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30 Teams in 30 Days: Nashville Predators

Out:  Alexander Radulov, Marek Zidlicky, Jan Hlavac, Martin Gelinas, Darcy Hordichuk, Chris Mason, Josh Langfeld

In: Josh Gratton, Ryan Jones, Patric Hornqvist, Pekka Rinne

It was not a good off-season for the Nashville Predators.  The Music City club was shafted callously by dynamic forward Alexander Radulov – who, in case you’ve been living on Mars and didn’t hear, left in July to sign a contract with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the Russian Continental League-.  The worst part of the Radulov exodus is the offensive hole that it leaves for Preds GM David Poile and Head Coach Barry Trotz.  The Predators have one of the lowest payrolls in the league and have difficulty attracting or pursuing free agents on the open market, so the departure of the team’s best young forward is simply devastating.  Nashville has one of the best young defensive corps in the league and is solid between the pipes with Dan Ellis, but they will struggle all year to score goals without Radulov.


The Predators like to score by committee and don’t have a Top-20 scorer in their line-up.  Heck, they might not even have a Top-40 scorer in their line-up this year.  Number-1 line forwards J.P Dumont, Martin Erat and Jason Arnott will be counted on heavily in the top-heavy Central Division and will log big-time minutes in all situations.  Veteran coach Barry Trotz will look for David Legwand to have a better offensive output than last season.  Legwand struggled last season (65 games played, 15 goals, 29 assists) and needs to play with highly-skilled players to be successful.  Given that Trotz will probably use two of Radek Bonk, Patric Hornqvist, Vernon Fiddler, or Jordin Tootoo on the team’s second line, it may be a good idea to give some of the team’s up-and-coming rookies a taste of NHL action this season.


Veteran Marek Zidlicky left for Minneapolis but the rest of Nashville’s defense corps from the 2007’08 season remains together.  The Preds were decimated by injuries last season (Ville Koistinen only played 48 games, Shea Weber only played 54 games) and weren’t the cohesive unit that they were two seasons ago.  Nashville’s defensive pairings should look something like this:

Suter-de Vries





Dan Ellis emerged as Nashville’s goalie of the future midway through last season and allowed the team to bid adieu to Chris Mason in the off-season (he signed with the St.Louis Blues).  Ellis put up fabulous numbers for the Preds in 2007’08 (23-10-3, six shutouts, .924 Save %) and was a huge reason why Nashville qualified for the post-season. Finnish stopper Pekka Rinne will be Nashville’s everyday backup and will probably start 10-15 games this year.


Floor: 3rd in Central Division, 7th in Western Conference

Ceiling: 5th in Central Division, 11th in Western Conference

A team that has qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs four consecutive seasons may be golfing in April next year…