Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider is taking the temperature of key players on every NHL team, continuing with the Nashville Predators. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.
Note: Because of the lockout, GVT scores for the 2013 season are prorated from 48 to 82 games.
Summer Skate: Nashville Predators
All the breaks and bounces that went Nashville's way in 2011-12 turned against it in 2013, and the Predators missed the postseason for only the second time in nine seasons. GM David Poile invested heavily in Matt Cullen, Viktor Stalberg, Eric Nystrom and Matt Hendricks for a combined cap hit of $10.85 million per season, which, in theory, should provide a bit more firepower up front after a season in which they were tied for the fewest goals in the league (109 in 48 games).
But it may be on the blue line where they need the most help, beyond what blue-chip prospect Seth Jones can immediately provide. In the end, their fate could lie where it almost always does -- in the glove hand of star goalie Pekka Rinne.
Trending up: F Craig Smith
Last season: 1.9 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 2.6