A Baby Weber

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Per a recent interview from Fox 17-Nashville, Shea Weber and his wife welcomed a tiny Weber into the family over the off-season. You can read the article here: www.m.fox17.com/sports/Shea_Weber_becomes_a_proud_papa (if the link isn’t working, check out our Facebook page — it has it on there). Now, the article doesn’t go into much detail, as Weber didn’t want to make a huge deal out of it. It’s a wonder how the news did not get out beforehand, especially after the news broke regarding teammate Mike Fisher and his wife, Carrie Underwood’s, bun in the oven. However, Mrs. Weber isn’t Country Royalty and doesn’t have a cult following — that we know of — to answer to. Of course, there is no way their pregnancy could be kept a secret — oh the woes of the limelight, am I right? As I mentioned, Weber didn’t go into specifics, just mentioning off hand that a baby had been welcomed to the family with no word on whether it was a boy or girl (or even a human at all — it could be a “fur baby” for all we know). Any who, congratulations to our Captain and his lovely wife on the new bundle of joy!

Note: The picture above is NOT the actual Weber baby. I just lucked upon an image on Thinkstock.com of a baby on a hockey glove. Cool beans!

Infograph: 2013-14 Shea Weber

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Yea, I’m the quiet blogger during the summer months when it comes to hockey (if you are just now figuring that out). That doesn’t mean I am not thinking about hockey; oh no. This brain of mine is hockey-filled, I just leave the other bloggers to the nitty-gritty during the off-season. …Unless something major happens.

Any who, you’ve probably already checked out the “mini” infograph (as I so lovingly call it) on Shea Weber. You likey? Whether you do or not, I will be putting more of these out before the season starts just to reflect on some numbers and/or facts from last season. Why don’t you just type it all out, you ask? Because I am obsessed with infographs and this gives me a chance to enhance my graphic skills and cover hockey, too.

Feel free to “pin” this to your Pinterest board, ladies (and gentlemen), but please do not crop out the bottom. Credit is given where credit is do. Plus, I’ve stuck hidden @Lady_Preds script throughout the image, so there’s no use.

But please enjoy this as much as I enjoyed creating it.
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The Age of Swede (in Nashville)

Getty Images/Zimbio.com

Getty Images/Zimbio.com – Left: Calle Jarnkrok, Right: Filip Forsberg

With the regular season coming to a close, most Preds fans have given up on the hopes of clinching a playoff spot. Though mathematically, the Preds still have an itty bitty, miniscule chance, but unless you are a betting man or an overly optimistic person, you’ve pretty much come to terms that, for the fifteenth year, the Predators will be Cup-less. It has also been excruciatingly difficult to handle (as a fan) the onslaught of opposing fans over-running the Bridgestone Arena, bashing the home team and drowning out the voices of the remaining faithful. But alas, that is a story for a different time. Right now, I am here to relay some optimism; optimism in the form of 20-something Swedes.

It wouldn’t be a far stretch to say ice hockey is pretty popular in Sweden. Tre Kronor (Team Sweden) is a dominant force when it comes to IIHF World Championships (9 gold medals/19 silver/16 bronze since 1920) and the Olympics (2 gold medals/3 silver/4 bronze since 1920) and those figures do not include the junior or women’s teams over the years. Surprisingly though, there aren’t as many Swedes in the NHL as you would think. There are (as of 9:44am on 3/27/14 & not including farm teams) 51 Swede holding roster spots amongst the 30 teams in the NHL, which averages out to about 2 Swedes per team (that has a Swede). Detroit should be renamed Stockholm as it employees the most Swedes at nine. Everyone but the Islanders, Blue Jackets, Penguins, Stars, Oilers, Panthers, Kings, and Sharks have Swedes. Nashville has had its fair share of Swedes in the past fifteen years, with Viktor Stalberg, Patric Hornqvist, Mattias Ekholm, and Calle Jarnkrok holding roster spots at the given moment; Filip Forsberg and Patrick Cehlin currently round out the Milwaukee Admirals roster.

While a veteran like Patric Hornqvist remains at the top of his game (14 goals, 25 assists 2013/14 season), it’s young-guns like Calle Jarnkrok and Filip Forsberg who will continue the tradition of Swedish dominance. Both Filip Forsberg and Calle Järnkrok were acquired within trades – Forsberg was claimed from the Washington Capitals for Martin Erat and Michael Latta in April 2013 & Jarnkrok (along with Patrick Eaves) was picked up from the Detroit Red Wings for David Legwand – and, you can disagree with many of David Poile’s choices, but the man clearly got the better deal in both trades.

It tends to be frustrating to fans that Filip Forsberg spends more time on planes than on the ice, constantly being called up and sent back down to Milwaukee. His outstanding performance in the World Juniors tournament had fans threatening a mob if he wasn’t brought back to Nashville (4 goals, 8 assists/silver medal), but alas, he has still flipped back and forth. It is sometimes hard to remember that Forsberg is only 19-years-old and made his NHL debut with Nashville last season (Detroit won 3-0); he still has plenty of time to adjust to the system and I would almost put money on a bet that he’ll have a more permanent roster position with the Predators next season. With the Admirals this season, Filip Forsberg has 10 goals and 17 assists.

Calle Jarnkrok is the newest Swede to board the dingy that is the Predators organization, but he’s come out blazing with three assists in the three games he’s appeared with Nashville. He’s quick, but controlled; his puck-handling skills put Colin Wilson to shame. He also does not shy from pressure what-so-ever. Usually Craig Smith or Matt Cullen, Jarnkrok was given the task of first at bat for the shootout against the Colorado Avalanche last Tuesday. Though Nashville eventually lost to the Avs (thanks to another Swede – Gabriel Landeskog), Jarnkrok scored in his first NHL shootout. He may share the same love of hairstyle with Sergei Kostitsyn, but he is a far cry from that Belorussian blunder.  Hopefully, Jarnkrok can teach fellow Swede, Viktor Stalberg to slow his roll and control his speed and the puck. I also hope the ‘Way of Trotz’ does not seep into the youngster, killing his game altogether.

You know their names: Henrik Lundqvist, Niklas Kronwall, Daniel & Henrik Sedin, Niklas Backstrom, Gabriel Landeskog, Henrik Zetterberg, Peter Forsberg, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Daniel Alfredsson, Niklas Lidstrom, Alexander Steen, Loui Eriksson, and so forth. The Swedes are here to stay in the NHL and Nashville needs to collect as many as they can get. Along with an IKEA; we need one of those, too.

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Med den ordinarie säsongen närmar sig sitt slut , har de flesta Preds fans gett upp hoppet om att fästa en slutspelsplats . Även matematiskt , de Preds har fortfarande en Itty Bitty , världsdelen chans , men om du inte är en vadslagning man eller en alltför optimistisk person , du har ganska mycket komma till rätta som för femtonde året kommer rovdjuren bli Cup – mindre . Det har också varit otroligt svårt att hantera ( som en fläkt ) angrepp av motsatta fans över kör Bridgestone Arena , bashing hemmalaget och drunkna ut röster återstående trogna . Men tyvärr , det är en historia för en annan tid . Just nu är jag här för att vidarebefordra viss optimism , optimism i form av 20 -någonting svenskar .

Det skulle inte vara en långt sträcka att säga ishockey är ganska populärt i Sverige . Tre Kronor ( Team Sweden ) är en dominerande kraft när det kommer till IIHF-VM ( 9 guld medals/19 silver/16 brons sedan 1920 ) och OS ( 2 ​​guldmedaljer / 3 silver / 4 brons sedan 1920 ) och dessa siffror gör inte inkludera junior eller damlag under åren. Förvånansvärt Men det finns inte så många svenskar i NHL som man kan tro . Det finns ( som av 09:44 på 3/27/14 & exklusive jordbruks lag ) 51 Swede håller rosterfläckar bland de 30 lag i NHL , som i genomsnitt ut till ca 2 svenskar per lag ( som har en svensk ) . Detroit bör döpas Stockholm eftersom den anställda flest svenskar vid nio . Alla men Islanders , Blue Jackets , Penguins, Stars , Oilers , Panthers, Kings och Sharks har svenskar . Nashville har haft sin beskärda del av svenskarna under de senaste femton åren , med Viktor Stålberg , Patric Hörnqvist , Mattias Ekholm och Calle Järnkrok håller rosterfläckar vid given tidpunkt , Filip Forsberg och Patrick Cehlin runda för närvarande ut i Milwaukee Admirals deltagarlistan .

Medan en veteran som Patric Hörnqvist är fortfarande på toppen av hans spel ( 14 mål , 25 assist 2013/14 säsongen ) , det är unga – gevär som Calle Järnkrok och Filip Forsberg som kommer att fortsätta traditionen av svenska dominans . Både Filip Forsberg och Calle Järnkrok förvärvats inom handel – Forsberg hävdades från Washington Capitals för Martin Erat och Michael Latta i April 2013 & Järnkrok ( tillsammans med Patrick Eaves ) plockades från Detroit Red Wings för David Legwand – och , du kan inte håller med många av David Poile s val , men mannen fick klart bättre affär i båda branscher .

Det tenderar att vara frustrerande för fans som Filip Forsberg tillbringar mer tid på plan än på isen , ständigt ringde upp och skickas tillbaka till Milwaukee . Hans enastående prestanda i World Juniors turneringen hade fans hotar en pöbel om han inte kom tillbaka till Nashville ( 4 mål , 8 assist / silver ) , men tyvärr , han har fortfarande bläddrade fram och tillbaka . Det är ibland svårt att komma ihåg att Forsberg är bara 19 år gammal och gjorde sin NHL-debut med Nashville förra säsongen ( Detroit vann med 3-0 ) , han har fortfarande gott om tid att anpassa sig till systemet och jag skulle nästan sätta pengar på en satsning som han kommer att ha en mer permanent roster läge med Predators nästa säsong . Med Admirals den här säsongen , har Filip Forsberg 10 mål och 17 assist .

Calle Järnkrok är den nyaste svensken att gå ombord på jolleseglare som är Predators organisation , men han har kommit ut flammande med tre assist i de tre matcher han dök med Nashville . Han är snabb , men kontrollerad , hans puckhanteringfärdigheter satte Colin Wilson på skam . Han gör dessutom inte blyg från tryck vad – så – någonsin. Vanligtvis Craig Smith och Matt Cullen , Järnkrok fick i uppdrag att först på slagträet för straffar mot Colorado Avalanche i tisdags . Även Nashville till slut förlorade med Avs ( tack vare en annan svensk – Gabriel Landeskog ) , Järnkrok gjorde mål i sin första NHL- straffar. Han kan dela samma kärlek till frisyr med Sergei Kostitsyn , men han är långt ifrån det vitryska blunder . Förhoppningsvis kan Järnkrok undervisa karl svensk, Viktor Stålberg att sakta sin rulle och kontrollera sin hastighet och pucken . Jag hoppas också att ” Way of Trotz ” inte tränger in i unge och dödade hans spel helt och hållet.

Du vet deras namn : Henrik Lundqvist , Niklas Kronwall , Daniel och Henrik Sedin , Niklas Bäckström , Gabriel Landeskog , Henrik Zetterberg , Peter Forsberg , Oliver Ekman – Larsson , Daniel Alfredsson , Niklas Lidström , Alexander Steen , Loui Eriksson , och så vidare . Svenskarna är här för att stanna i NHL och Nashville måste samla så många som de kan få . Tillsammans med en IKEA , vi behöver en av dem också.

 

Predators nab Nine Picks in 2012 NHL Draft

2012 NHL Draft

Though once thought a complete loss for the Predators, David Poile was able to work his magic at the last minute and seal Nashville with a few key draft picks in both the second and third rounds. Thanks to his maneuverability, the Predators picked up nine potential players yesterday in the 2012 NHL Draft. Here is a quick rundown of who Nashville nabbed and what they could bring in the future:

Pontus Aberg

Pontus Åberg – Predators first draft pick (37th overall)
Thanks to Poile’s slick trade move with Tampa Bay, the Nashville Predators were able to snag this young forward who is said to be the ninth best skater in the draft. Per scouting reports, Aberg has killer shooting accuracy, tremendous puck handling skills, and tends to pass the puck well (Trotz will like that). However, reports on consistency issues have been brought up, bring certain current players to mind (SK74). But, keep in mind, Aberg is tied to Swedish team Djugarden through the 2013-14 season, so the 19-year-old has plenty of time to outgrow any issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colton Sissons

Colton Sissons – Predators second draft pick (50th overall)
With their second pick in the draft, the Predators stepped away with another forward, this time Canadian Colton Sissons. Scouting reports have nothing but praise for this young Center, acknowledging his strong skating and defensive style, along with unique offensive characteristics. As the captain for the Kelowna Rockets, the trait of leadership shines with this kid, proving he’ll fit in just fine when he’s eventually called to Nashville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Vesey

 

 

 

Jimmy Vesey – Predators third draft pick (66th overall)
The Predators chose an Ivy League bounder with their third pick, nabbing Left Winger and Boston native, Jimmy Vesey. Vesey is slated to play for Harvard this upcoming season, but don’t let his brains fool you; the kid broke the EJHL single-season scoring record (48-43-91), winning league MVP, and taking home the Bruins’ John Carlton Award for combining exceptional hockey skills with academic excellence. In his recent draft interview, Vesey stated that he looks up to Mike Fisher and has a thing for Country music. Sounds like, once makes his move to the NHL, Vesey will do just fine here.

 

Brendan Leipsic

Brendan Leipsic – Predators fourth draft pick (89th overall)
The Predators did a little trading with the New York Rangers to get their fourth pick, trading their 3rd Round pick in next year’s draft for a Canadian Left Winger, Brendan Leipsic. Currently on the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks roster, Leipsic is known for three attributes: speed, skating, and energy. However, similar to Aberg, Leipsic is prone to a bit of inconsistency at times. But, with his aggressive style and physical nature, Leipsic is bound to be a top forward at some point in his career.

 

 

 

 

Zach Stepan

Zachary Stepan – Predators fifth draft pick (112th overall)
Does his last name sound familiar? If you’re a fan of the New York Rangers, perhaps it does. Cousin to Derek Stepan, Zachary is blazing his own trail, even stating that he has been following the Predators for about two years now, impressed with how far the franchise has come. Stepan has trained under the Shattuck-St. Mary’s program, the same one that brought up Sidney Crosby. Speed, strength, and control keep this kid flying high on the radar, despite his small frame. His aggressiveness towards bigger players reminds us of a one, Francis Bouillon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mikko Vainonen

Mikko Vainonen – Predators sixth draft pick (118th overall)
With a name like Mikko, you must have guessed Nashville’s sixth draft pick hails from Finland. As Nashville’s first defenseman pick of the draft, Vainonen brings a lot to the table as defenseman go. At over 200 lbs, slow and steady is not an option for this Finn; Speed and his excellent stickwork make this kid a force to be reckoned with. However, as far as scouting reports go, most do not see this 18-year-old as more than just a puck pusher, but (being the age he is) he will have plenty of time to grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simon Fernholm

Simon Fernholm – Predators seventh draft pick (164th overall)
Yet another Swede to add to the Predators potential roster is defenseman, Simon Fernholm. At 187 lbs, the young Swede will need some time to grow into his defenseman position, but again, time will help build his character as an NHLer.

 

 

 

 

 

Max Görtz

Max Görtz – Predators eighth draft pick (172nd overall)
…And the Predators pick up another Swede with their eighth pick, Right Winger Maz Gortz from Swedish team, Färjestad. Gortz is a large forward, with a good release and solid technical skills. He will stay with Färjestad at least another season.

 

 

 

 

Marek Mazanec

Marek Mazanec – Predators ninth draft pick (179th overall)
With the parting of Anders Lindback, the Predators chose, with their final pick of the draft, a goalie from the Czech Republic by the name of Marek Mazanec. At 6’4″, we’re pretty positive this Czech goalie is well on his way to fitting in just fine amongst the organization’s goalies.

 

 

 

 

You won’t have to wait too long to see how these nine draft picks match with one another, as the Predators Prospect Camp starts this week at Centennial Sportsplex. All in all, we would conclude that Nashville had a very successful draft day and that maybe, just maybe, David Poile should get a little pat on the back.

Colin Wilson’s Iffy Future with the Nashville Predators

Colin's a pretty popular player, but that isn't enough for Trotz to put him in the lineup.

The Predators post season is quickly rolling upon us, and for Colin Wilson, this post season is starting to look vaguely familiar to last year’s…

Colin Wilson has performed well for the Nashville Predators since being picked 1st (7th overall) in the 2008 NHL Draft, first hitting the ice under the franchise on October 29, 2009. There’s nothing wrong with Wilson’s stats, that’s not what’s keeping his future on the rocks. Although his stats were a little rough his rookie year, after spending a year with Nashville’s farm team, the Milwaukee Admirals, Colin turned his play around, scoring 16 goals last season and claiming 18 assists. Although not nearly as outstanding as say, David Legwand or Martin Erat, Colin’s still a youngster with plenty of room to grow. His stats this season have been very similar, scoring 15 goals as of late and 19 assists.

But as stated before, it’s not Colin’s lack of performance that is holding him back; It’s actually Barry Trotz. As awesome and thankful as we are to have Trotz as head coach, he does have a tendency to try and change players to fit his needs. Colin Wilson is an offensively strong player, but Trotz doesn’t see Wilson in the same light. Although he’s made some game-saving goals this season alone, Trotz and Wilson just have a hard time seeing eye-to-eye. It’s clear they’ve butted heads a few times, including last year’s post season, where Wilson didn’t even see one game during the playoffs. So far, although supposedly suffering from a groin injury, as the regular season draws to a close, it’s looking like last year’s nightmares are coming back to haunt the 22-year-old.

Colin and the Predators signed a three-year, entry-level contract back in 2009 and this summer means Wilson’s a Restricted Free Agent. The temptations of trading Wilson will be high, due to the fact that the Predators could come out on the better end of the deal. Unfortunately, under the right coach, Wilson is capable of scoring 20-25 goals in a season, which would be a wound in Nashville’s side if traded.

Fear not, Wilson fans, the regular season isn’t over yet and Trotzie may have a change of heart and get Colin back in the lineup. Also, the fact that other players are doing so well, such as Gabriel Bourque and Roman Josi, plays a factor in some players taking up the scratched list (i.e. Craig Smith and occasionally Matt Halischuk). With so many healthy, well-performing players, someone has to take a night off.

Only time (and once the post season is over and done) will we know for sure what Colin Wilson’s future with Nashville will amount to. Rumors of Nashville possibly working a trade out with the Winnipeg Jets (Colin’s hometown) have been floating around, but Nashville will take whatever gives them the best outcome, as well.

The Predators finish up the regular season with two games at home on Tuesday and Thursday, and the last game of the season against the Avalanche in Denver. It’s iffy if Colin will make the lineup in these last three games, but stranger things have happened. We hope to be proven wrong, but faith is in Trotzie.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Where has Jordin Tootoo’s Passion Gone?

Tootoo salutes the Nashville crowd after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks.

There’s no doubting who the most recognizable Nashville Predator is. Although Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Mike Fisher and Pekka Rinne are pretty familiar faces, there’s one player that everyone – even someone who’s never seen the Predators play – recognizes instantly: Jordin Tootoo.

Maybe it’s because he’s Nashville’s go-to fighter. Or, maybe, it’s because his last name is the same as his number (easiest player to remember). Either way, Jordin Tootoo is as popular as the day he joined the team back in the 2003-04 season. From the get-go, Toots was a born fighter, trying to make a name for himself in the league the best way he knew how. As the first Inuit hockey player to be drafted into the National Hockey League, Jordin Tootoo needed to be memorable. Oh, how far he’s come in these last eight years.

We won’t delve into Tootoo’s past (you have the ‘Tootoo on 2’ segments for that), but if you aren’t aware, Nashville’s Right Wing as fought a few demons in his young life, including alcohol abuse and his overall appearance and demeanor to the rest of the hockey world. Although loved and admired in Nashville as a strong community leader, the rest of the hockey world still see him as an inconsiderate punk of a player, not fit for society.

Despite these trials and tribulations, Jordin Tootoo’s passion for the game has never faltered, always keeping his game a top priority. After taking a step back to reflect and making the decision for rehab last season, Jordin Tootoo has not only improved mentally, but physically as well. He quickly surpassed his career-highs early in the season with 29 points and 23 assists this season. With so much tenacity and velocity, where did his passion suddenly fizzle out?

Jordin Tootoo’s last goal with the Predators was on December 28th at home against the Minnesota Wild, where the Predators won 2-1 in a shootout. Toots has accumulated many assists since then, with his last recorded assist on February 28th against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. Since then, Jordin has seemed to be on the iffy side, making horrible passing mistakes and tacking up foolish penalties along the way.

Even though he one of the faces of the Nashville Predators, that one factor won’t save you from the bench and Jordin Tootoo found himself scratched last Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets, his first healthy scratch since, well, we can’t even give you an exact date. With younger guys such as Gabriel Bourque and Ryan Ellis playing with level heads and making cleaner, more accurate plays, Tootoo’s inconsistency had no room for ice time. That, and the recent return of Russian phenom, Alexander Radulov meant someone would be taking a seat in the press box.

Although he was back on the ice the next night against the Chicago Blackhawks, it was clear his frustration got the best of him, taking on the 6’2″ Left Wing, Brandon Bollig. Before the game, Tootoo had expressed his frustration of being scratched to the local news media, but due to his unfortunate loss to the Blackhawk, Toots will now find himself on the scratched list even more. During the fight, Bollig clocked Tootoo in the ear, causing it to bleed. Although we do not know the details of his injury, it was announced that he has an upper-body injury due to the punching match.

Since late January, Jordin Tootoo has been slowly losing steam, and last night’s fight looked as if he were merely trying to show off, not necessarily fight Bollig for a particular reason. There usually always an explaination for Tootoo’s fights, like this one, for example:


Toots took on Mark Fistric on January 5th in Dallas, their first meeting since Fistric put Shea Weber on the IR list with a concussion.

Whether it be an issue involving his personal life, or simply a fluke in his game, Jordin Tootoo has been suffering as of late, and both fans and opposing teams are starting to take notice. Depending on the severity of his upper-body injury, Jordin Tootoo could either spend the remainder of this regular season on the scratched list, or he could end up playing tomorrow against St. Louis.

We love Jordin Tootoo just as much as the next Predators fan, but it was about time someone brought to light the subject that everyone has been whispering about. Rumors of what has slowed Tootoo down have been circulating amongst the fans and others, but until the truth is presented directly from Jordin’s mouth, we won’t go into details of what those rumors were.

We don’t have any doubt Toots will rejoin the Predators organization next season, but hopefully the remainder of the regular season and playoff series will bring back the all-familiar Jordin Tootoo we all have come to love.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Preds Player Profile: Paul Gaustad

Gaustad isn't afraid to drop the gloves and take a hit or two.

Paul Gaustad was the second and last trade pickup made this past Monday at the Trade Deadline between the Nashville Predators and Buffalo Sabres. Like the Andrei Kostitsyn trade move, Predators fans were blind-sided by the trade for the Center for a first round pick (the Sabres also gave the Predators a fourth round in the trade).

Paul Gaustad was born on February 3, 1982 in Fargo, North Dakota and was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2000 NHL Draft, 7th Round (220th overall). Add another tall one to the Predators roster, Gaustad stands at 6’5″, the same height as goalie, Pekka Rinne.

Gaustad began his hockey career in the WHL under the Portland Winter Hawks and notched three seasons with the minor league of the Canadian Hockey League. Gaustad began playing under the AHL team for the Buffalo Sabres in 2002-03 and made his way to the Sabres in 2005.

The forward/enforcer had a close call on February 7, 2007 when a collision with Ottawa Senator, Dany Heatley almost ended his career. Gaustad’s tendon was sliced by Heatley’s skate and, if it had been an inch deeper, Paul’s career would have been shot right then and there. Fortunately for Gaustad, his season was ended by the accident, but his career would remain intact.

After a productive 2007-08 season, the Buffalo Sabres re-signed Gaustad to a 4-year extension worth $9.2 million, just before becoming a free agent.

OTHER NOTABLE FACTS:

  • Wore #14 while in the AHL, but had to revert to #28 due to Rene Robert having that number retired with the Sabres.
  • Scored 12 goals in three consecutive seasons (2008-09 to 2010-11).
  • Shares the same birthday as new Nashville Predator, Andrei Kostitsyn. Former Nashville Predator (now Montreal Canadiens) Blake Geoffrion also shares the February 3rd birthday.
  • 12th American to play for the Nashville Predators this season.

Paul Gaustad was fan favorite in Buffalo and is sure to bring his popularity to Nashville. Although he, Jordin Tootoo and Anders Lindback had a heated square-off due to the Ryan Miller incident, Gaustad will fit with the rest of the Predators just fine. It was clear that Gaustad was simply standing up for his fellow teammate, which means he will do the same with his new teammates with the Predators.

Like Brian McGrattan, Paul Gaustad isn’t afraid to drop the gloves and is quite the enforcer. Along with this attribute, Gaustad’s frame makes him ideal for screening shots on goal, just like fellow giant, Hal Gill.

Paul Gaustad is expected to make his Predators debut on Saturday against the Florida Panthers and was seen practicing with the team on Thursday morning. Gaustad is coming off an upper-body injury, keeping him from playing last Tuesday alongside newcomer, Andrei Kostitsyn.

Welcome to Nashville, Paul Gaustad!

(Photo credit: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images North America)

Preds Player Profile: Andrei Kostitsyn

Andrei Kostitsyn will make his Nashville debut on Tuesday, March 6th.

The Predators picked up two players before the Trade Deadline commenced on Monday afternoon, surprising most (if not all) Predators fan. With everyone’s minds on the Nash-to-Nash conundrum, no one saw who Predators General Manager, David Poile was really eyeing in the Eastern Conference.

The first of those two Eastern Conference contenders the Predators traded for was Andrei Kostitsyn, current Nashville Predators player Sergei Kostitsyn’s older brother. The Predators made a trade agreement with the Montreal Canadiens, that (along with the conditional draft pick used to get Hal Gill) the Canadiens would hand over AK46 for a 2nd Round Draft Pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Andrei Kostitsyn was born on February 3, 1985 in Novopolotsk, Belarus. Before starting his career in the NHL, Andrei competed in several different leagues, including the Eastern European Hockey League and the CSKA of Russia. After his first season with CSKA,  Andrei was drafted first round (10th overall) in the 2003 NHL Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. In the summer of 2004, AK46 signed a three-year contract with the team.

Andrei Kostitsyn saw his first NHL game on December 1, 2005 against the Buffalo Sabres, a game the Canadiens would ultimately lose in overtime. Kostitsyn wasted no time scoring his first NHL goal on the December 13th against the Phoenix Coyotes, a game the Canadiens would end up winning 5-2.

Unfortunately, the older Kostitsyn is no stranger to injury, suffering a minor concussion in the 2008-09 season along with a leg injury. Thankfully, in the same month, AK46 notched his first career Hat Trick on December 27, 2008.

After seven years with the Montreal Canadiens, it was time for AK46 to be reunited with little brother, SK74 in Nashville. Sergei and Andrei were separated on June 29, 2009 when Sergei was traded to the Nashville Predators for goaltender Dan Ellis and forward Dustin Boyd.

OTHER NOTABLE FACTS:

  • Posted 12:13 minutes of ice time against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night during his debut with the Nashville Predators.
  • Andrei and Paul Gaustad, the other major trade pickup for the Predators, both share the same birthday (February 3rd).
  • Collected 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 53 games this season with the Montreal Canadiens.
  • AK46 played 379 NHL games since his 2005-06 career, all with the Montreal Canadiens. Along with this, Kostitsyn has tallied 99 goals and 210 points.

Andrei Kostitsyn has been called the complete opposite of his young brother, Sergei. In what ways? Well, Andrei likes to shoot and shoot as often as possible. Though Sergei is finally coming around to shooting more often, hopefully with his brother on his side, both will become an unstoppable brotherly force. Maybe a Sedin twin combo? Along with this potential, by picking up Andrei, the chances of the Predators re-signing Sergei are much higher come post-season.

Welcome to Nashville, Andrei Kostitsyn!

(Photo credit: Elsa/Getty Images North America)

Preds Player Profile: Hal Gill

Welcome to Smashville, Gill!

Defenseman Hal Gill will take the ice tonight with his new teammates of the Nashville Predators against the Dallas Stars tonight. Gill has been apart of the NHL for quite a while, so to celebrate his arrival to the Predators, let’s get you a little aquatinted with the 36 year old!

Hal Gill was born in Concord, Massachusetts on April 6, 1975. The 6’7″ defenseman was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 8th Round (207th overall) in the 1993 NHL Draft, but spent four years playing at Providence College. Before entering college, Gill was a well-known quarterback for Nashoba Regional High School in Bolton, MA!

Hal Gill finally hit the NHL during the 1997-98 season with the Bruins and played over 600 regular-season games with Boston before turning to Lukko in the Finnish SM-liiga league when the 2004-05 NHL season was in lock out. In July of 2006, Gill was picked up by the Toronto Maple Leafs, averaging his best numbers in his career. In February of 2008, Hal Gill was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a second round draft pick in the 2008 Draft and a fifth round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft.

While in Pittsburgh, Hal Gill picked up what could possibly be the most important aspect to the Nashville Predators. On June 12, 2009, Hal Gill held up the Stanley Cup after defeating the Detroit Red Wings. Less than a month later, Gill signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens. He would then resign for another year during the 2010-11 season.

And then that leads to Nashville! On February 17, 2012, Nashville traded Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney, and a second-round pick for both Gill and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Hal Gill grew up in Bolton, Massachusetts and has three children (son, two daughters) with wife, Anne.

Other notable facts about Hal Gill include:

  • Ranks 14th in the NHL with 122 block shots this season.
  • Played 53 games this season with the Canadiens, eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) and 29 penalty minutes.
  • Ranks 3rd in the league’s penalty killers.
  • Played his 1,000 game with the Canadiens on October 20, 2011 against former team the Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • Appeared back-to-back in the Stanley Cup finals in 2008 and 2009, winning with the Penguins in 2009.
  • Sergei Kostitsyn was a fellow teammate during the 2009-10 season at Montreal.

Hal Gill brings with him to Nashville stamina and experience, exactly what the Predators need amongst the young, rookie-filled team. With his Stanley Cup win under his belt, Gill will provide the knowledge the Predators need to claw closer to the ultimate prize in the NHL.

Welcome to Nashville, Hal Gill!

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit of: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America)