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Does any team have a bigger buzz around it than the Nashville Predators?In less than a year, the Predators have been involved in two of the biggest blockbusters in recent history, acquiring center Ryan Johansen and defenseman P.K. Subban and continuing the transformation of a once defense-first hockey club into an exciting, puck-possession, offensive outfit.The end result? The Preds enter the season as a popular pick to go a long way.Theres no question that the expectations are maybe higher than theyve ever been before, said veteran Predators GM David Poile. I have to take that as a good thing. I realize we havent won a game yet, we have to play them, and all those clichés I can give you. But the fact is, a lot of people think we have a good club and I believe our players think that, I know our coaches do, and well do our best to fulfill our expectations.Last seasons first-round win against the Anaheim Ducks signaled the Predators ascension. Theyll need veteran goalie Pekka Rinne to bounce back this season and theyll need goals from players other than Filip Forsberg and James Neal.But with the NHLs best blue-line corps led by Roman Josi, the skys the limit for this team.Best new facesSubban brings his razzle-dazzle game to the Music City in what seems like a perfect fit, not just in the sense of a market embracing his ebullient personality, but certainly on the ice where head coach Peter Laviolette espouses an aggressive, offensive-minded game. Subban should feel he has more freedom here than he did in Montreal.Joining a blue-line that already has Josi -- is there a Norris Trophy in his near future? -- as well as Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Yannick Weber and Matt Carle underlines this teams No. 1 strength: puck-possessing, puck-moving D.Carle might prove to be a sneaky signing at just one year for $700,000. Bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 30, and freed of the burden of that big contract he signed, a third-pairing role with low expectations should bode well for the veteran Carle on this team. Plus, hes reunited with Laviolette, under whom he played some of his best hockey with the Philadelphia Flyers earlier in his career.Biggest unknownsWho else will score goals other than Forsberg (33 goals last season) and Neal (31 goals)?How about Colin Wilson, who had just six goals and 18 assists in 64 regular-season games last season but then put up five goals and eight assists in 14 playoff games? Everyone loves a player who steps up come playoff time, which Wilson also did the previous spring with five playoff goals in six games, but the Predators would love Wilson, 26, to also show that kind of production in the regular season. It would go a long way to alleviate the teams scoring concerns up front.Absolutely. That is a question, said Poile. Weve kind of labeled him Playoff Wilson. Well, we need him to be not only Playoff Wilson but also Regular-Season Wilson. Theres no question he can do it because weve seen it on occasion the last two playoffs. This year, hes a year older, more mature, wiser, our expectations are very high for him to have a good regular season in addition to a good playoffs. Just by him scoring at the rate that he should be, that could be a huge difference for us.Another unknown is Rinne, who turns 34 in early November. After years of saving this teams bacon, the aging goalie must now prove hes still capable of a prime-time performance. His save percentage dipped from .923 in 2014-15 to .908 last season. Rinne needs to be good for the Predators to be a true Cup contender.And finally, what about the loss of longtime captain Shea Weber, traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Subban? His presence in the dressing room leaves a crater on the leadership front, no matter what anybody says. Talk to other players on Team Canada during the World Cup, not to mention head coach Mike Babcock, and the respect and admiration for Weber as a leader is through the roof.Veteran center Mike Fisher was named captain, an excellent choice; hes as respected as any player in that room. But it remains a question mark entering this season how the team will fill Webers overall leadership skills.Sure thingsThe blue-line corps, as mentioned, for my money is the best in the NHL. Its going to carry this team to many a win this season.Up front, Forsberg continues to improve as an elite goal scorer, and hes only 22. He put up 26 goals in his first full NHL season two years ago and followed that up with 33 last season. No reason he cant get to 37-40 goals this season if he stays healthy.PredictionIm banking on Rinne bouncing back and the offense up front getting better. I just love the way this team plays and how that blue-line corps is constructed. 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Vaulted into the Western Bulldogs captaincy, softly spoken defender Easton Wood will be a picture of calm as the side prepare for Saturdays AFL grand final.Thats the aim, at least, for one of the few Bulldogs who have previously experienced going deep into a finals campaign.I think my role, and for any players whove been there before, the whole thing is as much as you can, (keep it) business as usual and show that youre still enjoying things, Wood told AAP.Just be as genuine and normal as you can be, and be that steadying and calming influence.After debuting in 2009, Wood had his first taste of finals footy the following year at age 21 after midfielder Shaun Higgins was ruled out with a thyroid problem.The Bulldogs won their semi-final against Sydney but went down to St Kilda the following week and didnt make it back to the finals for another five years.My first two finals, I was so young, Wood said.Ive actually got a very poor memory of both the games I played then. It really seems like a blur.I think one of the first things I noticed back then as a young player was how difficult it wwas to hear on the ground.dddddddddddd Obviously, thats something Im pretty used to now ... therell be 100,000 screaming fans and itll just be one of those things you embrace.After an injury-plagued start to his career, 27-year-old Wood has found continuity in recent years and stepped up his role as a backline general in the absence of injured captain Bob Murphy.Wood was sensational in the Bulldogs preliminary final win over Greater Wester Sydney, gathering intercept marks and lighting up Spotless Stadium with a massive hanger over the Giants Rhys Palmer.But he reckons it was no different to the pressure acts performed by each of his teammates at different times in the season.You take your moments and execute what youre here to do, Wood said.Our strength has been what our 22 players have been able to contribute each week. 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