The Boston Globe has a nice look at how Nashville became so successful this season (login info.).
The short answer is good goaltending and wise free agent signings.
The long answer is a little bit of luck. The league is littered with teams that signed a free agent star (like the Predators did with Paul Kariya) and got burned.
The league is also littered with goalie injuries. Luckily, Predator goalie Tomas Vokoun’s groin has been holding up. But I don’t see a lot of goalie depth in Nashville. Chris Mason, his backup, has five career wins.
Not that GM David Poile doesn’t deserve a lot of credit, though.
I just wanted to point out that no one ever credits luck for a team’s success.
It’s not fair to luck.
Nashville gets no respect, though. HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA ran a little poll asking which NHL team made the best free agent signing this season and Kariya and the Preds didn’t even make the list.
But if you ask me, the Predators smartest move was getting Steve Sullivan from Chicago last season and hanging onto him this season. Sullivan has been on an amazing run since he came to Nashville, and he doesn’t show any signs of cooling off.