed this club. Consider the following highlights:

  • Nineteen players from the 2016-17 Presidents' Trophy team that rang up a franchise-record 117 points are already under contract for next season, including the team's top 13 point producers and its starting goalie.
  • Three more players – goalie Juuse Saros, along with forwards Ryan Hartman and Miikka Salomaki – are merely restricted free agents, meaning the Predators retain their rights and will have them under contract for next season. So the only three players who for sure won't be returning next season are Mike Fisher, Scott Hartnell and Alexei Emelin. Fisher is retiring (for real this time), and neither Hartnell nor Emelin fit into the club's future plans.
  • In addition, a whopping 21 of the Preds' current players are age 30 or younger, meaning most are either in the midst of their prime or just entering into it.

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