Nashville Predators


Nashville Predators

Arena: Bridgestone Arena
Coach: John Hynes

2022-2023 TEAM LEADERS

Nashville Predators

Team Summary

The Nashville Predators are an NHL team playing in the Central Division based in Nashville, Tennessee. The team joined the league in 1998 after the city made a huge push towards the NHL to get a hockey team, whether through relocation of an existing team or expansion. The team has been relatively successful with 14 total playoff appearances in 22 seasons, though the franchise is still without a Stanley Cup win.

The Preds were originally looking to be entering a period of rebuilding following the 2019-2020 season, but the roster clearly had other plans. Nashville is currently riding a seven-year streak of playoff appearances, managing to prove doubters wrong for the past two seasons, and currently sit at 2nd place in the extremely competitive Central Division. 

The Preds are well known for having one of the most electric arenas in the entire NHL, with a playoff atmosphere that is almost unmatched. Long, coordinated chants such as the “You Suck!” chant are commonplace come the postseason. 

Nashville Predators Standings

The Nashville Predators are a professional ice hockey team based in Nashville, Tennessee. The team competes in the Central Division of the Western Conference in the NHL. The Predators have a passionate fan base and have made several playoff appearances in recent years, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

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Team History 

Nashville first came on the radar of the NHL in 1995 after making a huge push to get the New Jersey Devils to relocate to the city. While the negotiations ultimately fell short due to New Jersey being unable to terminate their arena contract, the passion shown by the Nashville fan base for a team was more than enough for the city to earn a future expansion. The city had already begun constructing an arena for a hockey team, making them first on the list of 90s expansion and officially receiving a team in 1998.

The Predators struggled for the first five years of existence, struggling to break .500 and finishing their fifth season with a lousy 27-35-13-7 record. Nashville would qualify for the playoffs for four out of the five next seasons but were never able to make it out of the first round. The team’s first-ever playoff series win finally came in 2011 with a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks- over 10 years since the team first arrived.

The Predators became one of the top teams in the Western Conference from 2016 to 2018 but were never quite able to go all the way with a championship win. The team came close with a final appearance in 2017 but ultimately fell short thanks to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

2022 Key Stats 

Nashville currently has a record of 27-14-4, sitting at second in the extremely top-heavy Central Division. The Predators have been absolutely deadly with the puck this season, averaging three or more goals almost every single night. While the Preds may have been known for strong defensive play and goaltending in previous seasons, this new roster seems to be much more focused on offensive production. 

Roman Josi leads the team in scoring this season with an electric 13 goals and 30 points, currently on a point-per-game pace. Josi is currently the fourth highest scoring defenseman in the league, just four points behind the current leader Adam Fox and will certainly be on the ballot for the Norris Trophy. 

Matt Duchene appeared to be a bust after signing with Nashville in the 2019-2020 offseason and failing to produce at an elite level, but the forward has found a new level to his game this year. Duchene already has 21 goals and 19 assists in 41 games, spearheading a rejuvenated Predators offense. The best part? He isn’t even the team leader in goals!

Filip Forsberg is playing elite hockey this season, with 22 goals scored so far and a total of 36 points in 32 games. If he can manage to stay healthy, there’s a good chance we’ll see him shoot towards the top of the team’s top scorers. 

Juuse Saros has been absolutely phenomenal this year, with a record of 23-11-3 and an SV% of .927. The young goaltender has taken the starting position from Pekka Rinne with confidence, and will likely be included in Vezina voting at the end of the year. 

Championships Won by the Team 

The Predators have never won a Stanley Cup in franchise history, coming the closest during the 2017 playoffs. The team went on a Cinderella run after upsetting the Chicago Blackhawks in a first-round sweep as a wildcard team, catapulting themselves through the Western Conference with a 4-2 win over the Blues and a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. The run was brought to an end against the Pittsburgh Penguins in their second straight championship. 

The series was very well fought, with goaltender Pekka Rinne playing a huge part in carrying the team with his excellent play. The run came to an end in game six on a controversial call, as the game-tying goal was waved off due to an early whistle. 

The Preds would win the Central Division and President’s Trophy the following year but would fall to the Winnipeg Jets in the second round. The 2019 season was a sort of “last chance” for the same core that went to the cup finals, winning the Central Division again but losing in the first round to the Stars. After losing to the Coyotes in the play-in round of 2020, the team began to trade away major pieces from the 2017 team, most notably the retirement of Pekka Rinne. 

Important Team Events 

Despite losing the Stanley Cup in 2017, the playoff run that preceded was extremely memorable. Nashville could be credited with giving the death blow to the Blackhawks dynasty of the 2010s- prior to 2017, the Preds had found themselves losing to the Hawks in 2010 and 2015, only to watch Chicago go on to win the cup both years. It appeared as though Chicago was gearing up for yet another championship after winning the Central Division. Unfortunately for the Hawks, the Preds had other plans.

Pekka Rinne delivered back-to-back shutouts in the first two games in Chicago, stealing home advantage from the division champs and preventing their iconic “Chelsea Dagger” goal song from being played a single time in the playoffs. The team took game three in overtime, completing the sweep with a 4-1 victory in game four and sending the Blackhawks into an early postseason. The dynasty came to an end, as Chicago failed to make the playoffs the following year. 

Top Players 

David Legwand is one of the most iconic players in Nashville’s history, playing with the team from its inception in 1998 until being traded in 2014. In his 15 seasons with the team, Legwand managed to set the franchise record in games played at 956, goals at 2010, and points in 566. 

Despite holding the record for goals and total points, the franchise record for most assists belongs to Roman Josi at 359 at the time of publication. Josi has been absolutely dynamite for Nashville and is one of the top offensive defensemen in the league, and will likely continue to add to this franchise record in the coming seasons.

The most iconic Nashville Predator in recent memory has to be Pekka Rinne. The Finnish goaltender was a huge part of the team’s success from 2017-2019, winning the Vezina as the league’s top goaltender in 2018. Rinne played his entire career with Nashville from 2005-2021, setting the franchise record for starts at 683, wins at 369, and shutouts at 60. 

Top Coaches 

The Nashville Predators have shockingly only had three coaches in franchise history, currently headed by John Hynes. Hynes’ tenure in Nashville has been relatively short, taking over for the team in 2020 after the loss to the Arizona Coyotes in the qualifying round. Still, Hynes gas managed to bring the Predators to the playoffs in 2021 and seems poised to do so again, despite the team seemingly entering a retooling period. 

Peter Laviolette coached the team from 2014 through 2020, leading Nashville during their 2017 playoff run and their dominance of the Central Division in the following two seasons. Laviolette managed to win the Presidents’ Trophy as the top team in the NHL, finishing his tenure with a record of 248-143-60.

Barry Trotz is the most iconic coach in the history of the Preds, coaching with the team for a staggering 1196 games between 1998 and 2014, making him the longest-tenured coach for a single team in the history of the NHL. Unfortunately, Trotz wouldn’t find much postseason success with the team, finishing his long career with the Preds with a .380 win rate in the playoffs.

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Nashville Predators Frequently Asked Questions

What year did the Predators enter the league?

Nashville joined the league in 1998.

Who is the best player in the history of the Predators?

While David Legwand holds the franchise records for scoring, Pekka Rinne is easily one of the most iconic players to wear a Predators sweater.

How many times have the Predators won the Stanley Cup?

The Predators have never won a Stanley Cup, appearing in the finals once in 2017 but losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Why do the Predators fans throw catfish on the ice?

The tradition began in 2002 as a response to Detroit fans often throwing an octopus onto the ice. While it began as a way to mock a rival team, the fanbase has since adopted it as their own tradition.

Who are the Predators’ biggest rivals?

While the Chicago Blackhawks were a thorn in the Predators’ side for most of the 2010s, the team shares some extra animosity for the Winnipeg Jets. Both teams play in the Central Division and have had some seriously bad blood since their second-round playoff series in 2018. The team also has notably chippy games with the Anaheim Ducks, another team often facing off with the Preds in the playoffs.

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