|(Photo by: Post Gazette)|
Since the Nashville Predators are out of the playoffs, many fans, including myself, like to observe the progress of former-Predators to see if they have become better players or not. After one round of hockey complete, there remains two more rounds and the Stanley Cup Finals before the best team of the NHL raises the coveted Cup for their fan base.
Currently there are six ex-Preds battling for the cup from five different teams including the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks.
Rich Peverley – C Boston Bruins
Losing Rich Peverley to the Atlanta Thrashers has to be on the list of the worst moves by the Predators’ organization. Ever since leaving Nashville, Peverley has broken out as a top six forward and hasn’t looked back since.
While in a Preds’ uniform, Peverley played in 73 games during three season posting seven goals, thirteen assists. In 39 games with the Thrashers, Peverley was able to almost double his scoring production.
Peverley now resides in Boston where he won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and attempts to lift the Cup once again. The 30 year old has one goal so far in the playoffs in seven games.
Jordin Tootoo – W Detroit Red Wings
Now one of the most disliked hockey players in Smashville because of his hockey decision to sign in Detroit in this past offseason, Jordin Tootoo still admits he loves the city and appreciates what the Predators did for him.
Without a doubt Tootoo was a fan favorite because every game at Bridgestone Arena there was a guaranteed Tootoo whistle being blown whenever he stepped on the ice. The pesky forward knew how to hit and drop the gloves, but towards the final seasons of his career in Nashville, Tootoo focused on playing hockey and turned out to be quite good at it.
In eight seasons with the Preds, Tootoo posted 46 goals, 79 assists and 725 penalty minutes. During the playoffs was when he was at his best totaling 10 points (3g, 7a) in 39 games.
Tootoo battled the death of his brother and drinking problems, but was still able to battle through those things and continue to play the game he loves.
With the Red Wings, Tootoo was not instrumental in their 4-3 series win over the Anaheim Ducks, but soon could be on the fourth line.
Sheldon Brookbank – D Chicago Blackhawks
Many may not remember this tough defenseman who wasn’t afraid to throw the body around, but Sheldon Brookbank dressed in three games during the 2006-07 season. Brookbank was on recall during that time from the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL, where he spent most of his career in the organization.
The 32 year old has yet to appear in a playoff game for the Blackhawks during their 4-1 series win over the Minnesota Wild.
Scott Hannan – D San Jose Sharks
Scott Hannan rejoined the team that drafted him in 1997, the San Jose Sharks, at the 2013 Trade Deadline after being sent there by the Predators for a draft pick. Hannan wasn’t amounting into anything much under Barry Trotz and injuries pushed him out of the lineup. In Hannan’s 29 games as a Predator, he totaled an assist and a -11.
Under Todd McClellan in San Jose, the 34 year old became much more comfortable and started to succeed in his system. Hannan was a big part in the Sharks’ sweep over the Vancouver Canucks.
Mark Eaton – D Pittsburgh Penguins
Mark Eaton will be remembered as one of the classic Predators on defense. The Delaware native was acquired by Nashville prior to the 2000-01 season and played for them until the 2005-06 season totaling 45 points (15g, 30a) in 286 games. Eaton also played in eleven games for the Predators in the postseason, but was held scoreless in both series.
Eaton was a tall defenseman without much speed. Not too much was expected from him since there wasn’t too much of a precedent sent yet. If Eaton was a defenseman for Nashville now, he would probably not be too well liked because of his lack of skill.
Now as a Pittsburgh Penguin, Eaton is a sixth defenseman and has played in four games in their first round series against the New York Islanders.
Tomas Vokoun – G Pittsburgh Penguins
Tomas Vokoun is known as the savior for the Pittsburgh Penguins to advance to the next round. Entering the series against the Islanders, Vokoun was going to sit on the bench as a backup to Marc-Andre Fleury. However, Fleury had a tough time against the Isles in Game 4, allowing them to score six goals and tie the series at two apiece. It was Vokoun who was given the nod to start Game 5 for the Penguins, who not only recorded the Game 5 win, but also Game 6 as well to clinch the series.
Now head coach Dan Bylsma has a tough decision to make whether to go with the hot hand or his right hand man.
Vokoun was an original Predator who has been with the team since their inaugural year as backup to Mike Dunham. Slowly but surely, the Czech Republican goaltender became the starter to lead the organization to their first ever playoff appearance.
In 383 appearances between the pipes for Nashville, Vokoun had a record of 156-159-11-35 (W-L-OT-T).
However, due to severe blood clots, Vokoun’s time in Nashville quickly ended. Luckily for him, he was able to battle back into the league as a solid goaltender despite coming face to face with a career ending situation.