The Nashville Predators finished with the fourth-worst record in the NHL in 2012-13, but general manager David Poile is confident there are better times ahead.
That is if coach Barry Trotz can find a way to motivate his team to put the puck in the net. The Predators have long been a group that has thrived on scoring by committee, but they failed miserably last season when they connected for two or fewer goals in 27 of 48 games and had a 3-17-7 mark in those contests en route to finishing 14th in the Western Conference.
Naturally, one of several big questions surrounding the team entering 2013-14 is the state of the offense; no player had more than 12 goals and three finished in double digits.
"We have world-class players here like [captain] Shea Weber and [goalie] Pekka Rinne, who are both in the prime of their careers, and the goal is to capitalize and build around them in order to win with them," Poile said. "It's my job to identify the right pieces to complement them and give us the best chance to compete for the Stanley Cup. That remains our goal, and returning to the playoffs is step one."
Here are six questions the Predators face heading into the 2013-14 season: