NHL Team Guide: Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators were founded in 1998 as the NHL’s first expansion team since 1993. The Predators struggled early in their history and did not qualify for the postseason in their first five years of existence. The franchise’s first playoff berth came in 2003-04 when Nashville finished eighth in the Western Conference.
Nashville fans can watch nationally televised Predators games on TV on NBC and NBCSN. Most of the Predators NHL schedule can be watched on the team’s regional affiliate FOX Sports Tennessee. Games are also available for live streaming on the FOX Sports GO app.
The Predators joined the league as a member of the Central Division in the Western Conference. Further NHL expansion since Nashville joined the league has had a number of teams around, but the Predators still remain in the Central Division in the Western Conference.
The Predators championship history is not long. In 21 seasons of play in the NHL, Nashville has qualified for the postseason 12 times. The Predators had never won a division title until 2017-18 when the team won the Presidents’ Trophy, which is given annually to the team with the most points in the regular season.
Nashville followed up that performance with another Central Division title in 2018-19. Unfortunately, in both of those seasons, the Predators were eliminated early in the playoffs. In 2016-17 the year before Nashville won its first division title, the Predators made the playoffs as the eighth and final seed in the West. They advanced all the way to their only Stanley Cup Finals where they were beaten in six games by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Home of the Predators
The Predators play their home NHL schedule at the Bridgestone Arena located in downtown Nashville. The arena opened in 1996 and the Predators began play there in 1998. Bridgestone Arena seats 17,159 for hockey games.
The Predators have been blessed with one of the greatest goalies of the modern era in Pekka Rinne. The 6-foot-5-inch Rinne was drafted in the eighth round of the 2004 NHL Entry draft. He has played his entire 14-year career in Nashville and is the franchise’s all-time wins leader. He also holds the record for most wins in a season with 43 in 2011-12. In 2017-18, Rinne went 42-13-4 with a 2.31 GAA and won the Vezina Trophy, which is given annually to the league’s best goaltender.
David Legwand was the first player ever drafted by the Predators. He was the second pick of the 1998 draft. Legwand went on to play for 15 seasons in Nashville and is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. He leads the Predators in goals (210), assists (356), and points (566).
Shea Weber is third on the Nashville all-time scoring list. He is second in goals (166) behind Legwand and totaled 443 points in 11 seasons with the Predators. Weber trails former Nashville right-wing Martin Erat who scored a total of 481 points in his 11 seasons with Nashville. Erat is second in assists with 318 behind Legwand.
Author: Dan Anderson