Nashville Predators fans would love to be celebrating playoff hockey in May, but the Chicago Blackhawks took care of that. However, fans can still see their favorite Predators playing hockey in at the World Hockey Championships.
Today I’m starting a new Friday feature called the Preds Poll where I put a question to the fans about the club. The inaugural edition will what player will step up at the World Hockey Championships.
Finland- G Pekka Rinne
Rinne is back in the international spotlight after last year’s tournament got him MVP honors. The Finnish goalie has had a resurgent season that’s landed him a Vezina Trophy nod.
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Rinne drew the start in the game against the Team USA, and will be the #1 goalie as Boston’s Tuukka Rask will skip the tournament.
The Finns usually do well in this tournament (they won sliver last year) and have a great shot with Rinne leading the way.
Switzerland- D Roman Josi & F Kevin Fiala
Roman Josi may have first came on the scene at the 2013 World Hockey Championships with his most valuable player performance. Josi has built off that performance and had Norris Trophy-caliber campaign this season with the Predators.
Kevin Fiala played most of the season with the Predators’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. The young Swiss forward ended with 11 goals and nine assists in 33 games. This might be the tournament that Fiala breaks out.
Switzerland is a dark horse in these tournaments and has pulled off upsets against Canada before.
Sweden- D Mattias Ekholm & F Filip Forsberg
Ekholm is another one of the great Nashville blueliners to be playing in the World Hockey Championships. The Swede totaled seven goals and 11 assists for the Predators this season. Ekholm made the all-tournament team last year.
We all know about Filip Forsberg and his great rookie campaign. Many thought Forsberg was snubbed for the Calder Trophy, but the World Hockey Championships might be a chance to take out his frustrations on the other teams.
Sweden took the bronze at last year’s World Hockey Championships and are expected to be in the mix.
Team USA- D Seth Jones, F Steve Moses, F Jimmy Vesey
Team USA will have the most Preds on a team with three. (Craig Smith could’ve made it four.) Seth Jones has the most international experience and was a member of the 2013 World Championships along with Vesey. Jones shouldered a heavy load against the Blackhawks and is turning into a solid defenseman.
This will be the first chance Nashville fans will see Moses on Team USA. He’s been tearing up the KHL and led the league with 57 points. Moses may be small, but he’s used to the international ice.
So Who Will Do Well at World Hockey Championships?
I think Rinne will get a lot of the time in net and could do well. Josi has the potential to repeat his top performance and Forsberg will want to cap his great 2014-15 NHL season.
What do you think? Vote and leave comments below. Enjoy the World Hockey Championships.
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Dan Mount is a Nashville Predators staff writer for The Hockey Writers. You can follow him on Twitter, @DanMountSports.