National Hockey League

Central Division Preview: Nashville Predators

nhl5NASHVILLE PREDATORS: TEAM LOOK-AHEAD
The Predators are the two-time defending Central Division champions after claiming the No. 1 seed in the regular-season in both 2017-18 and 2018-19. Nashville looks to top 100 standings points in three consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history after hitting 100 in 2018-19 (47-29-6) and capturing the Presidents’ Trophy with 117 points in 2017-18 (53-18-11).

The Predators also put their five-year playoff run on the line in 2019-20, tied with the Capitals for the second-longest active streak of postseason appearances behind the Penguins (13).

SEASON-OPENING STATS
* The Predators got off to a fast start in 2018-19, opening with an 8-2-0 (16 points) record to lead all teams through 10 games. Nashville also opened 2018-19 with eight consecutive road wins, the third-longest road winning streak from the start of a season in NHL history.

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK
* Viktor Arvidsson has led or co-led the Predators in goals in each of the last three seasons, including a career-high 34 tallies in just 58 games in 2018-19. His 0.59 goals-per-game average ranked third in the NHL (min. 20 GP) behind 50-goal scorers Alex Ovechkin (0.63) and Leon Draisaitl (0.61).

* Arvidsson is one of five players to lead their current team in goals in each of the last three or more seasons. He is joined by Ovechkin (14; 2005-06—2018-19 w/ WSH), Vladimir Tarasenko (5; 2014-15—2018-19 w/ STL), Anders Lee (3; 2016-17—2018-19 w/ NYI) and Tyler Seguin (3; 2016-17—2018-19 w/ DAL).

* New acquisition Matt Duchene also topped 30 goals in 2018-19 with the Senators and Blue Jackets (31-39—70 in 73 GP). The Predators have had multiple players score 30 goals in a season on three occasions: 2005-06 (Steve Sullivan: 31 & Paul Kariya: 31), 2015-16 (Filip Forsberg: 33 & James Neal: 31) and 2016-17 (Arvidsson: 31 & Forsberg: 31).

* Captain Roman Josi has reached the 50-point mark four times in his career, including 15-41—56 in 2018-19 (82 GP). He needs 52 points to become the second defenseman in franchise history to record 400 points with the Predators (Shea Weber: 166-277—443 in 763 GP).

* Forsberg and Craig Smith have each scored 20 or more goals five times with the Predators – no player in franchise history has recorded six 20-goal campaigns with the club.

THE FUTURE IS NOW
* After ten games with Nashville in 2018-19 – four in the regular season, six in the playoffs – Dante Fabbro is expected to contend for a full-time NHL role in 2019-20. Current Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis holds the franchise records for goals, assists (tied) and points by a rookie blueliner, marks he set in 2003-04 (7-19—26 in 80 GP). Seth Jones also had 19 assists as a rookie in 2013-14, falling one short of Hamhuis in the other categories (6-19—25 in 77 GP). In total, only three rookie defensemen have topped 20 points in a season with the Predators: Hamhuis, Jones and Cody Franson (6-15—21 in 2009-10).

BETWEEN THE PIPES
* Pekka Rinne is one of three goaltenders with 30 or more wins in each of the last five seasons, joining Devan Dubnyk and Braden Holtby. Overall, Rinne has reached the 30-win plateau eight times in 13 seasons – only Martin Brodeur (14), Patrick Roy (13), Henrik Lundqvist (11), Marc-Andre Fleury (9) and Ed Belfour (9) have more 30-win seasons in NHL history.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with Predators. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 3 – Steve Sullivan (Feb. 18, 2004)
Most assists: 1 – 37 players; most recent: Kyle Turris (Nov. 11, 2017)
Most points: 4 – Steve Sullivan (Feb. 18, 2004)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 1 – 4 players; most recent: P.K. Subban (Oct. 14, 2016)
Most assists: 1 – 11 players; most recent: Samuel Girard (Oct. 10, 2017)
Most points: 2 – Denis Grebeshkov (March 2, 2010)

GOALTENDERS
Most saves: 39 – Jan Lasak (April 9, 2002)
Shutout: None

First season with Predators. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 31 – Paul Kariya (2005-06)
Most assists: 54 – Paul Kariya (2005-06)
Most points: 85 – Paul Kariya (2005-06)
DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 16 – Andy Delmore (2001-02)
Most assists: 39 – Marek Zidlicky (2003-04)
Most points: 53 – Marek Zidlicky (2003-04)
 
GOALTENDERS
Most wins: 23 – Dan Ellis (2007-08)
Most Shutouts: 6 – Dan Ellis (2007-08)

— NHL Public Relations

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