Youth movement needs a leader…

You can’t expect Whole Foods quality from Aldi, it just won’t happen.  Somehow, Nashville has adopted the idea that the solution to last year’s playoff absence is to rely on the young talent that’s been brewing in the AHL.  So, as we’re all looking for answers after Chicago’s 2-0 victory, let’s see how things stack up.

The Good News

Patric Hornqvist has redeemed himself from last year’s disappointing start.  “Horn Dog,” as he’s known in 303, has amassed more points than Legwand, Erat, Sullivan, Smithson, and Ward… combined.  It’s exciting to see that we have a young talent that’s starting to shine in Nashville, and I can only hope this production continues.  Away from the puck, Hornqvist is always crashing the net.  Keeping the goalie on his heels is going to pay off, although it will also cause Hornqvist to become a target as he gets anywhere near the crease.  As excited as I am about Hornqvist, I’m not running to the pro shop to buy a #27 jersey just yet (sorry Jeremy).

Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, and Cody Franson have shown that they are willing to put offensive production on their shoulders, and try their best to carry this team.  Weber/Suter are currently breaking even on plus/minus, and both players currently have six points.  Cody Franson, since his call-up, has shown that he’s NHL-ready with some great play on both sides of the ice.

The Bad News

We’re 3-6-1, including a 1-3 record at home.  Seats are going to remain empty, when you can’t win at home.

Jason Arnott is still out of the lineup.  Say what you will, but we need him in the lineup.

The “Not Even Worth It With a Bag On Her Head” Ugly News

Only one team in the NHL has scored less goals than the Nashville Predators, and that’s the winless Toronto Maple Leafs.  I’m sure Boston’s foaming at the mouth for the #1 draft pick.

The Nashville Predators are 5 points out of the playoffs, only ahead of the Craig Leipold-owned Minnesota Wild.

David Legwand and Martin Erat, where do we begin?  These players have a plus-minus of -8, as well as only 1 point each.  The argument can be made that this duo (along with Santorelli at -5) were part of a ‘shutdown’ line, but it’s hard to justify such an expense on the books when they’re not producing.

Speaking of not producing, how about the dismal play of Kevin Klein and Dan Hamhuis?  Kevin Klein, in ten games of action, currently holds a -8 plus/minus, and the ridicule of everyone in Nashville.  Dan Hamhuis (currently out of the lineup) is boasting a -7 in only six games played.  Nashville is a team that’s always had defensive depth to rely on, the track record of these two players doesn’t hold true to that claim.

Our dismal power play (or as Brandon Felder refers to it, the “man advantage.”)  Nashville is currently 30th (that’s dead last) in the NHL with an 8.3% success rate.  Nashville has had 36 opportunities to put the puck in the net on the man advantage, and only managed to do so three times.  This statistic is consistent with Nashville, and begs the question of when something will be done to change it.

Conclusion

Nashville’s woes are evident, and I’m glad we’ve only seen four games at home during this stretch.  There are building blocks that the team can improve on, but they’re very small.  Leadership needs to step up and get pissed about the performance on the ice (aka, J.P. Dumont’s five-point night in Ottawa), and our depth players have to contribute.  The 09-10 season is still very young, but a repeat of last year’s polar opposites [before and after All-Star break] simply will not be acceptable.

Let’s Go Predators…. I’m serious, let’s GO already.