The Nashville Predators are a young franchise without any numbers retired besides Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99. But at some point, the team will make the move and add some numbers to the rafters. Since their entrance into the league in 1998, they have had 13 players become All-Stars and several Olympic athletes. Here are six players who should be among the first to have their number retired in Music City.
#6 Shea Weber
In 2003, the Predators drafted Shea Weber in the second round, 49th overall. He had five All-Star team selections and was a first-team All-Star in both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. After his rookie season, he only had two seasons where he didn’t score 40 points. As the captain of the team in 2016, he was the winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award. “It’s pretty special to win it,” Weber said. “From an all-time great leader like Mark Messier, it means a lot, especially with the guys I was nominated with who easily could’ve won it. It’s definitely special.” He also won two gold medals with Canada in the Winter Olympic Games in 2010 and 2014.
With Nashville, Weber scored over 50 points in three seasons, and over 40 in five. He was in the running for several Norris Trophies, being a runner-up for the award two years in a row. The fifth captain in Predators’ history was known for his vicious slapshot, once going through the net. Weber was a fan favorite in Nashville with many accolades to go along with it.
#9 Filip Forsberg
The Swedish winger wasn’t exactly a late-round success story. He was a first-round pick in 2012, 11th overall by the Washington Capitals, but he has earned that selection. The Capitals got the raw end of the deal in their trade giving him away. They traded Forsberg to the Predators for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. Forsberg has proven them wrong, providing fans with as many exciting moments and beautiful goals as any Predator has.
The alternate captain has just under 50 goals left to reach the top of the franchise’s all-time scoring list. Forsberg is definitely a player whose entire story isn’t written, and Nashville fans hope he adds more accolades, furthering his case to retire No. 9. With 166 goals, he is chasing David Legwand at 210 for the franchise record. He is 7th in franchise history in assists with 187 and 5th in points with 353. Already the leader in hat tricks, he has made up ground on these lists in quick fashion.
#11 David Legwand
The first Predator ever deserves a spot, right? American-born forward David Legwand was Nashville’s first pick at second overall during the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He currently owns the franchise records for games played, points scored, most assists, and overall points. He played in 956 games as a Predator, scoring 210 goals and 356 assists. He wasn’t a flashy player and didn’t receive any All-Star accolades, but that didn’t stop him from being a fan favorite in Nashville. If any numbers are retired, it would be hard to not include the original.
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Legwand was almost a career Predator, only playing two seasons out of Nashville. The next closest in games played in franchise history is Weber at 763. The leader in goals for the team led them to their first playoff series win in 2011. As the first Predator, he is atop many lists and is partially responsible for the current hockey culture in Nashville.
#35 Pekka Rinne
Possibly the greatest Finnish goalie of all-time, Pekka Rinne was drafted by Nashville in the eighth round of the 2004 Draft. The current Predator is a four-time All-Star Game selection that has been a finalist for the Vezina Trophy on three separate occasions, winning it in 2018. With the Predators’ style of play during his tenure with the team, he has been a big reason for keeping them in games.
Even with his recent struggles, Rinne has been a wall in the net for many years. He is the franchise leader in wins with 359 and 58 career shutouts. He owns every franchise record a goaltender can as a Predator, without many close seconds. The Vezina Trophy winner led Nashville to their only Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2017.
#44 Kimmo Timonen
The second All-Star selection in Predators’ history was Kimmo Timonen, gaining three selections overall. The blueliner brought some attention to the team as one of the first elite players in franchise history. He didn’t put up the big goal numbers like Weber, but he had plenty of successful 40- to 50-point seasons. Arguably his best season as a Predator was his last, in 2006-07, with 13 goals and 42 assists in 80 games played. He was then traded and won the Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks.
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Timonen was a dependable defenseman who has a case to hang his number in Nashville. He is eighth in games played as a Predator at 573, with over 1,100 games in his career. He would have an even stronger case than he already does if he wasn’t traded away in his early 30s.
#59 Roman Josi
Here is another player who is far from being finished, but we can go ahead and predict that he will end his career with an even better case than he has now. Roman Josi was just selected to his second straight All-Star game, making it his third appearance overall. Since his debut in 2011, Josi leads the Predators in points and assists. He is already eighth on the franchise’s goal-scoring list with 109, and third in assists at 304.
At 29 years old, he hopefully has many years left wearing No. 59 in Nashville. Josi recently signed an eight-year extension worth $72 million and includes a full no-movement clause. This contract will almost guarantee that he will be a Predator for life, and should pass many franchise legends along the way.
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There are several other players that fans can make great arguments for receiving this honor. P.K. Subban, James Neal, and Thomas Vokoun are among those players who also have a list of accomplishments to write about. It’s exciting to find out which players and numbers, if any of these, will finally make it to the rafters in Nashville.