10 Games Predators Should Look Forward to in 2016-17

The 2016-17 Nashville Predators schedule was released last month, and the team is going to have to come out firing. All eight of Nashville’s games in October will be against playoff teams. One could make a top-five list based on of that first month alone.

The Predators get a reprieve in November, with four straight games against non-playoff clubs before taking on the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 10. That month is a little easier, and it provides a chance to balance a possibly bad start.

Nashville has 13 back-to-back sets this season due to the compressed schedule thanks to the World Cup of Hockey forcing the season to start a week later than normal.

This list was all ready to go earlier, but then some sort of trade happened between Nashville and Montreal involving a pair of defensemen.

RELATED: P.K. Subban Traded to Nashville for Shea Weber

Oct. 15 vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Time: 8 p.m. ET

The skinny: It’s the season-opener and it’s against the team’s biggest rival. The NHL is trying to get rivalry games as season-openers to get people excited. Chicago won last season’s matchups, 3-2. The Blackhawks may look different because they had to trim some payroll to get under the $73 million salary cap. The two teams play at the United Center the next night in the first back-to-back set of the young season.

Oct. 26 at Anaheim Ducks

Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

The skinny: It’s a rematch of the first-round series where the Predators upset the Pacific Division champions in a hard-fought seven-game series. Nashville’s playoff victory has caused many changes for Anaheim already, as the Ducks fired coach Bruce Boudreau after another first-round failure.

The Ducks will be chomping at the bit to get revenge on the team that ended what could have been a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This game will also be the front end of another back-to-back stretch.

Nov. 8 vs. Ottawa Senators

Time: 8 p.m. ET

The skinny: It’ll be a gathering of Norris Trophy-caliber defensemen as Erik Karlsson comes calling. Predators defender Roman Josi has drawn a comparison to his Swedish counterpart with moves like this.

YouTube player

RELATED: The Roman Josi/Erik Karlsson Comparison Continues

Nov. 15 at Toronto Maple Leafs

Time: 7:30 p.m.

The skinny: The Predators get to take the measure of top-pick Auston Matthews at the Air Canada Centre. There could be some added drama if former pick Jimmy Vesey signs with the Leafs. Vesey’s dad is a scout for the team and it’s a realistic possibility that he could end up there.

Dec. 22 vs. Los Angeles Kings

Time: 8 p.m. ET

The skinny: It’s the last game before the Christmas break and Nashville would like to go into it with some momentum. The Kings are pretty tough and boast the defending Norris Trophy winner in Drew Doughty.

Jan. 3 vs. Montreal Canadiens

Time: 8 p.m. ET

The skinny: The first game of the 2017 calendar year will be an emotional one as former captain Shea Weber returns home to the Bridgestone Arena for the first time since the deal that sent him to Montreal for P.K. Subban. The only question is how loud and how long of an ovation will he get.

Subban returns to the Bell Centre on March 2 and that reaction might be more of a mixed one.

Jan. 31 at Pittsburgh Penguins

Time: 7 p.m. ET

The skinny: It’s always a game to watch when you go up against the Stanley Cup champions. The teams are still linked to each other after the James Neal and Patric Hornqvist trade. It’s way too early to speculate, but dare Nashville fans dream of a final matchup vs. Pittsburgh?

http://gty.im/499797198

Feb. 12 vs. Dallas Stars

Time: 6 p.m. ET

The skinny: This is turning into a burgeoning rivalry that has an edge to it. Dallas still has that flashy, offensive style, while Nashville has one of the best defenses in the league. The Stars made a big splash last offseason and may not be done, as they try to make over their defense.

March 25 vs. San Jose Sharks

Time: 8 p.m. ET

The skinny: Speaking of revenge games. The Predators saw their season end in Game 7 at the hands of the Western Conference champions. Nashville (and especially Shea Weber) would love to wash the bad taste of the game away. This will be the only time this season that the Predators will host the Sharks this season.

April 8 at Winnipeg Jets

Time: 7 p.m. ET

The skinny: It’s the last game of the regular season against a division rival. Will Nashville be playing for a division title or one of the automatic playoff spots from the Central Division? Will Winnipeg be fighting for a playoff spot with young star Patrick Laine?

The Early Verdict on the Nashville Predators Schedule

The toughest month is October, so Predators fans should not panic too much if they get off to a bad start. However, this team is perfectly capable of being one of the best in the conference.

The number of back-to-backs will be telling, as Peter Laviolette will have to trust whoever his backup is to take some of the load off of Pekka Rinne. These two game sets were a major problem for the Predators last season, and will continue to be a fixture this year.