Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators
Conference Western
Division Central
Founded 1998
History Nashville Predators
Home arena Bridgestone Arena
City Nashville, Tennessee
Colors Gold, Navy, White[1]


Media FS Predators
The Game (102.5 FM)
Owner(s) Predators Holdings LLC
General manager David Poile
Head coach Peter Laviolette[2]
Captain Mike Fisher
Minor league affiliates Milwaukee Admirals (AHL)
Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)
Stanley Cups 0
Conference championships 0
Presidents' Trophies 0
Division championships 0
Official website

The Nashville Predators are a professional ice hockey team based in Nashville, Tennessee. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Predators joined the NHL as an expansion team in the 1998–99 season, and play their home games at Bridgestone Arena.

Franchise history

First attempt to bring NHL hockey to Nashville

In late 1995, rumors began to circulate that the New Jersey Devils would be relocating to the planned Nashville Arena.[3] Nashville offered a $20 million relocation bonus to any team that would relocate and the Devils attempted to terminate their lease with New Jersey before finally restructuring it to stay put.[4][5]

1997–98: NHL expansion and Predators' inaugural season

After the attempt to get the Devils, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman noted that Nashville would probably at least be considered in upcoming expansion.[6] The arena was opened in 1996, and after an attempt to bring the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s Sacramento Kings did not go through, the city instead went after a hockey team.[7]

In January 1997, a group led by Wisconsin businessman Craig Leipold made a formal presentation before the NHL requesting an expansion franchise.[8] When Bettman and league officials visited Nashville to tour the arena, thousands gathered on the Arena plaza to greet them. In June, the league granted conditional franchises to Nashville, Columbus, Ohio, Atlanta, and Minneapolis – Saint Paul. The Nashville team would be scheduled to begin play in 1998 if they met the NHL requirement of selling 12,000 season tickets before March 31, 1998.[9] Of the four cities, Nashville was the only one with a completed arena, and therefore began play first. A month later, Leipold named former Washington Capitals general manager David Poile as the franchise's first general manager.[10] Portland Pirates' head coach Barry Trotz was named the franchise's first head coach on August 6.[11] Mitch Korn was named the first goaltending coach for the franchise.

On September 25, 1997, Leipold and team president Jack Diller held a press conference where they unveiled the franchise's new logo, a saber-toothed cat (Smilodon floridanus).[11] The logo was a reference to a partial Smilodon skeleton found beneath downtown Nashville in 1971 during construction of the First American National Bank building, now the UBS Tower.[12][13]

Once the logo was unveiled, the franchise held a vote among fans to choose a name. Three candidates were culled from 75: "Ice Tigers," "Fury" and "Attack." Leipold added his own submission to the vote, "Predators." On November 13, Leipold revealed at a press conference that his submission had won out and that the new franchise would be known as the "Nashville Predators."[11]

At one point, rumors began to circulate that the team would move before the first puck ever hit the ice. One rumor had Leipold trading franchises with the Edmonton Oilers, with the Oilers moving to Nashville and the Nashville expansion franchise moving to Houston, Texas. Leipold shot this rumor down, saying "[T]here is no chance."[14]

When awarded a franchise, the city of Nashville paid 31.50% of the $80 million fee to join the League. The city has engaged an affiliate of the team to operate the arena and that agreement protects the city against annual arena operating losses over approximately $3.8 million.[15] The $15 million payroll of the team was the lowest of the NHL.[7]

The Predators first took the ice on October 10, 1998, where they lost 1–0 at home to the Florida Panthers. It was the only sold out game of the Predators' first five bouts in Nashville.[7] Three nights later, on October 13, they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3–2 for their first win. Forward Andrew Brunette scored the first goal.

Summary of seasons

1998–99 season

The Predators, in their first year of existence, finished second-last in the Western Conference with a 28–47–7 record.

1999–2000 season

The Predators finished with an almost identical record to the previous season (28–40–7–7) and finished last in the West behind the Calgary Flames. During a game versus the New York Islanders on February 20, 2000, the Predators scored four goals in 3 minutes and 38 seconds.

2000–01 season

The Predators opened with two games in Japan against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Each team won a game in front of the largest crowds ever to see a hockey game in Japan. Backed by the goaltending duo of Mike Dunham and Tomas Vokoun, Nashville finished the season in tenth place in the West, 10 points out of a playoff spot with a 34–36–9–3 record, for 80 total points.

2001–02 season

A highlight of the season for the Predators was recording their 100th victory as a franchise on December 6, 2001. With that win, Nashville became the second-fastest expansion team of the 1990s to reach the 100-win plateau. The team was especially unlucky in overtime, finishing with a 28–41–13–0 record – good for 69 points and a 15th spot in the West.

2002–03 season

In 2002–03, coach Barry Trotz broke the record for most games coached by the original coach of an expansion team (392 games). Nashville finished the season with a 27–35–13–7 record for 74 points, putting them well out of contention in the Western Conference in 14th place.

2003–04 season

The Predators, under coach Barry Trotz, finished eighth in the Western Conference and made their first trip to the playoffs. The Detroit Red Wings eliminated them in six games in the quarter-final.

The 2004–05 season was wiped out by a labor dispute between NHL owners and players.

2005–06 season

In 2005–06, the Predators set an NHL record by winning their first four games by one goal each (although two of those were shootout victories, which would have been tie games in previous seasons). They also became only the fourth NHL franchise to start the season 8–0; the last time a team did so was the Toronto Maple Leafs, who set the mark with a 10–0 start in the 1993–94 season. The Predators set the franchise mark for wins in a season with a 2–0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes on March 16, 2006. In that match, Chris Mason became the ninth goaltender to score a goal. By the end of the season, the Predators had accumulated 106 points—their first 100-point season—and clinched home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in team history. They finished the season with an NHL-best 32–8–1 record at home.

In the 2006 playoffs, the Predators faced the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference quarter-finals; the Sharks beat them in five games.

2006–07 season

The Predators acquired veteran center Jason Arnott from free agency on July 2, 2006. Arnott and David Legwand led the team in goals with 27 each. Late in the season, the Predators traded two former first round draft picks, Scottie Upshall and Ryan Parent, plus their first and third-round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, to the Philadelphia Flyers for five-time NHL All-Star Peter Forsberg.

The Predators finished the season ranked fourth in the Western Conference with a franchise record 110 points (51–23–8), despite finishing third overall behind only the Buffalo Sabres (53–22–7 for 113 points) and the Detroit Red Wings (50–19–13 for 113 points). The NHL awards the first three playoff rankings to each of the two Conference's division leaders, thus Detroit was awarded the top ranking and Nashville was ranked fourth behind the other two Western division leaders Anaheim Ducks (48–20–14 for 110 points) and Vancouver Canucks (49–26–7 for 105 points). They were defeated by the San Jose Sharks in the 2007 playoffs Western Conference quarter-finals for the second year in a row, losing the series 4–1 for the second-straight season.

2007–08 season

After having their roster decimated during the off-season, multiple potential buyers, and rumors of the franchise potentially moving hounding the team until almost mid-season, the Predators were not expected to have a successful year. Chris Mason, former backup goaltender to Tomas Vokoun (who was traded to the Florida Panthers) had a shaky season, and shared net-minding duties with Dan Ellis. Ellis, who was signed from the Dallas Stars before the season began, had a 233:39 long shutout streak (fifth longest in league history) nearing the end of the season that helped Nashville squeak into the eighth playoff spot with 91 points.

The Predators met the Presidents' Trophy-winning (and eventual Stanley Cup winners) Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs, and were defeated 4–2, their fourth-straight first-round knockout.

2008–09 season

The first off-season of settling in under new ownership was a quiet one for the Predators with little personnel movement. As such, the Predators began the season with little expectation. Following a strong push after the All-Star break and no movement at the trade deadline, the team found themselves still battling for a playoff spot into the last week of the season. Buoyed by the return of Steve Sullivan after almost two seasons recovering from a back injury, the Predators finished with 88 points, settling for 10th place in the Western Conference, missing the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

2009–10 season

The Predators made few major additions to their roster in the off-season, signing former San Jose Sharks forward Marcel Goc (who was extended for another year by the club in mid-season) and former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Francis Bouillon. The season also saw the much-anticipated debut of top prospect Colin Wilson; however, due to a groin injury suffered in training camp, Wilson spent the first week and a half of the season on the sidelines, and was sent to the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League (AHL) in November. He would return to the club in February, scoring 11 points in his next 15 games, and finishing the season with 15 points in 35 games.

The 2009–10 season was also a breakout year for the last pick in the 2005 Draft, Patric Hornqvist. After scoring just two goals in 28 games the previous year, the 23-year-old Swede scored 30 in 2009–10, becoming the fourth Predator to do so (the others being Steve Sullivan, Paul Kariya and Jason Arnott). Hornqvist was often found in front of the net, often drawing comparisons to Detroit Red Wings winger Tomas Holmstrom.

Kept afloat by timely goals from Hornqvist and spectacular play by goaltender Pekka Rinne after the Olympic break, the Predators were as high as fifth in the Western Conference standings with just a few games left to play, but finished seventh and drew a first-time playoff opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Predators earned their first-ever away win in the post-season on April 16 when they beat the Blackhawks 4–1 at the United Center. The two clubs sparred back and forth, splitting both sets of home games to have the series level at 2–2 heading into the nationally-televised Game 5.

Game 5, however, resulted in a loss. Forward Marian Hossa hit defender Dan Hamhuis from behind with 1:03 left in regulation, and the Predators holding a 4–3 advantage. On the ensuing power play, Chicago would get an odd-man rush, allowing Patrick Kane to score and send the game into overtime. In overtime, Hossa scored at the end of his penalty to give the Blackhawks the win. The club lost Game 6 at the Bridgestone Arena by a score of 5–3, and the series by the tally of 4–2. The Predators finished with one of the worst power plays in the post-season, scoring just one goal and going 0-for-21 in the first five games.

2010–11 season

General Manager David Poile traded captain Jason Arnott to the New Jersey Devils for winger Matt Halischuk and a draft pick, and acquired forward Sergei Kostitsyn from the Montreal Canadiens and former first round pick Ryan Parent from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for impending free agents Dan Hamhuis, Dustin Boyd and Dan Ellis. The club also signed 1999 second round draft pick Jonas Andersson and Södertälje SK forward Linus Klasen upon the opening of free agency. The club also confirmed the arrivals of Roman Josi, Anders Lindback and Atte Engren from overseas, and signed its first home-grown talent, Hobey Baker Award-winner and Brentwood native Blake Geoffrion. On July 2, the Predators announced the signing of veteran forward Matthew Lombardi to a three-year, $10.5 million contract.

On July 9, the Predators announced that defenseman Shea Weber would become the club's fifth captain. On September 19, it was announced that defenseman Ryan Suter and forward Steve Sullivan would serve as the team's alternate captains. The Predators traded forward Michael Santorelli to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a draft pick. The Predators also traded defenseman Ryan Parent and forward Jonas Andersson to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defenseman Shane O'Brien and a forward prospect. The club also signed young defensemen Aaron Johnson, Brett Palin and Grant Lewis. The Predators also signed forward Jamie Lundmark. On February 11, the Predators acquired four-time 20-goal scorer and 11-year veteran Mike Fisher from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2011 first round draft pick and a 2012 conditional pick. On February 25, the Predators traded defenseman Alexander Sulzer to the Florida Panthers for a conditional seventh round draft pick. They also placed forward Wade Belak on waivers.

On April 24, 2011, the Nashville Predators celebrated a team milestone, advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They defeated the Anaheim Ducks in front of another sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena, winning their first-round series in six games. On April 22, 2010, Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne was nominated as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.[16]

The Nashville Predators played against the number one ranked team in the NHL in the second round, the Vancouver Canucks. The Predators lost the series 4–2.

It was a very successful season for the Predators on-and off-the-ice. The Predators racked up 16 regular season sell-outs and an additional six sell-outs during the playoffs.

On August 31, 2011, Predators fan favorite and former Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames player Wade Belak was found dead in a Toronto condo. Belak was one of three NHL enforcers that died that summer. The Predators wore commemorative decals on their helmets for the 2011–12 season.

On September 7, 2011, tragedy struck the hockey world as the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team died in a horrific plane crash in Russia. Three members of that team had ties to the Predators. Karlis Skrastins played for the Predators from 1998 to 2003. Josef Vasicek played for the Predators during the 2006–07 season. Robert Dietrich was a Predators prospect who spent his tenure with the Predators playing for their minor league affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals.

2011–12 season

On June 22, 2011, the Predators unveiled their modified logo set for the 2011–12 season. With the color scheme simplified to blue, gold and white and eliminating orange, silver and steel, the Predators cleaned up their primary logo and wordmark. A new alternate logo incorporating elements from a guitar pick and the Tennessee state flag was also introduced.[1]

On November 3, 2011, the Predators signed goaltender Pekka Rinne to a seven-year, $49 million deal. It was the largest contract awarded in Nashville Predators history, as well as making Rinne the highest paid goaltender in the NHL that year.

On February 17, 2012, GM David Poile traded home-grown prospect Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney and a 2012 second round draft pick for defenseman Hal Gill. On February 24, the Predators traded long-time faceoff ace Jerred Smithson to the Florida Panthers for a draft pick.

On February 27, 2012, at the NHL trade deadline, the Predators acquired Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad from the Montreal Canadiens and the Buffalo Sabres, respectively. The Predators surrendered draft picks to bolster their team for the 2012 playoffs.

On March 19, 2012, Russian forward Alexander Radulov returned to the Predators after a four-year hiatus to play in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

On April 20, 2012, for the second year in a row and the second time in the team's history, the Predators won a first-round series in the Stanley Cup playoffs.The 2–1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings ended the series 4–1.[17]

On May 7, 2012, for the second year in a row, the Predators were ousted of the Western Conference semi-finals to the Phoenix Coyotes.

2012–13 season

In the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, The Predators signed Weber Through a front-loaded $110 million, 14-year offer sheet, $68 million of it as a signing bonus, from the Philadelphia Flyers on July 19. The offer sheet was the richest in NHL history in terms of total money, money per season and length, surpassing the previous offer sheet record set by Thomas Vanek. They would miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

2013–14 season

After missing the playoffs for a second season in a row, the Nashville Predators decided not to renew the contract of Barry Trotz as its head coach after 15 years, although he was offered an unnamed position within the organization. On May 6, 2014, the Predators announced Peter Laviolette as their new head coach. This season also saw the departure of longtime Predator favorite David Legwand when he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline.

2014-15 season

In Peter Laviolette's first season as coach, the Predators finished second in the Central Division. Despite having home advantage in the first round of the 2015 playoffs, they lost the first round in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks, who would go on to win the Stanley Cup.

2015-16 season

The Predators finished as the Western Conference's first wild-card, earning 96 points. Where they advance to the second-round after beating the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7, this was the franchise's first seven-game series and their first win. They would be eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in seven games, the latter would be the Western Conference winners.

On June 29, 2016, The Predators traded their captain, Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenceman P. K. Subban. The trade surprised many hockey fans because the details to this trade were kept strictly confidential until the deal was already made.

On September 7, 2016, The Predators announced that Mike Fisher will be the franchise's sixth captain.

Financial Troubles

Sale of the Predators and rumored 2007 move to Hamilton

On May 23, 2007, Craig Leipold was reported to have reached a tentative agreement to not sell the team to Research In Motion chairman and co-CEO Jim Balsillie.[18] At the time, Leipold indicated that the team would play the 2007–08 season in Nashville but that the future of the team after that was not clear.[19] Balsillie had long been rumored to be interested in placing another team in Southern Ontario. The deal was expected to be finalized by late-June and had to be finished by June 30, 2007.[20] Despite promising to not do so and in violation of instructions from the League, Balsillie began taking steps toward moving the franchise he did not yet own.[21] The proposed relocation site was the Copps Coliseum, located in Hamilton, Ontario, less than 50 miles from the home arenas of both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres. Relocating to Hamilton would almost certainly have required compensation and/or residual rights to be granted to the Maple Leafs, as they own territorial rights to the region. The Sabres may also have demanded compensation, although they are out of the 50-mile territorial zone set by the NHL.[22] On June 13, again in violation of League directives and improperly using the Predators logo and trademark,[23] it was announced that season ticket deposits for the "Hamilton Predators" would begin to go on sale through Ticketmaster the next day. A source said Balsillie's objective was to show the League's Board of Governors that there is a potential for NHL franchise expansion into Canada's large base of ticket buyers in Southern Ontario.[24][25]

On June 23, information was leaked by several sources indicating that Leipold no longer wanted to sell the Predators to Basillie. Leipold responded indirectly advising that a deal with Basillie was still possible.[26] Basillie's lawyer, Richard Rodier, was quoted as saying Craig Leipold's letter to the NHL "changed little if anything" in regards to the pending sale and was a mere formality as part of the sale process.[27] Canadian insiders believed that the information and delay tactics may have been because the League did not want a team to move to Canada, an accusation the NHL denied.[28] Leipold later revealed the true reason: Balsillie had no intent of trying to keep the team in Nashville, had actively interfered with the Predators' relationship with the City of Nashville and only wanted to buy the team if he could guarantee moving it.[21] Thereafter, Balsillie never abided by the terms originally negotiated with Leipold.[21]

Subsequently, a campaign to land the team in Kansas City, Missouri, reportedly received a boost[29] in late June 2007. The Canadian National Post, citing anonymous sources, reported that Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold planned to sell the team to San Jose venture capitalist William "Boots" Del Biaggio III, who wanted to relocate the club to Kansas City’s new Sprint Center for the 2008–09 season.[29] Del Biaggio, who had a contract with Anschutz Entertainment Group to own an NHL club that would play home games in Sprint Center, had made an offer reported to be for about $190 million for the Predators. Del Biaggio had entered an agreement two years earlier, in 2005, to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the club backed out of the deal after it won the NHL draft lottery and took Sidney Crosby with the first overall pick.[29] Balsillie’s taking season-ticket deposits in Hamilton while the Predators still had a lease to play in Nashville upset NHL owners and Commissioner Gary Bettman and reportedly caused Leipold to have second thoughts about selling to Balsillie.[29] Although Del Biaggio had started a ticket drive selling corporate suites in Kansas City,[30] it did not include season tickets like Balsillie's move. Later that day, Leipold denied rumours that he was dealing exclusively with Del Biaggio, stating that he is open to all bids and that a deal with Basillie was still possible.[31] Leipold is said to have been incensed that Balsillie was reneging on his promise to not move the Predators and failing to make the required deposit in connection with the offer. The Globe and Mail reported on July 4, 2007, that a group of 30 investors became the third party to make a bid to purchase the franchise and keep the team in Nashville.[32]

On July 19, 2007, a group of local business owners known as Our Team Nashville held a rally at the Sommet Center to encourage fans to buy season tickets in order to help the Predators meet the attendance figures needed to keep the team in Nashville. They drew approximately 7,500 fans and sold the equivalent of 726 full season tickets during the rally.[33] The rally was heavily supported by George Plaster, then a sportscaster on WGFX 104.5 "The Zone" sports radio in Nashville.

On August 1, 2007, the group who had intentions to keep the team in Nashville released a letter of intent from Craig Leipold.[34] After negotiations with the City of Nashville, the local group headed by David Freeman reached an agreement with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, and the NHL Board of Governors approved the sale on November 29, 2007. The $172 million acquisition of the Nashville Predators included repayment of existing debt of approximately $61 million and $2.2 million in fees and expenses.

The sale of the Predators to the Tennessee-based group included Del Biaggio, who had been trying to move the team to Kansas City. The locally based buyers held 73% of the team while Del Biaggio and a minority partner acquired about 27% of the club.

Del Biaggio fraud

In June 2008, Del Biaggio ran into legal trouble over a multitude of unpaid loans, culminating in him filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[35] Furthermore, it is alleged that Del Biaggio acquired the loans he used to buy his stake in the team through fraudulent means, prompting an FBI investigation and criminal charges.[36] The charges ended up culminating in a 97-month prison sentence for Del Biaggio.

Under United States bankruptcy law, a trustee was appointed to sell Del Biaggio's assets, including his stake in the Predators to pay off his creditors. One report indicated that, perhaps as a last-ditch attempt to avoid bankruptcy Del Biaggio solicited an offer from Balsillie to buy his stake in the team at a "significant premium."[37] That deal was said to have collapsed after the NHL and/or the local group either blocked it outright or at least insisted on the annulment of all concessions given to Del Biaggio prior to any transfer of the stake to Balsillie.

Major North American sports leagues are expected to exercise "due diligence" before allowing anyone to acquire a large stake in a franchise, so Del Biaggio's bankruptcy was considered to be a serious public relations setback for the league.[38][39] After swindler John Spano had briefly gained control of the New York Islanders in 1997, due to insufficient evaluation, the NHL had since vetted prospective owners with Ernst and Young and a New York City accounting firm. Additionally, the then-majority owner of the Buffalo Sabres, John Rigas, was convicted of fraud in 2005, though the fraud was not connected to his role with the Sabres.

Furthermore, the commencement of bankruptcy proceedings arguably could affect the rights of the league and the other Predators owners to block the sale of Del Biaggio's stake to the highest bidder. Depending on the circumstances, a party could argue that the constitution and by-laws of the NHL could be superseded if a bankruptcy court determined that the league was trying to enforce its rules in a manner detrimental to the creditors' interests, although it is entirely unclear whether such an argument could succeed. Predators' owners disagree completely with this theory.[40]

On February 24, 2009, Calgary businessman W. Brett Wilson had entered discussions with Predators majority owner David Freeman with intentions to invest in their third sports franchise together. Wilson confirms that progress has been made in his plans to invest in the team, with a "handshake agreement" but to date, nothing in writing. The long disputed 27% share that belonged to minority shareholder William J. "Boots" Del Biaggio III was expected to be purchased by Wilson, with his eventual share in the Predators to be "nominal."

The Predators announced that the team turned a profit for both the 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons despite the global economic downturn, and attendance exceeded an average of 14,000 paid tickets per game in both years.[40]

In November 2011, it was announced that W. Brett Wilson had purchased a 5% interest in the Nashville Predators.[41]

Team information

The team practices at Centennial Sportsplex. For the 2007–08 season, the Predators updated their jerseys with new striping. The logo was left unchanged, and the colors were left unchanged. Nashville was added to the "away" jerseys above the logo. For the 2011–12 season, the Nashville Predators changed their jersey design and color scheme. The home jerseys are a bright gold with navy and white highlights, while the away jerseys are white with gold and navy highlights. Furthermore, the Predators changed their logo, making it purely white, gold and navy. The new jerseys have a guitar pick on the shoulder with the Tennessee state tri-star inside it, lines meant to be guitar lines on the numbers, and piano keys along the neck line inside the jersey as a nod to Nashville's internationally-known music heritage. There is no new third jersey at this time but one has been hinted at for the near future. They did, however, unveil gold helmets to be used on Saturday home games for the 2015–16 season.[42] From the 2016–17 season the gold helmets became a permanent part of the home uniform.[43]

Fan traditions

Fans of the Nashville Predators have modified the octopus-throwing tradition of Detroit Red Wings fans to show their support: on occasion, a fan will throw a catfish onto the ice. The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville cites the first instance of this on October 30, 2003.[44] At least four catfish were thrown onto the ice after the first Nashville goal on November 13, 2003.

Section 303 is where a section of fans at the Bridgestone Arena sit, stand, and cheer, colloquially known as The Cellblock. The group refers to themselves as "the loudest section of the loudest arena in the NHL."[45] The fan-based organization has been recognized by the Predators' front office. A large banner was produced by the front office for posting on the wall behind the section.

On April 3, 2008, with the Predators clinging to a 3–2 lead with 4:30 in their final home game of the regular season, a sellout crowd at the then-Sommet Center gave the team a standing ovation through the entirety of the final TV timeout. The Predators went on to win the game against the St. Louis Blues and advanced to the playoffs that year, where the "standing O" during the final TV timeout has since become a fan tradition.

The mascot of the Predators is Gnash, a blue saber-toothed cat. Introduced in 1998, Gnash's trademark includes stunts, such as very fast rappels, zip lines, and a pendulum swing that takes him under the scoreboard and just inches off the ice.

To go along with the saber-toothed cat mascot, Predators fans proudly use their Fang Fingers during each power play of the game. There are foam saber-fang gloves that can be purchased, but most fans simply curl their index and middle fingers on each hand into fang shapes and brandish them in an up-and-down motion. Fang Fingers are done to the horror sounds from the Alfred Hitchcock movie, Psycho.[46]

Season-by-season record

Nashville's third jersey logo (2001–2007); a more detailed, three-quarters front view of the team's saber-toothed cat logo.

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Predators. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Nashville Predators seasons.

GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA Finish Playoffs
2011–12 82 48 26 8 104 237 210 2nd, Central Lost in Conference Semifinals, 1–4 (Coyotes)
2012–13 48 16 23 9 41 111 139 5th, Central Did not qualify
2013–14 82 38 32 12 88 216 242 6th, Central Did not qualify
2014–15 82 47 25 10 104 232 208 2nd, Central Lost in First Round, 2–4 (Blackhawks)
2015–16 82 41 27 14 96 228 215 4th, Central Lost in Second Round, 3–4 (Sharks)


Current roster

Updated December 13, 2016.[47]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
46 Sweden Aberg, PontusPontus Aberg RW R 23 2012 Stockholm, Sweden
38 Sweden Arvidsson, ViktorViktor Arvidsson LW R 23 2014 Skellefteå, Sweden
2 United States Bitetto, AnthonyAnthony Bitetto  D L 26 2012 Island Park, New York
11 United States Boucher, ReidReid Boucher LW L 23 2016 East Lansing, Michigan
14 Sweden Ekholm, MattiasMattias Ekholm D L 26 2009 Borlänge, Sweden
4 Canada Ellis, RyanRyan Ellis D R 25 2009 Hamilton, Ontario
56 Switzerland Fiala, KevinKevin Fiala LW L 20 2014 St. Gallen, Switzerland
12 Canada Fisher, MikeMike Fisher (C) C R 36 2011 Peterborough, Ontario
9 Sweden Forsberg, FilipFilip Forsberg LW R 22 2013 Östervåla, Sweden
8 Sweden Granberg, PetterPetter Granberg D R 24 2015 Gällivare, Sweden
52 Canada Irwin, MattMatt Irwin D L 29 2016 Brentwood Bay, British Columbia
19 Sweden Jarnkrok, CalleCalle Jarnkrok C R 25 2014 Gävle, Sweden
92 Canada Johansen, RyanRyan Johansen C R 24 2016 Vancouver, British Columbia
59 Switzerland Josi, RomanRoman Josi (A) D L 26 2008 Bern, Switzerland
39 Czech Republic Mazanec, MarekMarek Mazanec G R 25 2012 České Budějovice, Czechoslovakia
18 Canada Neal, JamesJames Neal (A) RW L 29 2014 Whitby, Ontario
63 Canada Ribeiro, MikeMike Ribeiro C L 36 2014 Montreal, Quebec
35 Finland Rinne, PekkaPekka Rinne G L 34 2004 Kempele, Finland
20 Finland Salomaki, MiikkaMiikka Salomaki  RW L 23 2011 Raahe, Finland
10 Canada Sissons, ColtonColton Sissons C R 23 2012 North Vancouver, British Columbia
15 United States Smith, CraigCraig Smith RW R 27 2009 Madison, Wisconsin
76 Canada Subban, P. K.P. K. Subban D R 27 2016 Toronto, Ontario
51 United States Watson, AustinAustin Watson LW R 24 2010 Ann Arbor, Michigan
7 Switzerland Weber, YannickYannick Weber D R 28 2016 Morges, Switzerland
33 United States Wilson, ColinColin Wilson LW L 27 2008 Greenwich, Connecticut
Shea Weber was the team's longest serving captain serving from 2010 to 2016.

Team captains

First-round draft picks

Franchise scoring leaders

These are the top ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.

David Legwand is the franchise leader in goals and points, and was the final member of the inaugural team to retire or move.

Pos = Position; GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Predators player

Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
David Legwand C 956 210 356 566 .59
Martin Erat RW 723 163 318 481 .65
Shea Weber D 763 166 277 443 .58
Kimmo Timonen D 573 79 222 301 .53
Jean-Pierre Dumont RW 388 93 174 267 .69
Steve Sullivan LW 317 100 163 263 .83
Scott Walker RW 410 96 151 247 .60
Greg Johnson C 502 93 145 238 .47
Ryan Suter D 542 38 200 238 .44
Jason Arnott C 275 107 122 229 .83

NHL awards and trophies

Lester Patrick Trophy

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

NHL Foundation Player Award

Mark Messier Leadership Award

NHL First All-Star Team

NHL Second All-Star Team

NHL All-Rookie Team

NHL All-Star Game selections

Franchise individual records


  1. 1 2 "Preds Unveil New Logos". Nashville Predators. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  3. MacFarquhar, Neil (June 29, 1995). "HOCKEY; Fans Caught Between Devils and Nashville". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  4. Sandomir, Richard (June 8, 1995). "1995 N.H.L. PLAYOFFS; Devils Reject Offer on New Lease". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  5. Sandomir, Richard (July 14, 1995). "HOCKEY; Devils and New Jersey Call Truce and Strike Deal". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  6. "HOCKEY; Nashville Still Seeks Team". The New York Times. July 14, 1995. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  7. 1 2 3 Hockey-tonk Town, Sports Illustrated
  8. Litsky, Frank (January 14, 1997). "Cities Line Up To Join The N.H.L". The New York Times.
  9. "N.H.L. Names 4 Cities For Its New Franchises". The New York Times. June 18, 1997. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  10. "NHL Expansion Franchise Nashville Chooses Poile For GM".Boston Globe. July 10, 1997.
  11. 1 2 3 Nashville Predators Timeline - Sports News Story - WSMV Nashville
  12. Ingram, Tom (October 2, 1971). "Specialists to Study Cave Bones". Nashville Tennessean. p. 7.
  13. Guilday, John E. (July 1977). "Sabertooth Cat, Smilodon Floridanus (Leidy), and Associated Fauna From a Tennessee Cave (40DV40), the First American Bank Site.". Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science. 52 (3): 84–94.
  14. "PLUS: N.H.L. -- NASHVILLE; Owner Denies Franchise Swap". The New York Times. February 13, 1998. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  16. Pekka Rinne named a finalist for Vezina Trophy,, April 22, 2011.
  17. "Predators Eliminate Redwings". New York Times. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  18. Balsillie attempting to buy Predators,, May 23, 2007. Archived October 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. Nashville Predators Being Sold,, May 23, 2007.
  20. Sale terms call for deal to be completed by June 30, ESPN, May 24, 2007.
  21. 1 2 3 Craig Leipold unloads on Balsillie and Rodier, alleges attempts to undermine the Nashville Predators - On the Forecheck
  22. Sabres Mum on Preds' Move
  23. NHL to Jim Balsillie: Anyone but you
  24. Tickets? Who needs tickets?,, June 13, 2007.
  25. NHL ticket drive launched for potential Hamilton team,, June 13, 2007.
  26. NHL calling the tune in Nashville,, June 23, 2007.
  27. RIM boss hit by delay of game,, June 23, 2007.
  28. Balsillie still in the hunt for Predators,, June 23, 2007.
  29. 1 2 3 4 Covitz, Randy. Kansas City's chances for the NHL's Predators get boost Kansas City Star, June 28, 2007.
  30. Kansas City back in the running for Preds, June 28, 2007.
  31. Predators owner says open to all bids,, June 28, 2007.
  32. Nashville consortium throws hat into ring to buy franchise The Globe and Mail, July 4, 2007.
  33. Nashville Predators - News: Local supporters stage successful ticket rally - July 20, 2007
  35. National Post story on Del Biaggio bankruptcy
  36. Globe and Mail story on the Del Biaggio criminal investigation
  37. National Post story on Del Biaggio's negotiations with Balsillie
  38. NHL turns down money for bankruptcy
  39. Turning blind eye leaves NHL with another shiner
  40. 1 2 Former Preds suitor attempting to get share of team from bankruptcy court | Nashville City Paper: Nashville's Online Source for Daily News
  41. The Montreal Gazette - November 17, 2011 - Risky business
  42. "Nashville Predators Launch "Golden Saturdays" During 2015-16 Season". August 11, 2015. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  43. Bratten, Brooks (September 15, 2016). "Preds Adopt Gold Helmets for Every Home Game". Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  44., Catfish hunters: Fans throw a curve at Preds
  45. Bonvissuto, Dominic. "Section 303: I came, I saw - I yawned". Nashville City Paper.
  47. "Predators Roster". "Nashville Predators". Retrieved December 3, 2016.
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