This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.
1. Shea Weber — 555 votes
2. Pekka Rinne — 282 votes
3. David Legwand — 103 votes
It’s hard to argue Shea Weber winning the vote as the greatest Predators player in team history.
He doesn’t (currently) hold the team record for most games played, goals, or points but his role in establishing the defensive might of the Preds has been huge. Even still, his 131 goals and 347 points are good for third all-time in Predators history behind Legwand and Martin Erat.
Why yes, the Predators have only been around for 15 seasons – why do you bring that up?
Weber’s ferocious physical play and even more fearful slapshot have earned him league-wide fame. Players who have gone down to block his shots on the power play become virtual heroes for trying to stop a shot that’s been registered at over 100 miles per-hour on the reg.
It’s crazy to think Weber almost wasn’t a Predator. The infamous 14-year, $110 million monster offer sheet the Philadelphia Flyers signed him to in 2012 as a restricted free agent pushed Nashville GM David Poile to make the financially difficult decision to match it. Player-wise, it was a no-brainer to retain the guy they made captain of the team and his consistent Norris Trophy-level play has proved that.
While Weber proves to be his ever-consistent self, it’s up to Poile and now Peter Laviolette to make it all pay off and bring Nashville a Stanley Cup. At the very least, they don’t have to sweat the blue line.
There’s no doubt it’s been a rough year for Michael Del Zotto.
He wound up in Alain Vigneault’s doghouse with the New York Rangers and was traded to Nashville where he wound up being “not a fit” with the Predators according to GM David Poile.
Now we’re almost three weeks into free agency and Del Zotto has yet to land with a team. That’s serving only to be a motivation for the 24-year-old defenseman as Luke Fox of Sportsnet shared.
“I’m just waiting for the right opportunity to prove myself again,” Del Zotto says, “and prove everybody who’s doubted me wrong.”
Del Zotto said he’s been speaking to “a bunch” of teams lately and he’s eager to show his offensive game can be a valuable asset to whatever team wants him.
The offensive game is fine, but it’s the defensive side of things that he’ll have to show aren’t an issue. Going back to his time playing for John Tortorella in New York, that was one of the issues that had to be figured out. At his age it’s not as if he’s a lost cause, but with how things have gone in the past year, including Barry Trotz saying his game has “slipped”, he’s proving to be a hard sell.
The Nashville Predators signing of forward Mike Ribeiro to a one-year, $1.05 million deal on Tuesday afternoon came with a bit of a raised eyebrow.
Ribeiro was bought out by the Arizona Coyotes after playing just one year of a four-year, $22 million deal he signed with the team last summer. Coyotes GM Don Maloney made it known when announcing the buy out that “behavioral issues” forced the team to send him packing and eat the final three years of the contract to the tune of $1.944 million over the next six years.
Now that he’s in Nashville, Predators GM David Poile didn’t mince words when it came to the subject of whether he was concerned for how Ribeiro would handle his new situation.
Ribeiro has seemingly worn out his welcome in other locations aside from Glendale. The Washington Capitals didn’t try to re-sign him last summer after a successful season in D.C. and he was traded by both the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Stars.
After being publicly sent on his way and shamed for it, he’ll have plenty to prove as a player in Nashville. The Predators hope their gamble on his ability to get straightened out pays off.
It hasn’t been a banner year for Michael Del Zotto and the summer isn’t making things any better for him.
After he fell out of favor with Alain Vigneault in New York, after rough times with John Tortorella there, he was dealt to Nashville for Kevin Klein. Things got worse with the Predators as he wound up being a healthy scratch, GM David Poile admitted he didn’t fit in there and wasn’t given a qualifying offer, thus making him a free agent.
Now we’re six days into free agency and there’s not a sniff at the 24-year-old. Larry Brooks of the New York Post says the problem here is with the player and it may be time for him to start taking the hint.
This can’t be about the dotted line for Del Zotto — not now. For the bottom line is that at the age of 24, Del Zotto is a reclamation project. It is impossible to believe there aren’t needy teams out there that wouldn’t take a flier on him, but at their price, not his; their terms, not his.
This is a summer in which Del Zotto should spend his time surrounded by, and looking at, mirrors. The alarm has sounded.
Del Zotto once put up solid numbers, as recently as 2011-12, but it’s been a trial for him more often than not. If the problem is with him, he’s got a great opportunity to make something of himself as long as he’s willing to go for it.
After 15 seasons with the Nashville Predators, Barry Trotz won’t be the head coach anymore.
Predators GM David Poile announced this afternoon that after two consecutive seasons out of the playoffs, Trotz’s contract would not be extended past this season and they will seek out a new coach for the first time since the Predators were founded in 1998.
Poile was emotional making today’s statement:
Trotz was offered a position with the organization’s hockey operations department but after being the only head coach the team has had, he may want to take a break from things in Nashville. Trotz will also likely have a host of suitors this summer with coaching vacancies possibly opening up in Vancouver and Toronto.
During Trotz’s tenure in Nashville, the Predators made the playoffs in seven of his 15 seasons behind the bench. The Preds reached the Western Conference semifinals in back-to-back seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Since then, the Preds have fallen back to the pack and amassed 88 points this season, good for sixth place in the Central Division. The 38 wins the Predators earned this year were the fewest in an 82-game season since 2003-04. Coincidentally enough, that was the first season Nashville made the playoffs.