The Nashville Predators are one of the most recent additions to the NHL. They compete in the Central Division of the Western Conference. In 1997, Columbus, Nashville, Minnesota and Atlanta were all added to the league. Nashville already had an arena, from some former minor league clubs that had played out of the city in the 1960s and the 1980s. The name “Predators” was the winner out of a fan vote.
Nashville’s first NHL season went poorly, as expected, due to the fact that the roster was made up of players that had been left unprotected by their original franchises. Nashville finished with only 28 wins in both of their first two seasons. While the team finished in 10th in the West in 2000-01, it wasn’t until 2003-04 that Nashville was able to make the playoffs. They were knocked out in the first round by the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings.
In 2005-06, Nashville finished the season with 106 points and the best home record in the league. Despite earning home ice advantage, they were eliminated in the first round by San Jose in only five games. In the following season, they picked up veteran talents Jason Arnott and Peter Forsberg, and finished the season with 110 points. Had they been in any other division than the Central Division, they would have placed second in the West. Unfortunately, Detroit had the best record in the league and earned the top seed in the Conference, relegating Nashville to the fourth seed, behind the other division winners. San Jose beat the Predators in five games again.
2007-08 was a controversial year for the Predators, as there were many rumors of the team being moved to Hamilton or Kansas City, and being sold to a number of different owners. The beginning of the season was rocky, but the emergence of Dan Ellis as the new starter in goal helped the Predators reach the playoffs yet again. Unfortunately, Nashville met the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings in the first round, and they were knocked out in six games.
After a great deal of commotion about who was going to be the new owner of the Predators after the 2006-07 season, and continued rumors regarding the relocation of the team to either Hamilton, Ontario or Kansas City, a group of investors based in and around Nashville made an offer to buy the team and keep it in Nashville. This proposal, combined with a rally of fans that bought a large number of season tickets, allowed the Predators to stay in Nashville, at least for the near future.
Stanley Cups: none
Notable Players: Jason Arnott, Radek Bonk, JP Dumont, Dan Ellis, Peter Forsberg, Scott Hartnell, Paul Kariya, David Legwand, Alexander Radulov, Cliff Ronning, Steve Sullivan, Kimmo Timonen, Tomas Vokoun