by the Off the Pipe Hockey Staff
As we prepare for the start of the season, the Off the Pipe staff have been having an ongoing conversation about who have been the greatest influencers in Nashville Predators history. Which faces would go on the Predators’ Mount Rushmore. Who would be enshrined in the Preds’ Valhalla? We all agreed to not intentionally keep any category of person, whether they be players, management, media or fan. Not surprisingly, there was a lot of agreement at the top of the list. However, our lower level picks were all across the board . Here is the Top 10 list, according to the OTP crew.
Nate Harber: Peter Laviolette – “He hasn’t been here long, but he had had a huge impact on this team. Western Conference Championship, Stanley Cup Final, Presidents Trophy. What more can be said”
Taylor Parks: David Legwand – “First ever draft pick is hard not to recognize. Was he a bust? Maybe, but his contributions were still evident.”
Jackson Walsh: Craig Leipold– “Perhaps a man that should be higher on the list, but as our first owner, we have to start at the very beginning. He’s the man who brought hockey to Music City and literally named the Nashville Predators. He was the one that pushed for the franchise to even exist in the first place and had the commissioners tour the arena to give their blessing. The Predators have had several owners since Leipold, but the guy who was there at the very start deserves recognition.”
Ed Neely: Paul McCann – “The Predators PA announcer has been with the team since the beginning of the 2006 season and has become known as one of the best PA men in the league. He has a great deal to do with the game day experience and is one of the nicest men you’ll meet. Thanks Paul!”
JW: David Legwand – “The first ever Predator picked 2nd overall in 1998 behind Vincent Lecavalier and still the franchise’s all time point, goal, and assist leader with 566, 210 goals, 356 assists. The numbers alone give him a spot on our list, but he stayed for a while with both good and bad Predators teams (and the lockout) being the final inaugural member of the club to retire or move.”
NH: David Legwand – “The original Predator. Though not quite living up to his potential, his footprint on this franchise is undeniable. He holds nearly every scoring record on the team. Goals, assists, points, GWG.”
TP: Tomas Vokoun – “First marquee goaltender and anchor in the Predators goal that was drafted and developed. Helped the team win first playoff game against Detroit.”
EN: Filip Forsberg – “Prince Filip is the product of what could be considered the most lop-sided trade in NHL history when he came to the Preds from the Capitals for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. Filip has earned many nicknames since he has been here, but Scoresberg is probably the most appropriate. He is a human highlight reel and has a knack for making jaws and jockstraps hit the ice on a regular basis.”
TP: Pete Rogers/Jeff Camelio – “Head and assistant Equipment Mangers over 30 years combined with Preds. Behind the scenes guys that deserve a ton more credit.”
NH: Terry Crisp – “You can’t have Pete without Terry for all the reasons above. Plus Crispy is the most likable guy in team history.”
JW: Mike Fisher– “While not a Predator for his entire career, being well known as an Ottawa Senator, Fish was that veteran player that gave the team morale in the 2016-18 playoff run(s). Being married to country singer Carrie Underwood, he was psyched to be here in Nashville, but he often would put on a show of his own. One of his notable highlights is his 3rd overtime goal in Game 4 of the 2016 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Sharks. He notably retired after the historic 2016-17 Cup run. His career is likely over for good, but he won’t soon be forgotten.”
EN: Sean Henry – “The Predsident has been with the Predators for eight years and has been the CEO since 2015. He is very much the face of the customer service and community side of the organization. He can be seen every game day walking the stands or concourses talking to fans and is very responsive to both season-ticket holders as well as game day purchase fans.”
NH: Pete Weber – “The first play-by-play guy in Preds history. He’s the voice of the Nashville Predators. Pete did a fantastic job of teaching hockey to a budding southern market and growing the fandom.”
TP: Pete Weber/Terry Crisp – “The faces of the franchise when Nashville came to town. From hosting hockey classes to helping teach the game to Nashville to numerous historic calls, Pete and Terry should be on the Predators’ Mount Rushmore.”
JW: Shea Weber– “Arguably one of the most famous players and definitely a fan favorite. Weber began his bout with the Predators when drafted in 2003 and still remains second to Legwand in goals scored all time. During his time in Nashville he racked up an insane amount of points and was a two-time Norris trophy finalist, as well as a Hart trophy finalist. He was practically Mr. Predator, and was a pivotal piece to the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund.”
EN: Peter Laviolette – “Lavi has taken the Preds to the Stanley Cup Playoffs all four years he’s been behind the bench and has brought the Preds to a new level of success. He’s helped them to hoist their first Division and Conference Championship banners and their first President’s Trophy. Laviolette has transformed the Preds from being only a stingy defensive team to a team that is a significant offensive threat as well.”
JW: Filip Forsberg– “The man known as “Scoresberg.” His 255 points are slowly bringing our young forward into superstar status. He’s always the guy you can depend on for a crucial goal when needed, something the Preds haven’t always had.”
NH: Shea Weber – “Weber gave the Preds their street cred for having the best D core in the NHL.”
TP: PK Subban – “A-list celebrity, top 5 defensemen, most notable Predator that leads one of the best defensive blue lines, cover athlete of NHL 19, numerous Norris trophy finalist and winner. Most polarizing player in the entire NHL, and he’s pretty dang good as well.”
EN: David Legwand – “Leggy is the original Predator and the all-time leader in games played, goals, assists, points, goals created, even-strength goals and game-winning goals.”
TP: Mike Fisher – “The King of Nashville’s most famous celebrity couple. A huge part of the Predators franchise on and off the ice. Does a ton of charitable work off the ice and Captain during the cup run.”
JW: Terry Crisp – “What Nashville needed for anyone to take hockey seriously in Music City. Terry was a guy who knew the game, a veteran of the sport, and has won two Cups as a player and one as a coach.”
NH: Local owners – “Got to love ’em. Your team would be the Hamilton Predators if they hadn’t stepped up. Ten years later, it’s hard to believe there was ever a chance of losing the Preds.”
EN: Shea Weber – “Weber was the quarterback of the Preds blue line for years. He’s the longest serving captain in team history and the first one drafted by the Predators organization. His Howitzer of a shot was enough to make any opposing player turtle in front of the net. He is either 1st, 2nd or 3rd in nearly every statistical category, for skaters, in franchise history.”
NH: Garry Bettman – “Bettman gets a lot of hate, but Preds fans should be really appreciative of the Commissar. He believed hockey could work in Nashville and stuck by us during the stressful period of us potentially losing the franchise.”
TP: Shea Weber – “Oh captain, my captain. Known for his huge slap shot and “take no crap” attitude, Weber was the face of the franchise for a number of years. Best known off the ice his work with “Best Buddies” of Nashville and the 365 Pediatric Cancer fund.”
EN: Pete Weber and Terry Crisp – “I know that this is technically two people, but they are like peanut butter and jelly or catfish and hush puppies; they go together. The way they helped the fanbase in Smashville learn the game cannot be overvalued. Without these two personalities, the game would not have taken such a strong hold in this city.”
JW: “When you look at the seasons he’s been in net, the Preds would not have made it as far as they did. Most notably including the Stanley Cup Final in 2017.”
TP: “Pekka. Rinne. Vezina Trophy winner, 300 plus wins, and beloved Nashvillian. Drafted in the 8th round, no one could have guessed he would have this great of an impact.”
NH: “How could he not be on the list? Pekka is the best goalie in franchise history and has been between the pipes for some of the team’s biggest achievements.”
EN: “It was easy for me to put Pekka near the top of my list. He has been the heart and soul of this team for 10 years and has been actively working to develop his replacement. No other player who has just brought home the trophy as the best in his position would work to develop the kid trying to take his job.”
Pekka Rinne comes in third on our list and will almost certainly be the first player in Predators’ history to have his sweater hanging from the rafters in Bridgestone Arena. This former 8th round draft pick has played 567 games in a Preds sweater, including 83 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and has a career goals against average of 2.37 and a .919 Save percentage. He is the most unselfish player and finally brought home the Vezina Trophy last season, getting the national recognition for his skills in net.
TP: “It takes a certain kind of person to take on a new hockey team in the south, but Barry Trotz was right for the job. One of the greatest guys you will ever meet, Trotz built the Nashville Predators “his way” and had a playoff contender nearly every year. All you need to know, Trotz is the only opposing coach that is not a part of the “he sucks too” chant.”
NH: “Trotz, while never making it past the second round with the team, should not be seen a unaccomplished coach. Barry deserves so much credit for the success of the franchise. Let’s be honest, he coached some very crappy Preds teams but managed to keep us competitive year in and year out. His off ice contribution to the community and helping to grow the fanbase cannot be understated.”
EN: “Trotzy was always a calming force for the Predators, both in the locker room and on the bench and in front of the cameras. He is also such a great guy off this ice that the city fell in love with him and his family.”
Trotz Coached 1,196 regular season games behind the Predators bench and another 50 in the post-season. He was the stability for this team during the hard years and was the architect of the vaunted Preds blue line.
The unanimous choice for most important person in the Predators franchise history among the Off the Pipe Hockey staff is Predators General Manager, David Poile. Poile is the only GM in franchise history and the mind behind the method for building this team. He is widely thought of as one of the best GMs in the game and is known to be a master deal maker.
NH: “This is the man with a plan that’s been with the organization from day one. He has made absolutely amazing one-sided trades over and over again. This organization would be nowhere without him.”
TP: “The wizard. The mastermind. The GM. Since the very beginning he has been at the front of the Predators organization and has delivered. And now the NHL’s all-time winningest GM.”
JW: “He built this team from nothing and has made it a perennial contender. The guy may not have a Cup yet, but the wins speak for themselves.”
EN: “David Poile is the brain behind the Predators organization. The brain drives everything in the body and Poile drives every function of this team.”
The OTP staff ran a poll on the Nashville Predators Fan Page on Facebook and the overwhelming top Predator in franchise history was Pekka Rinne (259 votes) with David Poile coming in second (48 votes).
Reader Alex Kolstee said “Gotta be Pekka Rinne, but won’t be long before Forsberg rises to his top form. Scary thing is that I don’t think he’s in his prime yet.”
Reader Joel Shanker looked at it from a different angle “Come on now….the best player was Martin Erat. I mean look at what he returned….a young prospect named Forsberg…now a human highlight reel. Erat gets my vote!! (Sarcasm for those who take me seriously).”
In what is possibly the biggest shocker in the poll, Barb Murphy, of 5/3 Bank infamy, was the third leading candidate with 13 votes. There is either a baker’s dozen of readers who are in grave danger of failing their next drug screening at work, or a lot of people who are trying to step up their troll game.
Agree with our top 10 picks? Let us know in the comments below.