The Nashville Predators are now set and ready to go for the start of the 2012-13 regular season. Friday after training camp, the Predators released goaltender Zoltan Hetenyi of his PTO (Professional Tryout) and sent Chris Mueller down to the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL. Their first opponent will be the Columbus Blue Jackets, Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville will have thirteen forwards and eight defensemen on the roster for opening night.
The following is a part of the press release sent out by the Nashville Predators.
Forwards (13): Martin Erat, David Legwand, Mike Fisher, Nick Spaling, Craig Smith, Richard Clune, Brandon Yip, Brian McGrattan, Matt Halischuk, Patric Hornqvist, Paul Gaustad, Colin Wilson and Sergei Kostitsyn.
Defensemen (8): Victor Bartley, Ryan Ellis, Shea Weber, Jonathon Blum, Kevin Klein, Scott Hannan, Roman Josi and Hal Gill.
Goaltenders (2): Chris Mason and Pekka Rinne.
Barry Trotz elects to go with eight defenseman to start the season. In the first few games, most likely all of them will see ice time. It will be a good test to see how each and every one of them play together in the NHL.
Victor Bartley, Ryan Ellis and Jonathon Blum have been a huge opportunity to step up at the highest level in hockey. For Bartley, he will need to be able to step into the fold and not give Trotz the option for him to be sent back to Milwaukee. In Ellis' case, he is expected to be the "next big defenseman"–behind Roman Josi. Ellis has been successful at every level in his hockey career, and will need to follow that same success early. And for Blum, this is his opportunity to bounce back from a horrible season last year, and follow it with a replica of two years ago when he was a solid third line, powerplay defenseman.
It will be interesting to see how Trotz will handle Richard Clune and Brian McGratton, both enforcers. It was surprising the Predators even made the option of getting Clune, but only if was to replace the now Detroit Red Wing Jordin Tootoo.
News broke out earlier this week that Mike Fisher will continue to center Martin Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn. It was an excellent line last season and should continue. That leaves David Legwand centering Patric Hornqvist and Craig Smith or Colin Wilson. The lines will be included in the preview for the opening came against the Blue Jackets.