When Predators general manager David Poile traded the organization's longest-tenured player -- and leading scorer among its forwards -- at the NHL trade deadline a few weeks ago, he said he wanted the team's forward corps going forward to have a different look. What did he mean by that? "The quick translation is we have to score more goals," said Poile, whose team ranks 24th in the NHL in goals per game at 2.40 but who has one of the higher-scoring defense corps. "It's just been frustrating. The year is probably going to be remembered that (goalie) Pekka Rinne missed three-quarters of season (with a hip infection). If we would have had him, where would we have been? Where would we be in the standings? Where would our goals be? "There's no question we need to score more goals. I like a lot of our forwards. I like a lot of what they do but right now the finish isn't there. That's something that can we change with this present group or do we need to change at least some of the group? Again, as I said at the Legwand trade -- Legwand was our leading scorer -- I'm not putting it on David Legwand, but it's not working. We have to have some changes." For too many forwards whom the Predators were counting on, the finish is hardly there at all. Colin Wilson and Gabriel Bourque have not scored since before the calendar turned to 2014. That's 29 games for Bourque and 28 for Wilson. Matt Cullen, who was signed to be one of the team's top two centers, has one goal in his past 38 games and Viktor Stalberg, signed to be a top two-line wing, has three in his past 23 games. Poile said he plans on giving the team as currently constituted a chance to complete its long-shot quest to make the playoffs. It won't be easy. They must pass four teams and make up seven points in 14 games. The Predators left on Monday for a four-game road trip with stops in Edmonton on Tuesday, Vancouver on Wednesday, Calgary on Friday and Chicago on Sunday that will make or break their playoff hopes. In a matter of games they could be realistically, if not mathematically, out of contention. (Poile did not make the trip, as he continues to recuperate from the injuries to his right eye that he suffered on Feb. 7 when he was hit by an errant puck during a morning skate.) If the Predators consider themselves out of contention, then it sounds as if Poile will begin to call up a pool of prospects who will vie for positions on the team next season during training camp. First and foremost would appear to be center Calle Jarnkrok, acquired in the Legwand deal. Since arriving in Milwaukee, home of the Predators' top minor-league affiliate, Jarnkrok has five goals and two assists in five games. Others include Filip Forsberg, acquired last season in exchange for Martin Erat, as well as Miikka Salomaki and Austin Watson.
Scoring issues still plaguing Preds forwards
Fox Sports Tennessee | Mar 18