The Nashville Predators entered this season with not only expectations to make the playoffs, but hopes to rebound from last year’s surprising first round exit to the Dallas Stars.
But as it stands right now, the Preds would be doing well just to make the playoffs.
Entering the bye week with only 51 points and a 22-18-7 record, the Nashville Predators find themselves in 6th place in the Central Division and six points back of the final Wild Card spot. Not only that, they now find themselves competing with teams like Chicago and Minnesota for positioning, two teams that have turned their once hopeless seasons into ones with playoff hopes.
Even though the Preds do have “games in hand” on every team in front of them in the standings (they have 4 games on Arizona and Vegas, who occupy both Wild Card spots as of this writing), their current odds to make the playoffs have been at their lowest of the season throughout the month of January.
According to Sports Club Stats, the Preds currently have a 48.7% chance of making the playoffs. Even in the most likely scenario, the Preds would only get in via one of the Wild Card spots, with Sports Club Stats putting that likelihood at 35%.
The chances of the Preds finishing in the top three of the Central are only 13.7% and the chances that they repeat as Central Division champs are less than 1%.
At current pace, these Preds are doomed
The real problem here is not just the playoff odds. It’s that the current play of the team is not going to be good enough to carry them to the postseason.
In their last 10 games, the Preds are 4-5-1, getting only 9 points of 20 possible. That gives them a 45% points percentage over ten games. At that pace, with 35 games left, the Preds would only gain around 31 points the rest of the year, finishing with somewhere around 82 points.
Most projections show that it will take 90 points minimum to lock up a Wild Card spot in the West, with a more reasonable number being around 94 points. Last season, the Colorado Avalanche finished in the 2nd Wild Card spot with 90 points, but the year before that they needed 95 points to finish in the same position.
Either way, 82 points, which the Preds are currently on pace to finish with, won’t cut it.
Can the Nashville Predators get hot at the right time and launch themselves into the post-season down the stretch? Sure, anything is possible. But with continually under-performing goaltenders, an inconsistent offense, and injuries on defense to make things worse, it certainly doesn’t seem very likely.
— Featured image via Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports —