With the stupidest lockout in the history of stupid lockouts now dead and gone, it’s time to start looking forward to hockey season. I started my look at the Nashville Predators 2013 roster with an overview of the team’s forwards. Here are the defensemen and goalies we’ll be watching when the puck hits the ice at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville Predators 2013 Roster: Defensemen and Goalies
The veteran defensemen on the 2013 Nashville Predators roster are a solid bunch.
Shea Weber became one of the most coveted defensemen in the league during his first several years with the team. Now that he’s signed a massive contract to play for Nashville for the next 400 years, Predators fans will finally get the chance to stop holding their breath and start enjoying his quest to become the franchise’s first Norris Trophy winner.
So far as the other veterans go, Hal Gill is the only player on the team to have won the Stanley Cup, Kevin Klein is the definition of reliability, and new acquisition Scott Hannan should add some grit and veteran presence to the lower pairings. The only real question is which of the vets Coach Barry Trotz will pair with which of the younger defensemen.
It sounds funny to say it given that the franchise is known for producing blueliners, but this is the one part of the Nashville Predators 2013 roster that could be due for a quick upgrade. After Ryan Suter’s departure last off-season, half the defensemen carried by Nashville have less than two seasons of service in the NHL. Josh Cooper of the Tennessean recently predicted that GM David Poile would make a trade for a puck-moving defenseman, a move which would bolster one of the few potential weaknesses on an otherwise solid squad.
It almost goes without saying, but since we’ve been without hockey for so long I’l repeat it: as goes Pekka Rinne, so go the Nashville Predators. The Nashville system requires a steady presence in goal, and Rinne has been exactly that since he first earned the team’s starting job in 2008-09. He’s taken the team to two straight Western Conference Semifinal appearances and finished second in voting for the Vezina Trophy. All of the team’s hopes ride on Rinne.
Veteran goalie Chris Mason, a former Nashville Predators, signed with the team during the off-season. The original intent was to have him take some of the load off Rinne over the course of a long season so the superstar didn’t have to play 73 games like he did in 2011-12. That might not be as necessary now that the Preds are playing a shortened 2013 season, but Mason’s veteran presence should be another calming factor for the team.
Milwaukee Admirals starter Jeremy Smith could be called up to fill a spot on the roster in case of injury to either Rinne or Mason, but he is unlikely to see much playing time unless both go down. And prospect Magnus Hellberg is still adjusting to the North American game, so we probably won’t see him here in Nashville this season.
Well, there you have it – a full rundown of the defensive side of the 2013 Nashville Predators roster. Check out my look at the team’s forwards, and let’s get ready for some hockey!