The Predators organization and their fans hold a special place for departed players. While there are some that draw the jeers and hisses of a ravenous crowd, most former Predators are always considered family and as such are treated to an admiration and beloved stature that other teams with longer pasts may not address.
As a tribute to some of the former Predators that have been involved in the playoffs, I have a small list of achievers that have helped their teams in tremendous ways in the post-season. Even though some of these players seasons have already ended, their impact in the series has been felt, some more than others:
The Predators had their share of heroes in the first round of the playoffs against Detroit. Names like Klein and Bourque permeate the lips of the NHL experts and Nashville is proving that depth is the biggest key for their first-round success.
Nashville has been a potter’s wheel for depth and positional players for quite some time. Whether they were drafted by the organization, traded for or signed in the off-season these players are the definition of the working class attitude instilled by Coach Trotz and the mentality of the fan base that cheers for the Predators.
Here is a modest list of these players that have done many great things in the Predators blue and how they have fared in the playoffs:
Scottie Upshall – Florida – Upshall has 1 goal, 2 assist and 3 points. Nothing too amazing but considering how close the Florida/New Jersey series has been, it is a great accomplishment from the 3rd/4th line forward
Rich Peverley – Boston – After notchingh is name into a Stanley Cup last year, Peverley has seen many an opportunity to shine on either the 1st/2nd line of the Bruins. Peverley had 3 goals and 2 assists in the playoffs.
Steve Sullivan – Pittsburgh – Sullivan has endeared himself in the hearts of most Predator fans with his drive, determination and speed. Also, scoring a hat trick the first time he donned a Predator sweater didn’t hurt much either. Sully was the anchor of an intimidating Pittsburgh power play where he scored 2 PP goals in the series. He would finish with 4 assists and 6 points.
Scott Hartnell – Philadelphia – Hartnell is one of the hardest-working players in the game today and has flourished on the top line of the Flyers with Jagr and Giroux. Hartnell put up 2 goals and 3 assists. Both goals were scored on the PP with one being a game-winner.
Marcel Goc – Florida – Marcel Goc was one of the underdog choices for Predator fans to root for and a favorite of one J.R. Lind. Goc is a beast on the face-off dot and he chips in with timely goals in Florida much like he did with Nashville. He has 1 goal and 3 assists so far and his lone goal was a game winner. Goc has proven to be a very successful center on the upstart Florida Panthers roster.
Joel Ward – Washington – If you haven’t heard about Joel Ward yet today, chances are you’re not paying much attention to the NHL. Joel ward was one of the biggest contributors to the Predators post-season last year which in turn got him his lucrative contract with the Washington Capitals. Ward delivered in a timely fashion scoring the overtime winner in the Washington/Boston series lifting Washington over the much-favored Bruins. 1 very important goal and 2 assists for the series.
Although there are others in the playoffs that were former Predators (Arnott, Nichol, etc.) they haven’t matched the contributions of these other players in helping their team to advance or providing the depth and positional leverage to assist their team in matching up against stiff competition.
Time will tell if any of these advancing teams players may come back to haunt the Predators, but that would be the very fortunate match-up for the Stanley Cup as all those listed play in the East.
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