Nashville Predators Team History

Updated October 2018.

Wisconsin businessman Craig Leipold made a proposal to the NHL to bring the league to Nashville. It was granted in June 1997 and play began in 1998-99. The logo, which was a reference to the saber-toothed cat skeleton that was discovered beneath the city in 1971, was founded before the team name. After a fan vote, “Predators” became the name.

predators logo oldThe organization is unique in the fact that the general manager, David Poile, has remained with the team since its inception. Poile is the only man to be a finalist for the GM of the Year Award for each of the first three years of the award’s existence (2010, 2011 and 2012).

The club employed the same coach from its inception until the end of the 2013-14 season. Barry Trotz is a two-time finalist for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year (2010 and 2011). He has since been succeeded by Peter Laviolette.

With only one playoff series under their belts before the 2004-05 lockout, the Predators built a Stanley Cup-caliber roster for the 2005 and 2006 postseasons. Unfortunately, Paul Kariya, Kimmo Timonen and Tomas Vokoun could not get the Predators passed the San Jose Sharks, who defeated the Predators in the quarterfinals both seasons.

The franchise won its first playoff series in 2011, when it defeated the Anaheim Ducks in six games only to lose the next series to the Vancouver Canucks, 4-2.

predators logo currentThe next season, the Predators once again shaped a formidable playoff team, this time with Shea Weber and Ryan Suter leading the way. In the quarterfinals, the Predators beat the Red Wings in five games but ran into the hot Phoenix Coyotes in the semifinals. Phoenix allowed just nine goals en route to a 4-1 series victory.

The Predators did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2013 or 2014, but returned in 2015. Both times, the Predators fell victim to the eventual Western Conference champions (2015: first round, Chicago Blackhawks; 2016, second round: San Jose Sharks).

The Predators have always been known for their defensive lineup, but a major shakeup occurred in June 2016. GM Poile traded his longtime captain, Shea Weber, to the Montreal Canadiens for P.K. Subban. With Roman Josi on defense, Pekka Rinne in goal, and a crop of talented forwards (Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, James Neal), the Predators went on a tear through the Western Conference playoffs in 2017 as the final playoff seed, losing just four times against the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins thwarted the Preds’ Cup hopes, winning the Final in six games.

Although the Predators again bowed out of the playoffs without a Cup title in 2018, this time in the second round to the Winnipeg Jets, Nashville remains a Stanley Cup favorite as top centers Johansen and Kyle Turris look to terrorize the Western Conference yet again.

Predators locker room 2 Predators locker room1


Feature photo courtesy Jim Diamond | Flickr

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Jeff Ponder

The author Jeff Ponder

Jeff brings a wealth of hockey retail experience to xHockeyProducts, as well as a vast knowledge of marketing and content development. Jeff is also a former hockey reporter for various media outlets in the St. Louis area and has attended numerous NHL Entry Drafts. He has played hockey since the age of 10.