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Predators on Reddit’s 30 Teams in 30 Days

Hello everyone – following up on the NHL's 30 teams in 30 days post, I would like to contribute the work I did for the social media forum Reddit.com/r/hockey. They had their own 30 teams in 30 days and I was humbled when the Predators subreddit nominated me to do their write up. The link is here, but I did make a few changes based on user suggestions. 

This is a prelude to the division preview I will be doing over the next two months. I thought I would put this work up to cross analyze it to the NHL 30 and 30 and to serve as the prequel to the upcoming team previews. 


Thank you! And hit me up on Reddit if you ever pass by. Username: KakunaUsedHarden

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Division B (Central)

Notable Players – History's Greatest Predators

Being such a young franchise, most of the Predator’s legends are on the current NHL roster and will be discussed later. Some have moved to other teams and fewer have retired. Nonetheless, here are some of the best to pass through Music City

Name

Position

Number

Years with Team

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

Summary/Trivia

Martin Erat

RW

10

2001-2013

687

159

301

460

Erat, at 191st, was one of many late round Predators selections that worked for the team. Playing with the Franchise for 12 years, the winger held the rookie record for points in a season(33) in his 2001 debut. A frequent top liner, some fans were disappointed in his decision to leave the Preds due to the team’s performance – until they saw the return. Before his departure, Erat’s name frequently came up in discussions of first number to be retired by the franchise. Although not the most impressive shot, his speed and ability to find space make him an effective winger Marty Party

Kimmo Timonen

D

44

1998-2007

573

79

222

301

Drafted by LA at 250th, Timonen started his NHL Career with the Predators and was briefly team captain as the top pair defensemen. He is given much credit for the development of Shea Weber and some other D man named Rye or something. Timonen was traded as an UFA, along with Scott Hartnell, to the Flyers in exchange for Nashville’s first round pick in the Forsberg deal

Peter Forsberg

C

23

2006-2007

17

2

13

15

Some say Forsberg played his best hockey with Nashville … Indubitably the biggest deadline deal in Predators history, Nashville, in true Poile fashion, acquired the old, injured Forsberg from Philadelphia for Ryan Parent, Scottie Upshall, a first and a third. Forsberg was supposed to be the final push of over-the-hill talent that would get the first playoff series win for the franchise. Alongside the rustic talent of JP Dumont, Paul Kariya and Jason Arnott – as well as the lost soldier Alexander Radulov, Nashville fell in 5 games to the San Jose Sharks – and continued their winless-on-the-road playoff streak. Forsberg did however pave the way for many ironic observations at this deadline’s acquiring of Filip Forsberg. GWG vs Red Wings

Wade Belak

RW

3

2008-2011

92

0

4

4

RIP Wade. You’ll forever be remembered.

Added: Tomas Vokoun, G, #29, 1998 – 2007, GP 383, SO 26. Tomas Vokoun technically backed up Mike Dunham for 4 seasons before becoming the number one goalie for the Preds. He played for the Predators during their playoff berth and actually made a legitimate contendor out of the team vs Detroit. Vokoun is a legend in the Predators organization. He helped develop the defense first system, he was a pillar in the strong goaltending foundation for the Predators and he was, and still is, a fan favorite. I know many Preds fans, myself included, who started routing for Pittsburgh once Vokoun replaced Fleury. 

Honourable mentions, many of whom should be included over Forsberg, but weren’t due to my perception of humor: Mike Dunham (first Franchise Goalie, all-American), JP Dumont (who is still in the organization), Jerred Smithson, Greg Johnson.

Team History

Uncertain Beginnings The Nashville Predators joined the NHL in 1998 and were almost immediately embraced with rumors of relocation. It didn’t help that the (formerly) Gaylord Entertainment center was built in hopes of drawing a basketball team and resorted to hockey as a plan B. Seriously, there were talks of moving to Houston Texas in the Summer of 1998. In the first year of operations, Leipold had the lowest team salary in the league, at $15 million; a trend that ownership has maintained until very recently.

More relocation rumors sprang in 2007, with one time Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie (moar liek Baldsilly amirite?) tried to purchase the team. Unfortunately he revealed his hand too soon, showing that his end game was relocation to Hamilton. Combined with the fact Balsillie and other interested buyer Del Biaggio the Third (seriously there are three of this guy and I still don’t know who he is) started selling season tickets in Hamilton and Kansas City respectively while the team was still owned by Leipold had Gary Bettman shitting literal bricks. Shortly after, a group of Nashville businessmen emerged and were able to drive ticket sales enough to anchor the team in Nashville. Thomas Cigarran is the current chairman of this group.

Management In 1998 David Poile was selected to be the man upstairs, Mitch Korn the goalie coach and Barry Trotz the Head Coach. All three are still with the organization. Trotz broke the record for most games coached by an expansion team coach in 2003!! (Wish I could capitalize numbers for emphasis).

Trotz has emphasised a defense first system from day one, doing the most he can with his grab bag of in-house developed youngsters and aged veterans. The Predators are known for luring the opposition into a lull of boredom and capitalizing on their mental lapses. They will collapse hard on defense, usually dropping back to a 4-1 as soon as they lose the puck. Offensively they dump and work the forecheck very well to generate gritty chances.

With the recent influx of fan support, developed offensive players and ownership’s willingness to pour more money into player’s salaries, Trotz needs to prove that he can adjust his methods to a more skilled team. He is notoriously recanted for suffocating offensive talent and not allowing some of our best forwards to thrive. Trotz’s job could be on the line if he can’t cultivate the emerging offensive expertise of Forsberg, Watson, Bourque et. al.

Goalie coach Korn is a staple in the organization’s coaching staff. He has done solid work with all the goalies that have come through Nashville, including – but not limited to – Tomas Vokoun and Pekka Rinne, who were drafted 226th and 258th overall in the 1994/2004 draft and both played their first NHL game in Nashville. A notable goalie fluke is Brian NotAGoodGoalie Finley, drafted 6th overall and playing 4 career NHL games.

David Poile is an enigma to the casual Predators fan. Obviously working within a strict budget, Poile is known for overpaying the aged veteran and getting a couple extra years out of them and for his drafting squad that seems to consistently deliver. – although we do have some difficulty developing our 1st rounders. Sam Page of OntheForecheck summed up our fluid relationship between the Predators and Poile very well in this article about the Filip Forsberg Trade

Playoff History The Predators qualified for the first time in 2004, where they faced the 1st place, and future cup winners, the Detroit Red Wings. They forced the series to 6 games, winning both their home games and chasing Chris Osgood from the net. They’ve been a playoff team for all but two of seven seasons to follow, and made the second round in 2011 and 2012 (losing to Vancouver and Phoenix respectively)

Current Predators

Name

Position

Number

Drafted

2012-13 Stats

Summary/Trivia

Shea Weber

D

6

49thoverall (2003)

GP:48 G:9 A:19 P:28

Basically the Man. Weber is our franchise defenseman who was harassed by a Flyers offer sheet last summer. Weber has a rocket of a shot that sometimes literally goes right through the net.

Pekka Rinne

G

35

258thoverall (2004)

GP:43 W:15 GAA: 2.43 SV%: .910 Shots: 1002

Pekka Rinne faces more rubber than the Trojan man and takes all of it like a champ. A Vezina nominee, Rinne is a phenomenal acrobatic goalie. Like the Predators, he was quite inconsistent last year, but you would be too if you faced more shots than a Detroit suburbRinne Highlights.

David Legwand

C

11

2ndoverall (1998)

GP:48 G:12 A:13 P:25

Our first ever first rounder, Legwand is a career Predator (who might be traded soon). Somewhat overpaid, and consistently mediocre, Legwand is a quiet point getter who has been in and around the 40 point mark every season. Most fans respect him enough to not completely loath him. Best Goal

Mike Fisher

C

12

44thoverall (1998)

GP:38 G:10 A:11 P21

Unfortunately often referred to as Mr. Underwood, Mike has been a good contributor for the Predators. He is generally our 1st line center and can pass, score and has the size to be effective at both ends of the ice. Although slowing down with his age (aren’t we all) he is a welcome addition to the organization. He will have to battle equally old Matt Cullen for the top center job this year.

Roman Josi

D

59

38thoverall (2008)

GP:48 G:5 A:13 P:18

Josi signed a 7 year contract this June, solidifying his role as a number 2 defenseman for the Predators… until we drafted Jones and added some doubt to the top 4. Nonetheless, the Swiss National is an impressive defender with great vision and an occasional howitzer shot He was IIHF WC MVP.

Other mentions: Patric Hornqvist, Gabriel Bourque, Ryan Ellis, Colin InTheDoghouse Wilson

Current Analysis

  • The Predators are a defense first team.

  • Currently have a great prospect pool and will be an interesting training camp to see who fits where

  • Made 5 signings on Free Agent Frenzy day, but lost Erat late in the season and Kostitsyn to the KHL. Will look like a very different team.

  • Pekka Rinne can win any game on his own, but can’t win every game on his own.

 

Rivals

1. The Detroit Red Wings

Division foes since the beginning, the rivalry peaked in 2004 when the 8th place Preds made Detroit piss themselves by winning both home games and knotting the series at 2 apiece. This was a Detroit roster of Shanahan, Yzerman, Lidstrom, Hull and more. One of the best games in Predators history isthis 8-0 drubbing of Detroit, then of course there was “Webering” last year. And this, by KEVING FUCKING KLEIN, a – at best – average defenseman. Detroit also notoriously employs Jordin Tootoo, one of the dirtiest players in the league. For shame.

Record 32-41-4-8 (W-L-T-OTL)

2. The Chicago Blackhawks

More of a rivalry vs their good for nothing fans than the team, Blackhawks fans choose to litter the Bridgestone arena in Red for Predators games as our team’s tickets are much more affordable than there’s (mostly because of our superior economy and quality of living). The Blackhawks also fluked their way to eliminating the Preds in the 2009 playoffs, when they scored a shorthanded goal to tie up game 5 and went on to win it in OT. Not linking it because it literally brings me to tears.

Record 38-38-4-6

3. Minnesota Wild

In close resemblance to that slutty girl with rich daddy issues, the Wild stole one of our own in an unforgiveable way. We were lead on for half a year by Suter before he decided he’d rather freeze his ass off in the wilderness of Manitoba-USA than play for one of the greatest hockey franchises of all time (of all time!). As such the Wild received quite the welcome when they played at Bridgestone last year, and Preds fans were happy to jump on every single Suter mistake for the duration of the season. They will be a divisional opponent next year and many fans expect the rivalry to grow. My favorite picture of the year

Record 22-15-5-5

4. The Dallas Stars

It’s hard to say when Dallas and Nashivlle stopped getting along. Perhaps it was as far back as this Tootoo/Modano/Robidas altercation caution – bias announcers Or when Fistric Concussed Weber, but the games have been getting very chippy between these two teams. A highlight for the Preds was when Rich Clune, known around the league for his speed, easily got around the Dallas pylons and was hauled down for the Penalty shot, which he finished. You can see him chirping all the way to the bench. It also leads to the Clune quote “100% no lie”, referring to his 4/4 shooutout record in juniors, that has become a fan favorite. Record 23-30-1-1


Stats

2013 Regular Season

Win

Loss

OTL

16

23

9

2013 Regular Season Leaders

Category

Player

Stat

Points

Shea Weber

28

Goals

David Legwand

12

Assists

Shea Weber

19

+/-

Mike Fisher/Gabriel Bourque

+6

PIM

Richard Clune

113

ATOI

Shea Weber

25:55

Wins

Pekka Rinne

15

GAA

Pekka Rinne

2.43

Save %

Pekka Rinne

.910%


2013 Draft Results

Round

Overall

Player

Pos

Team (League)

1

4

Seth Jones

D

Portland (WHL)

3

64

Jonathan-Ismae Diaby

D

Victoriaville (QMJHL)

4

95

Felix Girard

RW

Baie-Comeau(QMJHL)

4

99

Juuse Saros

G

HPK (SM-liiga)

5

125

Saku Maenalanen

RW

Karpat U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga)

5

140

Teemu Kivihalme

D

(USHS)

6

155

Emil Pettersson

C

Timra (SHL)

6

171

Tommy Veilleux

LW

Victoriaville (QMJHL)

7

185

Wade Murphy

RW

University of North Dakota (NCAA)

7

203

Janne Juvonen

G

Pelicans (SM-liiga)

Trades/Signings:

Lost

  • Sergei Kostitsyn left to KHL

  • Hal Gill – Bought Out

  • Brendan Yip, Chris Mason – Not Resigned

  • Matt Halischuk and Jon Blum – Signed by Winnipeg and Minnesota

Gained

  • Viktor Stalberg – UFA Signing – 4 years, 12M (last team: Chicago)

  • Matt Cullen – UFA Signing – 2 years, 7M (last team: Minnesota)

  • Matt Hendricks – UFA Signing – 4 years 7.4M (last team: Washington)

  • Eric Nystrom – UFA Signing – 4 years 10M (last team: Dallas)

  • Carter Hutton – UFA Signing – 1 year 100,000/550,000 (last team: Rockford)

Analysis:

Scoring the least goals in the league didn’t stop general manager David Poile from spending his first two picks on defensemen at the 2013 draft. With the #4 pick, fans were looking forward to a talented offensive prospect, but with Jones unexpectedly falling to 4th Poile and Trotz pretty much blew their collective loads and drafted the highly touted defender. Preds fans weren’t necessarily disappointed, as we do have many good offensive prospects already in the pipeline. Trotz has also come out to say the Jones will likely be a top pair D-man playing next to Weber. Should be interesting.

As for the UFA signings, that was pretty crazy. Both Erat and Kostitsyn, 2/3rds of our top line, will not be returning and needed to be replaced. Poile did what he did best and scouted out some veteran forwards on the decline and signed them to aggressive contracts. However now there is a clear log jam in the top 16 forwards. The Preds have 7 natural centers: Fisher, Cullen, Hendricks, Smith, Legwand, Gaustad and Spaling. Many fans think a trade may be in the works for the end of summer to deal Smith or Spaling. (When I first wrote this we had yet to sign Spaling and Clune … so now holy shit we have a lot of forwards)(yeah I’m a slow writer so what want to fight about it?)

2013 Season Results

Season Highs:

  • Our first top five draft pick since 1998 (2nd, Legwand)

  • Sold out 29 home games in a row (spilling over into last year)

  • Roman Josi fared well as a top pair defender and we were able so sign him long term at a reasonable price

  • Got to see a lot of our future talent play in the NHL because of numerous injuries. Most looked at least somewhat competent and gave fans some excitement and hope for the future.

  • … Umm, I don’t know. Our AHL team made the playoffs I guess. Even though a third of them were in Nashville.

  • Acquiring Filip Forsberg

Season Lows:

  • Lots of Injuries to top 6 young forwards. Lost Bourque, Hornqvist and Wilson for significant stretches

  • Just like… no offense, frustrating to watch for fans. Averaged 2.3 goals per game (lowest in league). Shutout 9 games.

  • Fans, not for the first time, lost some confidence in Trotz, especially after last year’s playoff exit to the Coyote’s. He Doesn’t appear to be a very agile coach.

  • Team pretty much shit the bed.


Season Overview:

Plagued by injury, the Predators did what they could to make the most out of the season. The team had 8 players play in their first career NHL games, and had 11 players hit the ice who were considered “Rookies”. While most of them looked good, the lack of a NHL roster made most games a miserable experience for the fans. The Predators were able to make up for the absence of a #2 defender by means of either Roman Josi or Scott Hannan. Weber seemed to be able to carry anyone on his line. However the promotion of both these players made the other lines look a bit weaker. Hopefully between Jones, Ellis and Bartley our defense can smoothen out a bit this year.. Rinne will also be looking for a backup that can give the team confidence when he wants to rest. Chris Mason last year went 1 and 7 in his 8 starts.


Nashville Predators Jerseys:


Predators Home Ice: Bridgestone arena

  • Opened in 1996 and seats 17,113, Formerly the Gaylord Entertainment Center

Predators Mascot: Gnash

Predators Goal Horn ft Tim McGraw:


Predators Highlights

Predators let Datsyuk get a play of the year, not really a big deal

Final Thoughts Nashville, in theory, should be able to bounce back to regular form next season. It will be intriguing and exciting to see the new roster come October and verify where the pieces fit. The Nashville Predators franchise has been a rollercoaster since day one. But with the consecutive sellouts, massive contracts being handed out to Weber et. al, and the willingness to chase big names, the franchise finally seems to be on firmer ground.

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