The Nashville Predators are a professional hockey team that plays in the NHL as a part of the central division. The team was founded in 1998 when the NHL granted an expansion franchise to business owner, Craig Leopold and came after months of The City of Nashville offering a 20-million-dollar bonus to whoever moved to the city.
Despite having a group of promising talent to forge the future of the organization, the Nashville Predators still did not have a winning record in their first five seasons of existence. They did come close however, going 34-36 in 2000, but the team still missed a playoff berth that year and finished third in their division.
All that would change in 2003 however, as the Predators would go 38-29 and make the playoffs for the first time in organization history. This charge was led by Scott Walker, Martin Erat, Greg Johnson, and Scott Harnell, who all put up considerable numbers and really gave the team a chance of thriving when it came to the postseason.
Unfortunately for the Predators, none of that would come to realization and they would be eliminated by the Red Wings in the quarter finals. The Predators did pull out two wins in this series, including one shutout in the fourth game of the series, but it was not enough to stop the Red Wings from ending their season in six games.
Unbelievably, the Predators would make the playoffs again in 2006 thanks to a 51-23 record, but again lost in the quarter finals of the playoffs. This had to be very frustrating for a team that was steadily improving year by year and just could not seem to catch a break when it finally came to the first round of the postseason.
2007 would not be much different, as the Predators went 41-32 and made the playoffs for the third straight year in a row. While this is quite an accomplishment for a young team, the feat was promptly undone by the fact that they lost to the Red Wings 4-2 in the quarter finals. This would only be the beginning of their frustrations as a lot of doubt started to shroud this team
What made things worse though was the fact that the owner ended up selling the team in 2008 citing low fan interest and attendance as the main reasons. This led to a group of local owners buying the team from Leopold and keeping the organization alive. The new owners decided not to make any personnel changes after the change in ownership though and did not even make a move on the trade block that year.
Fortunately for the Predators, after a three year playoff drought, they made the playoffs again in 2014 when they went 47-25 and were set for a first-round match up against the Blackhawks. While the Predators would fight valiantly throughout the series, even losing the first game in a tense match up that went into overtime, they would once against lose 4-2 and face yet another first round exit from the postseason.
And then, it finally happened. After 18 years of trying to get past the second round, the Predators actually made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, defeating the Blackhawks, the Blues, and the Ducks. This was of course with the help of Viktor Arviddson, Filip Forsberg, and Mike Finisher, but not even those all-stars could prevent a loss to The Penguins 2-4 in the Stabley Cup Finals.
One year after that phenomenal feat, the Predators won their division for the first time in organization history and was presented with The President’s Cup as a result. The team went 53-18 that year, which was also a best for the team and showed just how much they had improved in their short existent.
Today, the predators are still owned by the same ownership group that bought the team off of Craig Leopard and are coached by John Hynes. Some of the team’s key players include Craig Smith, Yannick Weber, Filip Forsberg, Dante Fabbro, Viktor Arvidsson and Pekke Rinne, who have all contributed to the team having a great deal of of consistency.
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