2017 NHL All-Star Roster Announced

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Image Source: NBC Sports

Moments ago, the NHL released the final roster of the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles January 28th-29th. Not surprisingly, Nashville has only one player on said roster: P.K. Subban, who was voted by the fans as the Central Division Captain. And, with his upper-body injury slated to be healed by the All-Star Weekend, Subban may have to relinquish his captain duties to someone else for safety’s sake.

– CENTRAL DIVISION

  • P.K. Subban – Nashville Predators
  • Corey Crawford – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota Wild
  • Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
  • Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues
  • Patrik Laine – Winnipeg Jets
  • Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche
  • Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars

 

– ATLANTIC DIVISION:

  • Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
  • Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins
  • Victor Hedman – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Shea Weber – Montreal Canadiens
  • Erik Karlsson – Ottawa Senators
  • Frans Nielsen – Detroit Red Wings
  • Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Vincent Trocheck – Florida Panthers
  • Auston Matthews – Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Kyle Okposo – Buffalo Sabres
  • Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins

– PACIFIC DIVISION:

  • Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
  • Martin Jones – San Jose Sharks
  • Mike Smith – Arizona Coyotes
  • Cam Fowler – Anaheim Ducks
  • Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks
  • Drew Doughty – L.A. Kings
  • Ryan Kesler – Anaheim Ducks
  • Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks
  • Jeff Carter – L.A. Kings
  • Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
  • Bo Horvat – Vancouver Canucks

– METROPOLITAN DIVISION:

  • Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Braden Holtby – Washington Capitals
  • Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Evgeni Malkin – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Wayne Simmonds – Philadelphia Flyers
  • John Tavares – New York Islanders
  • Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
  • Ryan McDonagh – New York Rangers
  • Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
  • Taylor Hall – New Jersey Devils
  • Seth Jones – Columbus Blue Jackets

What do you think about the roster for this year’s All-Star Weekend? Nashville isn’t the only team with one representative, but if you want to include former Preds (Ryan Suter, Devan Dubnyk, Seth Jones, and Shea Weber), then Nashville’s actually pretty well represented.

All joking aside, the big question is will Subban be healthy enough to participate? As mentioned, his 2-3 week recovery time ends at about the time of the All-Star festivities, but should not participate if it risks re-injury (thus keeping him out of the lineup even longer). Of course, that will be something the organization and Subban discuss as time gets closer.

 

 

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NSH trades Weber to MTL for Subban

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Yes, you read that headline correctly. Just days after winning the 2016 Mark Messier Leadership Award, Shea Weber has been traded in a deal with the Montreal Canadiens for fellow defenseman Pernell Karl Subban, better known around the world as P.K.

For me personally, I am finding myself in a glass case of emotions… On one hand, this is an outstanding trade. Subban is undoubtedly one of the best defenseman in the league and snagging him from Montreal would be insane. On the other hand, in order to snag someone like Subban, you’ve got to have something just as valuable in return. That valuable piece? Either Shea Weber or Roman Josi. As much as we’d all love to imagine having all three together, it’s just impossible on too many levels. And with that, our beloved captain has been traded to Montreal and the rumors of “when will Weber be traded?” have come to an end on this day, June 29th, 2016.

Unlike the laughable trade that came an hour earlier between the Edmonton Oilers and the New Jersey Devils (one-for-one Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson deal), this trade is good for both parties involved. Montreal receives a powerful, veteran defenseman and Nashville gets a younger, more offensive-minded defenseman that will pair well with Roman Josi in return.

Here’s a little info on P.K. Subban from the Predators:

Subban, 27 (5/13/89), is among the most decorated defensemen in the game today. Individually, he won the 2013 Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, was a finalist for the award in 2015, is a two-time First-Team NHL All-Star (2013 and 2015) and a 2011 All-Rookie Team selection. He has helped teams win a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics and a pair of World Junior Championships (2008 and 2009). Over the past four seasons – dating back to 2012-13 – the 6-foot, 210-pound blueliner has amassed 203 points (42g-160a) in 274 regular-season games, third most among all NHL defensemen. He has surpassed the 50-point mark in each of the past three seasons, highlighted by a career-high 60 points (15g-45a) in 2014-15. He has advanced past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his last two appearances in the postseason, ranking fourth among NHL blueliners in points (5g-9a-14pts) in 2014, helping Montreal reach the Eastern Conference Final.

A native of Toronto, Subban started his professional career in 2009-10, being named to the AHL All-Rookie Team and an AHL First-Team All-Star after leading all league blueliners in goals (18) and ranking third in points. The 43rd overall selection in the 2007 NHL Draft (second round) played four seasons with the OHL’s Belleville Bulls from 2005-09, posting 190 points (42g-148a) in 234 games and being named a 2009 First-Team OHL All-Star.

Subban has also become renowned for his charitable contributions, and recently received the 2016 NHL Foundation Award which is presented to “an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community.” In September 2015, he announced a $10 million pledge over a seven-year period to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation (MCHF), and often employs various initiatives to engage the community and raise awareness about those causes nearest to him.

That’s right. If somehow you missed this piece of information about a year ago, P.K. Subban is quite the charitable giver and will be a huge asset to the Nashville community as well. So you get elite defenseman + all around nice guy. Can’t beat that, right?

Shea Weber will be truly missed. Drafted 49th overall in the 2003 NHL Draft by the Predators, Weber has been an integrated figure in the Nashville community and the Predators organization for nearly ten years. It really hasn’t set in that he has been traded, but I am sure as the pre-season festivities begin, it’ll hit us all pretty hard. As a writer, I am supposed to keep my heart out of moments like these, but I am also still a fan. It is hard not to become attached to players; it’s like a friend moving away. It sucks. But alas dear Weber fans, you will be okay. Trust me, you’ll love P.K. Subban.

Preds crush Blues 5-0

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Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

There’s no doubt St. Louis Blues fans travel well; at least to Nashville, anyway. And, with it being a rare Saturday afternoon game, there was certainly no shortage of Blues fans in the Bridgestone Arena for today’s match up. As I heard a St. Louis fan near me, “Well, looks like St. Louis’ll have the home advantage tonight!” I couldn’t help but giggle as the Predators silenced the Blues travelers from the moment the puck dropped.

As I mentioned in my previous post regarding the victory over Chicago in the United Center, Pekka Rinne has undoubtedly regained his groove and today’s game only helped solidify this notion. While Nashville certainly came out with more fire than the Blues both offensively and defensively, Rinne was still put to the test several times. Notching his fourth shutout this season, Rinne put a stop to all 28 shots on goal from the St. Louis Blues, while his fellow teammates snagged four goals on Jake Allen and one on backup Pheonix (yes, that’s spelled correctly) Copley. Attributing to Rinne’s rebound is Carter Hutton’s impressive performance of late, which has given Pekka a chance to rest — something he’s needed desperately. With division-leading Dallas coming in Tuesday, Rinne will certainly need to be net, but Hutton should definitely be called to lead against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

Moving on to goal scoring, Craig Smith would get Nashville started early in the game, notching his 14th goal of the season at 5:39. Mike Ribeiro (34) and Filip Forsberg (20) would collect the assists. Smith’s goal would be the only snagged in the first period, but that didn’t mean there was a lack of momentum by a long shot.

The man of the hour, Filip Forsberg, would essentially own the second period, collecting his second natural hat trick in this week alone. That’s a feat that hasn’t be done since Peter Bondra did it in eight games back in the 1987-88 season. Yeah, I wasn’t even born yet and Forsberg wasn’t even a glimmer in his mother’s eye. Naturally, this was also a first in Predators history as Forsberg is the first to register multiple hat tricks in one season.

I have to hand it to you, Mr. Poile. Martin Erat, who demanded a trade to anywhere as long as he could get out of Nashville (so he could have a chance to win a Stanley Cup) is now sitting on six goals with Omsk Avangard in the KHL. Nashville snagged a questionable rookie from Washington who turned out to be arguably one of the best forwards in the league while Erat mustered a total of two goals with Washington before demanding to be traded from there, too. As long as Forsberg continues to perform in the manner that he is, I’d hang my hat on this trade too, David Poile.

Craig Smith and Filip Forsberg aren’t the only two to score today for Nashville, oh no. The long awaited goal from Colin Wilson came at 4:37 in the third period, his fifth of the season. Wilson’s name has been pretty prominent of late, mostly due to being involved with trade talks; more specifically, a trade between he and former Predator Scott Hartnell. While only one reputable source has mentioned this trade with some sort of seriousness, as of 8:50PM, neither team has budged. Of course, Kevin Fiala’s name has been brought up in the rumors as well, but until some big names start shuffling the news, I am not reporting it. Any who, Colin Wilson was definitely due and collecting Nashville’s 5-0 game winning goal may be the boost he needs to find his groove. Rinne found his, after all, and it looks like Craig Smith is, too.

With this win, Nashville is now just six points behind the Blues and just eight points behind Chicago. Also, the Predators have the best record in the Central Division for the month of February: 7-3-3.  It is funny to think that this time last year, Nashville had hit their seasonal rut and were slowly losing their hold of the League and Central Division. Sadly, as we are all very much aware, Nashville could not get out of the rut in time to clinch the Central Division after holding it for so long.

As Nashville pulls itself together just in time for the playoff run, the organization isn’t going to find itself with many chances to relax. Division-leading Dallas comes in Tuesday, then its a bout with the Devils Thursday, then Nashville takes off on a five-game road trip out west. But this is the best the Predators have looked all season. Be excited. The road to the playoffs comes fast.

Predators Top Devils 3-1

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Three games into the young 2015-16 and the Predators are off to a great lead… but all three games thus far have been more or less sleepers. Should it be something to worry over or ignore since the W’s keep coming? There are a ton of arguments to be made here: for one, it’s just three games into the season; two, not all games are going to be nail-biters (and anxiety inducers); and three, the Predators are getting the job done nonetheless.

However, what happens when they do enter those nail-biters? The all-too familiar lethargic second and third periods are going to catch up to them sooner rather than later and hopefully, Nashville will be able to adapt and quickly. It may be one of those instances that we’ll just have to “cross that bridge” when we get there.

Looking at the positives, however, Roman Josi is proving why he is the most underrated defenseman in the NHL by notching two of Nashville’s goals tonight:

May we also mention that Pekka Rinne picked up an assist on Josi’s second goal.
Eric Nystrom collected the third goal of the night on an empty-netter, shortly after Kyle Palmieri put New Jersey on the board.

The power play and penalty kill continue to impress, which is fantastic. But we don’t have to tell you that, because you already know.

Let us also not fail to mention that this was Mike Ribeiro’s 950th NHL career game. That, my friends, is a lot of games.

A brief post? Yes, sir. The Predators move on to New York to take on the Islanders Thursday night at 6pm. More goals in that game, perhaps? The fan in me says, “Hey, I don’t care how many goals they score as long as they come out with the two points.” The blogger in me says, “Yeah, but when is that going to bite them in the butt?”

2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Review

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Columbus, Ohio was the place to be this weekend has the city hosted the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend. As you know, Nashville was chosen as the host city for the 2016 ASG Weekend, which will be an event on its own. But until then, let’s recap the fun that happened this weekend in Columbus… Oh, and for the sake of keeping this post from being ninety pages long, we’ll stick to Nashville’s accomplishments:

Team Foligno:

  • Nick Foligno – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Brian Elliot – St. Louis Blues
  • Marc-Andre Fleury – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
  • Drew Doughty – L.A. Kings
  • Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Kevin Shattenkirk – St. Louis Blues
  • Dustin Byfuglien – Winnipeg Jets
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Arizona Coyotes
  • Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Edmonton Oilers
  • Bobby Ryan – Ottawa Senators
  • Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
  • Anze Kopitar – L.A. Kings
  • Radim Vrabata – Vancouver Canucks
  • Ryan Johansen – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Zemgus Girgensons – Buffalo Sabres
  • Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers
  • Phil Kessel – Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Coaching Staff: Darryl Sutter – L.A. Kings

Team Toews:

  • Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Corey Crawford – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Roberto Luongo – Florida Panthers
  • Jaroslav Halak – New York Islanders
  • Aaron Ekblad – Florida Panthers
  • Mark Giordano – Calgary Flames
  • Shea Weber – Nashville Predators
  • Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
  • Brent Seabrook – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
  • Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
  • Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators
  • Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks
  • Patrik Elias – New Jersey Devils
  • Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins
  • Rick Nash – New York Rangers
  • Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars
  • Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues
  • Jakub Vorachek – Philadelphia Flyers
  • John Tavares – New York Islanders
  • Coaching Staff – Peter Laviolette – Nashville Predators

As you recall, Pekka Rinne was not included in the All-Star “draft” due to sustaining a knee sprain. Because Filip Forsberg was chosen last for Team Toews, he was the lucky winner of a brand new Honda Accord. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also won a new Honda, as he was chosen last for Team Foligno.

Source: @NHL

Source: @NHL

Saturday – Skills Competition – Winner: Team Foligno

Despite a good show by Team Toews, it was Team Foligno who reigned in the Skills Competition held on Saturday evening. Both Weber and Forsberg participated in the relay and shootout, but it was Weber who shined – not surprisingly – during the Hardest Shot round.

Shea originally missed his first shot, but more than nailed his second attempt, clocking his shot at 108.5 MPH. Weber certainly won the competition, but missed notching the hardest shot ever recorded, which is held by Zdeno Chara at 108.8 MPH. Forsberg shined in the relay portion, showing off his crazy insane puck-handling skills.

Sunday – All-Star Game – Winner: Team Toews

Though the fell short in the Skills Competition, Team Toews out-powered Team Foligno by a long shot during the actual All-Star Game, winning 17-12. And, believe it or not, though the All-Star Game tends to always have a ton of goals, this was the highest scoring game in its history. Filip Forsberg’s two goals helped get Team Toews to the win, the first goals scored by a Nashville Predator in an All-Star Game. Shea Weber also notched an assist off of Tyler Seguin’s goal.

From the World Wide World of Twitter:

So that’s a wrap on the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend. Next Stop: Nashville! But before then, the Predators must press forward with the remainder of this season and push into the playoffs. Pekka Rinne should also be re-evaluated soon, along with Ryan Ellis. The Predators return to the regular season this Tuesday as they welcome in the Colorado Avalanche at 7PM.

Preds thwart Brodeur’s NHL Return 4-3

Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

After falling hard on their butts in Raleigh against the Hurricanes Tuesday night, the Predators returned home to face an all too familiar foe this season; the St. Louis Blues. Now, you’re probably thinking (or saying), “This is old news; the Blues have been in the Central Division longer than the Preds have been in existence.” True, but when was the last time Nashville and St. Louis became the equivalent of “big brother vs. little brother”, knocking each other for first place in the hearts of mom and dad (A.K.A. the Central Division)? In my personal opinion, Chicago took on the role of “big brother” after Detroit left for the Wild, Wild… East(ern) Conference. Though Chicago [fans] is still a pain in the rear end, this season has definitely been a “Nashville vs. St. Louis” for keeps and it doesn’t look like either side is going to back off any time soon.

Coming into Nashville on a four-game hot streak, St. Louis is just about cruising along, picking up NHL veteran goaltender (and household name) Martin Brodeur this week. Brodeur spent the last twenty-one *twenty-one* years with the New Jersey Devils organization until entering free agency after the end of last season. This man has won the Stanley Cup three times, won the Vezina Trophy four times, the William M. Jennings Trophy five times, and a multitude of other ones on top of those mentioned. In a word, the man’s a legend and will end up in the Hall of Fame sooner rather than later.

Okay, let’s get off the Marty Brodeur kicker and move on to the game
(warning: potato-quality .gif overload below):

First Period:

  • Vladimir Tarasenko started the Blues off in the right direction at 5:46 for his fifteenth goal of the season.
  • After Tarasenko’s goal, Coach Peter Laviolette called a time out to essentially remind the Predators that they had left Raleigh a day ago and it was time to wake up and get in the game.

    "Uh... Y'all know we're playing for real, right?"

    “Uh… Y’all know we’re playing for real, right?”

  • Apparently, Laviolette’s pep talked did some magic because Filip Forsberg would match Tarasenko at 14:10 with his eleventh goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro (14) would nab the lone assist on Forsberg’s goal.
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  • Eric Nystrom would give Nashville the 2-1 lead with just fifty-seven seconds left in the first period for his fifth goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro (15) and Mike Fisher (1) would collect the assists.
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Second Period:

  • Mike Ribeiro (who apparently took a lot from Laviolette’s pep talk) started the second period out in favor of Nashville, nailing his eight goal of the season at 1:25. James Neal (6) and Filip Forsberg (14) would do some assisting.
    MIKE
  • Ah, but Vladimir Tarasenko would retaliate at 3:51 for his second goal of the night.

Third Period:

  • With a breakaway sent from the Hockey Gods, Colin Wilson nailed a backhander on Brodeur at 9:30 for his fifth goal of the season. Roman Josi (11) and Craig Smith (8) helped assist #33 in the breakaway.
    COLIND
  • Jaden Schwartz would give St. Louis a reason to fight at 12:32, putting the Blues within one of tying with Nashville.

Unfortunately for the Blues, their four-game winning streak would end as Nashville was able to hold off the extra attacker to seal the victory and the Central Division lead. With this victory, Nashville is now 17-6-2 on the season where St. Louis has now fallen to 16-8-2. Ah, but Nashville is back at it on Saturday night as the Chicago Blackhawks bop into town.

Preds Sign Volchenkov; Fisher Out 4-6 Months

PicMonkey Collage

After a relatively quiet 4th of July weekend, the Predators have been awfully active for a Monday afternoon. An hour or so ago, the Predators announced the signing of veteran defenseman, Anton Volchenkov for a one-year, $1 million contract. Volchenkov, a native of Russia, was offered a KHL contract with SKA St. Petersburg if no team from the NHL showed interest, but Nashville snatched him up for a good price — his former contract with the New Jersey Devils was a 6-year, $25.5 million. The left-handed Volchenkov will probably land on the second line and pair with right-hander Seth Jones for now.

On to more pressing news is the loss of Mike Fisher, who suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon thus placing him on the IR for at least 4-6 months… ouch. Fisher, who has been weighing his career options, may find this is the turning point to retire early, but we shall see. Fisher had his surgery to repair the torn tendon last Thursday, July 3rd. As you may imagine, now that this news is out, rumors of Nashville taking a stab at veteran, Vincent Lecavalier are becoming more and more heated. Personally, I don’t think it’ll happen, but with David Poile at the helm, anything is possible.

We will continue to update as more information on both players becomes available.

More than just a Goalie Problem: Preds Shutout Twice in a Row

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

There’s no question that Nashville misses Pekka Rinne, but is it really just an absent five-star goalie that is slowly digging the Predators into a deeper hole? Sorry, but it isn’t. As easy as it is to blame Pekka Rinne’s hip infection for the reason Nashville has been imploding, it’s not the whole truth.

There is no reason for me to go over the highlights of the Winnipeg & New Jersey games, due in part there weren’t any highlights (for Nashville, anyway). For a team the Predators skated past twice this season, a trip to Winnipeg was supposed to be a no brainer on this 17-day road trip. And that, my friends, is the kind of thinking that gets you killed; or, in this case, completely and utterly dominated 5-0. You could almost say that’s exactly what the Jets were hoping for when the Predators came strutting into Winnipeg. One possible highlight from that game? Marek Mazanec got his NHL debut after Carter Hutton was pulled after 8:23 of pure torture.

And, after the embarrassing outcome in Winnipeg, Nashville took a second beating in Newark, losing yet another 5-0 matchup. Carter Hutton was again given the go in goal, but just couldn’t keep the Devils from racking up the goals. And don’t think I’m targeting Hutton; oh no. This is not only goalie error, but defensive error, too. The reason Pekka Rinne is known affectionately as “The Eraser” is because he is constantly erasing Nashville’s defensive errors. Pekka just has a knack for picking up where the defense leaves off and poor Hutton just hasn’t mastered that strange ability yet. It’s not that Carter can’t stop goals, he just needs more help from his teammates, who have always slacked just a bit.

So what’s next? The Islanders, who haven’t beaten Nashville in regulation since 2002, are up next on the schedule then one last stop in Pittsburgh against the Penguins. Oh, and let me note that the last stop in Pittsburgh is back-to-back with a visit from the Chicago Blackhawks. No pressure, Preds.

One last thing: Check out this video of Rich Clune’s tussle with Winnipeg’s Adam Pardy. Blood.

Preds vs. the 2013 Draft

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The much anticipated 2013 NHL Draft is just around the corner on June 30th, and rumors of who will nab who are floating around the Internets, clogging our Twitter feeds and Facebook walls.
So, say you’re new to this whole “draft” thing. You just started following hockey within the last few seasons or are just now getting interested in more than just the gameday routine. Well, here’s a background on the 2013 Draft in a nutshell:

Hockey players born between January 1, 1993 and September 15, 1995 are eligible for selection in this year’s draft. Along with those players, any un-drafted players over the age of 20 are also eligible for the draft on June 30th, as long as they are not from North America. And, last but not least, any players who were drafted in the 2011 Draft but were not signed by an NHL team who were born after June 30, 1993 are eligible to re-enter this year’s draft.

The NHL hosts a “Draft Lottery” every year to determine who will get the first overall pick in the Draft. All fourteen teams that did not qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs were given “weighted” chances towards the first pick, with the Colorado Avalanche winning the coveted first choice.

The Draft order ranks as follows (Top 10):
Colorado Avalanche
Florida Panthers
Tampa Bay Lightning
Nashville Predators
Carolina Hurricanes
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Buffalo Sabres
New Jersey Devils
Dallas Stars

We’d go through all 30 teams, but that would make this an extremely long post and would stray from the original point. Anywho, as you can see, our tried and true Predators have the No. 4 pick, which is a relatively relieving position to be in… IF the organization chooses wisely.
Wait- How can Nashville possible go wrong? A chance at any of the top four picks in the draft; there’s no way. Oh, with Nashville’s history of choosing “defensively”, so to say, there’s a definite way, alright. But let’s give our guys a break and put some faith behind them, shall we? Here are the top 5 prospects in this year’s Draft:

NORTH AMERICAN
Seth Jones (D)
Nathan MacKinnon (C)
Jonathan Drouin (LW)
Darnell Nurse (D)
Sean Monahan (C)

EUROPEAN:
Alexander Barkov, Jr. (C)
Valeri Nichushkin (RW)
Elias Lindholm (C)
Rasmus Ristolainen (D)
Alexander Wennberg (C)

Now, you would assume that Colorado would go for Seth Jones, the prospected No. 1 pick, right? Well, in the last few days, Colorado has began to back away from the young defenseman, claiming that their options are “open” to any of the top prospect, not just Jones. Though the chances of him, if Colorado passes him up, ending up within Nashville’s grasp are slim, the possibility is still there. Thus leads to this blog post that you are reading.

Without dreaming of Seth Jones, Nashville’s most realistic draftee would be Alexander Barkov, a young Finnish-Russian who collected 21 goals in the 2012-13 season with Tappara in the SM-liiga, along with 27 assists. And you are thinking, “How could Nashville pass this kid up? Forget Jones! Let’s get a goal scorer!” Reviewing his stats with SM-liiga, it’s easy to g0al-hungry forget the fact that, although it is an utterly annoying cliche, NHL-style hockey is a whole new ballgame. Though he did extremely well in Europe doesn’t guarantee he’ll do well on NHL ice or under an NHL coach… especially one that does not take risky, unorganized plans very well (ex. Colin Wilson and Craig Smith, foresee the future of Filip Forsberg). However, despite that risk, in Nashville’s case, a Center with a positive goal and assist history is something to jump on if given the chance.

So with that, you wonder why Nashville would even go for a defenseman like Seth Jones. Well, remember, it is Nashville we are talking about; the team that loves to known for their defensive abilities. While being known as one of the top defensive teams in the league is great, one excelled attribute doesn’t win the ultimate goal. You have to find the right mixture of defense and offense and, for the Predators, that has been awfully difficult. This may be considered tacky, but let’s use this as an example: Everyone played the Sims (don’t you dare deny it). Whether you played to live our your fantasy life with a crush or just enjoyed setting your Sims on fire, you had to design your Sim person before you could start anything. If you actually played more than just to burn the house down, you had to create a Sim with a good, even mixture of personality. Be too “outgoing” and you’d come off as annoying to other Sims; not enough “neat” and your trash would be piling up all over the house. Again, terrible and silly comparison, but you have to admit; it’s true.

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You remember this…

While Nashville had the defensive powerhouse that was Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, the rest of the team was neglected, thus leaving the Predators to come up short time and time again in the playoffs (this year, not even making them). Sadly, this theory can be thrown at the team over and over, but action has to be taken in order to see the fruits on one’s labor.

The Preds tend to stay in the “safe zone” when it comes to drafting or trading, and that goes for any time of the season. More than likely, the same will happen June 30th. If Seth Jones is still available by the fourth pick, Nashville will undoubtedly snatch him up. You can’t blame them, of course. Ranked the best upcoming defenseman? Sure, he’s an outstanding choice that Nashville would be nuts not to pick up. However, it is a fact that Seth Jones would be much better for other teams, but I assume it would be okay to greedy… until he grew to big for his britches and he would either ask to be traded or would take an offer elsewhere when given the chance.

Speculation is all that is.

As much as either Seth Jones or Alexander Barkov would make Nashville a happier organization, no pick is set in stone. Colorado could be lying and grab Jones with their first pick, or they could go off the wall and draft someone further down the line. Tampa Bay could tell Nashville to kiss their butts and draft Barkov or Jones before Nashville gets the reins. Luckily, the Predators have landed in a good spot, no matter who they end up drafting. Personally, we pray it is NOT a defenseman but hey, all we can do is put faith in our fellow man and pray they spice it up a bit with an offensive player.