Preds release NHL Expansion Draft Protected List

PicMonkey Collage

UPDATE: More players have been added to the exposed list as of 11:20AM CST.

After pushing the release of the lists back by thirty minutes, the NHL officially allowed us commoners to see who teams protected… and who they did not. By no surprise, the great debate between James Neal and Calle Jarnkrok has left the Real Deal exposed along with a few others that were expected.

Exposed Players:

  • James Neal
  • Matt Irwin
  • Colton Sissons
  • Craig Smith
  • Colin Wilson
  • Cody McLeod
  • Yannick Weber
  • Marek Mazanec
  • Pontus Aberg
  • Cody Bass
  • Vernon Fiddler (UFA)
  • Mike Fisher (UFA)
  • P.A. Parenteau (UFA)
  • Adam Payerl
  • Mike Ribeiro
  • Miikka Salomaki
  • Trevor Smith
  • Austin Watson
  • Harry Zolnierczyk
  • Taylor Aronson
  • Anthony Bitetto
  • Stefan Elliott
  • Brad Hunt
  • Andew O’Brien
  • Adam Pardy
  • Petter Granberg
  • Jaynen Rissling
  • Scott Valentine

Protected Players:

  • Viktor Arvidsson
  • Filip Forsberg
  • Calle Jarnkrok
  • Ryan Johansen
  • Mattias Ekholm
  • Ryan Ellis
  • Roman Josi
  • P.K. Subban
  • Pekka Rinne

If you are freaking out about Neal (or anyone else) being exposed, as I mentioned in my previous post, that doesn’t automatically mean he’s headed to Vegas. Now that the exposed players have been released, teams can negotiate trades between the Golden Knights to attempt to protect these particular players. However, David Poile will more than likely have an uphill battle when it comes to negotiating with Las Vegas General Manager George McPhee (see Erat/Latta for Forsberg trade).

Wondering about Nashville’s other players? Here’s the list of the Predators’ exempt players from the Expansion Draft:

  • Kevin Fiala
  • Frederick Gaudreau
  • Vladislav Kamenev
  • Juuse Saros

UPDATE: It has now been acknowledged that Pontus Aberg, Mike Fisher, P.A. Parenteau, Vernon Fiddler, and Petter Granberg are not exempt from the expansion draft. It is important to note that Fisher, Fiddler, and Parenteau are all free agents, which means Vegas could go ahead and sign these players (the rest of the league has to wait until July 1st). However, if Vegas were to sign one of Nashville’s free agents, that would count as their expansion draft pick leaving the rest of the exposed players (like Neal, Watson, and Aberg) to stay with Nashville.

To see who the other teams in the league protected and exposed, here is the list from the NHL. So, what are your thoughts? Do you think GMDP can manage to work out a deal to save Neal? Whatever the case, there is no denying that George McPhee has the best seat in the house for this expansion draft and is soaking up every second of it.

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Memories & History Made: Remembering the 2017 Predators Playoff Run

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Image Source: NHL.com

As Garth Brooks once (and probably still does) sang, “I could’ve missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” And what a beautiful dance it was for the Nashville Predators; one might even use the word “GLORIOUS” (all caps needed) to describe the unbelievable run that was the road to the Stanley Cup. Alas, the dance was abruptly cut short just two wins shy of the ultimate prize. And while it is easy to be bitter – be it termed salty nowadays – one cannot look back and be disappointed. The Predators barely scratched their way into a playoff spot – number 16 of 16 to be exact – and somehow defied the odds (and the experts) by sweeping the Blackhawks, bashing the Blues, defeating the Ducks, and landing in the Stanley Cup Final. This postseason brought more than just a city together, it brought a state, a region – one could even say – an entire hockey nation together. It certainly put Nashville in a spotlight that couldn’t be ignored and, once exposed, there was no returning that (saber tooth) cat to the bag.

It’s taken me three days, but I’ve gathered some of the best memories of the Nashville Predators’ outstanding push to the Stanley Cup Final. It’s funny what can be forgotten over a period of two months, so reflecting back on all of it kind of took the sting out of watching Crosby hoist the Cup in Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. So please enjoy this trip down Memory Lane with me and be warned, some of the video clips have not been censored. This is hockey, after all.

  1. The Sweeping of Chicago

The experts were all against us. Everyone was prepared for an early Nashville exit. Everyone except for the Predators. Sweeping a divisional rival is pretty huge to begin with, but having it be a team like the Chicago Blackhawks? This sweep was only the beginning to Nashville’s historic playoff push and it couldn’t have happened in a better fashion. No Chelsea Dagger was ever heard.

And of course, after the historic sweep of Public Enemy #1, people began to wonder where Jordin Tootoo disappeared to after making this comment before the series even began:

2. Fiddler, McLeod & Harry Z: The Heroes Nashville Needs

Three unlikely heroes were born during this postseason. Their names? Vernon Fiddler, Cody McLeod, and Harry Zolniercyzk. While you expect multiple goals from guys like Johansen, Subban, Forsberg, and the like, it was these three guys who played significant roles this postseason to push Nashville to its first Stanley Cup Final.

3. #DoItForKevin

Kevin Fiala has a bright future in Nashville and boy, did he light that fire during the playoffs when he was given the chance. No one can forget it was Fiala who helped Nashville sweep Chicago with his beautiful overtime goal. Sadly, his playoff run was cut short in the second round against the St. Louis Blues when a slam into the boards resulted in a fractured femur. The team made sure to fight on in honor of their young winger, taking out the Blues in six games.

4. This Corey Perry GIF

No real reason other than I truly enjoy watching this over and over.

5. Pekka being Pekka

“Rinne Wall”, “The Eraser”, “ImPEKKAble”. Whatever you call him, Pekka Rinne is a gift from somewhere else (see Finland) that tends to defy gravity and all human logic when it comes to minding the net. Here are a few examples of Rinne’s inhuman abilities caught on camera (along with a cameo from #MonsterBlock):

6. Captain Ellis (@Ellis4Captain)

Unless you are living under a rock (or just haven’t joined Twitter), there’s no way you missed the absolute gold from this parody account. The tweets are posed as a Civil War soldier writing to his mother on the front lines of battle, which magically paired well with its hockey theme. The comically Photo-Shopped images that accompany the tweets only further solidified this account into Twitter history.

7. #TEAMTN Love

The Tennessee Titans have not shied away from showing its love its professional counterpart across the Cumberland, with players appearing throughout the regular season taking in a match. However, it was the postseason that really brought that love out in the open, especially with the Titans Offensive Line. But beyond the beer chugging, catfish loving NFL players, the Memphis Grizzlies expressed their support, along with the Nashville Sounds. The #TeamTN love even extended to Atlanta, where the Braves sent their support as well. Sorry, diehard (clingers) Thrashers fans.

8. Ilya Bryzgalov

The Bryz. Where to begin with that guy? To avoid going to deep into the cosmos with everyone’s favorite Russian (feel free to look up anything involving the universe and bears with his name attached), let’s just say his visit to Nashville during the Stanley Cup Final was everything we could have ever dreamed of. Check out his videos below and – again – I encourage you to YouTube him for even more hilarity.

9. Instrument of Crime

Will we ever be able to associate catfish with anything else ever again? Let’s be honest: Pittsburgh had this coming. By baring folks with Tennessee licenses from purchasing catfish at local markets, you pretty much asked for it. Jake Deveral, better known as Catfish Jake, just happened to be visiting family in nearby Ohio when it occurred to him that he’d be in the area during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Purchasing a catfish in Nashville, Jake transported the mudcat up to Ohio and then over to Pittsburgh in his britches. Using Old Spice to cover the smell, Jake was able to smuggle the contraband into PPG Paints Arena and chuck it onto the ice. Deveral was escorted promptly from the building, but not all was over. A Pittsburgh judge slapped Catfish Jake with fines, which included “possession of an instrument of crime”. Long story short, the charges were dropped, but not before “Instruments of Crime” became a part of Predators history.

10. These Poor Penguins Fans

We won’t go into that “pumped in noise” conspiracy as these two fine Pens fans are a clear example of that bull-honky.

11. Best in the West

Bitter as you may all still be, there are plenty of good things to recall from this playoff run including that your Nashville Predators – coming in as the 8th seed – are officially the Best in the West for the 2016-17 season. Awarded the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl on home ice after defeating the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6, the Nashville Predators will officially have their first banner at Bridgestone Arena at the beginning of the 2017-18 season. While the ultimate goal was not met, one cannot dismiss this history-making moment.

12. Ryan Johansen

Yes, Ryan Johansen needed his own segment. Whether he was chirping with Kesler or notching goals, Johansen’s presence on the ice (and off) was exactly what Nashville needed in this postseason. We could pull the “what-ifs” about where Nashville would be at this moment had he not suffered from acute compartment syndrome, which required emergency surgery after Game 4 against Anaheim. Even after being sidelined for the remainder of the postseason, Johansen’s presence in the locker room kept the team on its toes. You just can’t help but love him and wish he had been around to help Subban get under Crosby’s skin in the Final.

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Photo Source: @PKSubban1

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Photo Source: Brooks Bratten, Nashville Predators

13. The Beautiful People

Oh, they tried, but no other NHL team was able to produce the star power that Nashville was able to garner throughout these playoffs. While some were new to the program, most of Nashville’s “beautiful people” didn’t just jump on the wagon in April. Notable names like Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Carrie Underwood (obviously), and Kelly Clarkson have been active at games for years. Let’s also not forget to mention Rex Ryan, of all people, is a season ticket holder. While we didn’t include all the famous folks here, it is safe to say there was definitely a FOMO about Nashville.

14. Listerine Fights Bad Breath

Let’s begin by saying, when P.K. Subban was asked by a reporter as to what he and Sidney Crosby were chatting about on the ice, do you honestly believe he would repeat what was actually said? No. For one, it’s an in-the-moment conversation (if you want to call it that) and two, it isn’t for the faint of heart. Being a quick-on-his-toes kind of guy, Subban casually mentions that Crosby just didn’t care for his breath. Needless to say, the story took on a life of its own and Listerine got a nice little plug it didn’t expect. It is fair to say there was a Listerine booth outside Bridgestone Arena before Game 6 last Sunday.

15. Lavi Fist Pumps

No explanation needed as to why this made the list. BOOM.

16. #FireMilbury

To avoid firing myself up, I will not go into detail as to why Mike Milbury needs to be fired from NBC Sports, because I have a feeling you probably know why as well. There are many speculations as to why Milbury does not care for Subban and none of them are good enough to stand a solid reasoning. Whether it’s because he’s “old school” or what have you, his comments are not good for the growth of this sport, especially when it comes to minority viewers. Predators fans (and fans of other teams) made their opinions of the “shoe beater” known with signs and special words after Game 6.

17. Knoxville

While cities across the state hosted watch parties and cheered on the Predators, including Cookeville, Chattanooga, Clarksville, Lebanon, etc., it is Knoxville who deserves a blurb on this list. Some have chalked up the enthusiasm as the city was just hungry for a championship (see 1998), whatever it was, Knoxville came out swinging in support of its brother to the west. As TV ratings began to come out after games, Knoxville continuously appeared in the top 5 cities watching the series, hitting double digits. Perhaps the combination of that winning hunger and the fact that the Predators and the Knoxville Ice Bears have such a great relationship helped open the eyes of many of our East Tennessee brethren to the greatness that is NHL hockey.

18. Dennis K. Morgan

Again, this is another topic that needs to be on the list, but I don’t particularly feel obligated to go into details about. Apparently approached by The Tennessean, regular anthem singer, Dennis K. Morgan, expressed his displeasure in being passed over by “A-List” singers during the playoffs. Needless to say, there weren’t many fans that came to his rescue and there’s a highly good chance the Predators will be searching for a new anthem singer for the 2017-18 season. If you missed this moment or want to relive the head-smacking, read the article below:

19. Goodwill amidst the Battle:

Although the Stanley Cup was the main focus, one cannot forget to mention the goodwill that came about throughout the postseason as well. During Round 2 against the Blues, the city of St. Louis was hit by historic floods. As a city that once faced our own thousand-year flood, it was only understandable that Predators CEO/President Sean Henry would partner with his Blues counterpart to help collect funds through auctions to assist in the relief. One particular feelgood moment that you may have missed was when Matt Irwin replaced a kid’s hockey gear after he heard that it had been stolen. Another heartfelt moment came just last week when Mike Fisher and Roman Josi visited their tiniest fan who was battling cancer. Sadly, the young boy passed away on Monday.

20. Good Gravy Goals

While some other good gravy goals have been scattered throughout this list, here are a few that didn’t fit anywhere else but are just too good to pass up and forget.

21. GLORIOUS

The word ‘GLORIOUS’ (again, all caps needed) has become almost synonymous with the Nashville Predators’ playoff run and I am betting it will be on the level of “All I do is Win” and “Run this Town” for future seasons. Nashville’s Game Ops enjoys their wrestling theme songs, but this one more than just stuck, it took on a life of its own. In my understanding, it was first played at Bridgestone Arena after Bobby Roode, the wrestler for whom this song belongs, performed in a Predators jersey against another wrestler donning a Blues jersey. Don’t quote me on that, but ever since that match, “Glorious” became Nashville’s anthem as they marched towards the Cup.

22. Hockey History

There’s no doubt this was a history making postseason for the Nashville Predators. While compiling all of the history would take a post of its own, here are a few notable records that Nashville broke and look to break again next season.

23. The 7th Man

And last, but certainly not least, we want to celebrate you, the 7th Man. You are what not only blew the minds of the hockey world, but the globe in general. There is no denying that Nashville is a hockey city; you just can’t argue it. While some have certainly tried, their negativism has been easily drown out by the Standing O and the thousands of fans outside of the arena. While we know the chants created by Cellblock 303 are nothing new, it came as a rude awakening to many an opposing fan, player, and members of the media. And while some were disgruntled by our “nontraditional” fan base, the majority were completely amazed and overwhelmed by your passion. Below are just some of the moments you blew the rest of the hockey world out of contention.

Looking back, it is amazing to see everything the Predators were able to accomplish in a matter of a few months not only for our city, but for the hockey world as well. NBC certainly can’t be mad at what Nashville brought to its ratings, and nor can the NHL. While this chapter in Predators history comes to a close, it certainly isn’t the end of the book. The Predators have the recipe in place to create another historic Stanley Cup run and we cannot wait for October to get that party started.

Nashville falls to Colorado 5-3

Image Source: Nashville Predators

Image Source: Nashville Predators

Everyone likes Fridays, but this one was a little extra special for Predators fans as newly acquired “savior of all things offense” Ryan Johansen would be making his debut in Nashville gold against the Colorado Avalanche. While we certainly didn’t expect Johansen to come out guns a blazing, the kid had other plans:

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Ryan Johansen decided 2:35 was the best time to show off his skills, notching his first shot as a Predator and his first goal (7th of the season) on the power play. Mattias Ekholm (10) and Mike Ribeiro (22) notch the assist on the new Predator’s goal. What beautiful patience.

  • Roman Josi would block a shot from captain Gabriel Landeskog shortly after Johansen’s goal, sending him to the locker room. Luckily, Josi would return to the bench.

  • Jarome Iginla would collect his 601st goal of his career (12th of the season) at 14:50 on the power play, tying the game at one.
  • A few minutes later, at 17:45, Cody McLeod would notch his seventh goal of the season, ending the first period 2-1 in favor of Colorado.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Ryan Ellis would light the lamp early at 2:45 with a wicked wrister, tying the game at two. Mattias Ekholm (11) and Colin Wilson (12) collect the assists on Ellis’s fifth goal of the season.

  • Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog would give the Avalanche another lead at 7:40 for his 10th goal of the season.
  • Filip Forsberg would notch his 11th goal of the season at 16:37, tying the game once again. Roman Josi (22) and Ryan Johansen (21) would pick up the assists. Note, this is Johansen’s first assist with the Predators.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Pekka Rinne would make some Pekka-esque moves – along with the help of Eric Nystrom – to keep the Avalanche from scoring early in the third:
    https://twitter.com/MCHisTweeting/status/685675180870471681
  • Despite Rinne’s exceptional moves, Tyson Barrie’s power play goal at 11:00 gave Colorado the lead once again.
  • Jack Skille would notch the empty-netter with just two seconds left in the match, sealing the game in favor of Colorado.

Despite the back-and-forth scoring between both clubs, the Predators could not regain the lead after Ryan Johansen’s initial goal in the first period and fell to the Avalanche 5-3. Though Johansen’s goal should have given Nashville a boost, it seemed as if the team did not respond well to the advantage. Penalties ravaged both clubs, with the Predators managing to tally six of the nine during the match. Within those six penalties, Colorado was able to score on three, essentially costing Nashville the win. However, looking at the bright side, Ryan Johansen looked great in his debut, collecting two points overall (1 G, 1 A).

Nashville will have to lick their wounds on the way to the airport as they take on the Arizona Coyotes tomorrow night in Phoenix.

The Predators Wipe Out Avalanche 4-2

Patric Hornqvist battles against former Predator Shane O'Brien

After a rough game against the L.A. Kings on Tuesday, the Predators needed a jolt on the ice to get the momentum going once again. Although currently 2nd in the Northwest Division and coming off a two-win streak against the Wild, the Avalanche have been a bit iffy this season. However, the Avalanche are not one to sit back and take a beating and Thursday’s game proved to be one with attitude. Here are the highlights from Thursday’s game against the Mile High team:

KEY POINTS:

  • Another night for plenty of healthy scratches, including Colin Wilson. Along with Wilson, the scratch list included Brian McGrattan, Craig Smith, Kevin Klein, and Jack Hillen. Although a healthy scratch, Klein is still suffering from an upper-body injury, but has yet to be placed on the IR.
  • Colorado started the night off with a goal at 1:14 with a wrist shot from Jamie McGinn for his 16th goal of the season.
  • The Predators quickly responded with their own goal at 2:54 with a wrist shot from Mike Fisher for his 20th goal of the season. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter picked up the assists on Fish’s goal.
  • Brandon Yip finished out the 1st Period with a tip-in past Semyon Varlamov at 6:58. After being credited to Roman Josi, it was finally rewarded to Yip for his 2nd goal of the season. Roman Josi and Gabriel Bourque picked up the assists.
  • The Avalanche came out with their pants on fire during the second, but not with shots on goal. In fact, the Predators out-shot Colorado 13 to 9 in the 2nd. Instead, the Avalanche took to throwing elbows and finally, at 19:43, Jordin Tootoo and Cody McLeod dropped the gloves and threw the fists.

    Unfortunately, Toots didn’t fair too well against McLeod, but it did get the crowd stirred up quite a bit. It also got the Predators fired up a bit, too.
  • While at even play with both McLeod and Tootoo taking the fighting penalty, Sergei Kostitsyn sealed his 17th goal of the season with a wrist shot at 19:28. Not only did SK74 put the team up 3-1, he also captured the elusive Goo Goo Goal. Matt Halischuk was the lone assist on SK74’s Goo Goo Goal.
  • The feisty Avalanche would continue to pressure the Predators into the 3rd Period, with Paul Stastny sealing his 17th goal of the season at 4:58.
  • Martin Erat would nail his 16th goal of the season on the empty-netter at 19:16, ending the game in the Predators’ favor 4-2. Paul Gaustad was the lone assist on Erat’s empty-netter.
  • The Predators, although bruised and blooded by the Avalanche, still managed to out-shoot Colorado in every single period, ending the game with 31 shots to Colorado’s 17. Pekka Rinne returned to his usual self after a rough game on Tuesday night, blocking 15 of the 17 shots.
  • Along with plentiful shots on goal, the Predators also managed to stay out of the penalty box more than two times. Colorado gave the Predators four penalty opportunities, none of which were capitalized on. Former Predator, Shane O’Brien found himself in the penalty box twice, once for interference, then for hooking. Here are the two penalty box lovers:
  1. Jordin Tootoo – 18:31 2nd Period – Fighting
  2. Mike Fisher – 19:43 2nd Period – Roughing

The Predators have beaten the Avalanche all three times this season and will see Colorado one last time during the season on April 7th in Denver.

The Predators finish up at home on Saturday as the Detroit Red Wings come storming into Nashville at 7PM.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)