Hockey World Blog Season Previews 2010: Nashville Predators

Key Offseason Losses: Dan Hamhuis, Dan Ellis, Jason Arnott

Key Offseason Additions: Matthew Lombardi, Sergei Kostitsyn, Ryan Parent

Last Season Ranking: 7th in West


Patric Hornqvist looks to build on the success that he had last season
Patric Hornqvist looks to build on the success that he had last season

Leading the way on offense for the Nashville Predators, after a breakout season last year, will be Patric Hornqvist. The 2005 7th round draft pick hit the 30 goal mark last season, only his 2nd in the NHL, en route to a 51 point campaign. His stellar season tied him for first on the team in points, along with Steve Sullivan. Hornqvist should see continued success this season as his role will be expanded. Sullivan, as mentioned before, was also great last season, his first healthy season since 2002-03. The Predators hope Sullivan has finally put his injuries behind him, and can come out with the same skill and finesse he’s displayed throughout his career.

Martin Erat will provide steady scoring throughout the season for the Predators. He’s likely to pick up about 20 goals and 50 points again this season. Along with Erat, the Preds should expect similar results from newcomer Matthew Lombardi. He will prove to be a valuable free agent signing, especially after losing Jason Arnott. Providing additional depth will be David Legwand. He struggled to produce goals last season, but played outstanding in the teams first round playoff loss to the Blackhawks. The Predators, their fans, and Legwand himself are all hoping he can maintain that touch.

Players such as Joel Ward, Marcel Goc, J.P. Dumont, and newcomer Sergei Kostitsyn, will all be counted on to provide secondary scoring. Their contributions will be important to the club, especially down the stetch. Beyond that, Jordin Tootoo will continue to ruffle some feathers up front by throwing some big hits, creating momentum with his speed and energy, and he will drop the gloves when necessary.


Shea Weber will once again be the leading man on the blue line. His blazing shot and great puck movement makes him a threat offensively, especially on the power play, where he picked up 7 goals and 20 points last season. Ryan Suter will also be huge in shutting down the blue line. He’s entering only his sixth season in the league, but has already proven he is very valuable to the Predators on defense.

The loss of Dan Hamhuis is big for Nashville, but the team will be hoping that young defenseman such as Cody Franson and Ryan Parent can step up into a bigger role. Their development, along with that of Kevin Klein, will be huge for the defensive depth of this squad. Regardless, you can still expect Weber and Suter to see a lot of ice time, and will be relied on heavily for their shut down capabilities.


Pekka Rinne will be back between the pipes this season. He posted great numbers last year as the starter, including 32 wins, a .911 save percentage, 2.53 goals against average, and seven shutouts. Rinne has been a solid goaltender for Nashville, and we should expect to see more of the same this season.

Season Outlook:

While the Nashville Predators have never been the most skilled team, coach Barry Trotz always knows how to rally the troops for a great season. Last year was no exception, as the club finished with 100 points and grabbed the 7th seed in the playoffs. Losing players like Dan Hamhuis and Jason Arnott will be tough to overcome, but the addition of Matthew Lombardi will help tremendously. You won’t see the Predators turning heads this season, but behind the strong play of their defense and goaltender, the Predators could quietly put together another outstanding season. Expect them to battle for, and earn, one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.

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