NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Thursday’s matchup between the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
The Predators signed free-agent Matt Duchene this offseason to help solidify their top two lines. Duchene has been centering Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund for a lot of the preseason, and they will likely open the season as Nashville’s second line. If this line holds, that means the top producing line from last season of Forsberg-Ryan Johansen–Viktor Arvidsson will be split up.
Duchene will also start the season on the top power play unit as the net-front forward. He had six power play goals last season, while the Predators collectively had just 33 (tied for second fewest in NHL).
“The hope was that we could bring basically two No. 1 lines to our arsenal,” said Predators GM David Poile. “If we can come up with a second line that produces more offense than we have in the last couple of years, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
Bill Guerin was named new GM of the Wild after Paul Fenton’s surprising firing. Guerin joins the Wild after five seasons as assistant GM for the Pittsburgh Penguins, having also served as the GM for Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the past two seasons. Guerin has won four Stanley Cups in his career, two as a player and two as AGM with the Penguins.
One of Guerin’s first big moves as the Wild’s GM was signing defenseman Jared Spurgeon to a seven-year, $53.025M contract extension at the beginning of training camp. Spurgeon now has the richest annual average salary in Wild history ($7.575 million per year from 2020-21 through 2026-27).
Last year, the Wild missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012, losing 12 of their final 17 games. It was the first time the Wild missed the playoffs in the Parise-Suter era. Nashville has made the playoffs in five straight seasons, which is tied with Washington for the second longest active streak in the NHL.
WHAT: Minnesota Wild at Nashville Predators
WHERE: Bridgestone Arena
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. ET
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Wild-Predators stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.
Starting goalie: Devan Dubnyk
Starting goalie: Pekka Rinne
Chris Cuthbert (play-by-play), Mike Milbury (analyst) and AJ Mleczko (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.