That Nashville Predators Jersey that you had a couple of years ago with the big David Legwand number 11 can finally be re-used this year. You see, Cody Hodgson is going to take 11 this year. All you have to do is find a seamstress, have her take Leggies name from it and replace it with Hodgson. Or there is always that silver Duct Tape…
That’s the problem with purchasing an NHL team sweater with your favorite players name on it. They aren’t going to play forever. And most aren’t going to play for the same team forever either. These things aren’t exactly cheap either. So you have to think long and hard about which jersey to choose.
The first choice is whether to get the white or the gold. You may still have a blue one or, heaven forbid the old mustard colored one with the front facing sabre-tooth tiger on the front. How about that old third jersey with the string ties at the neck? The best choice now for sure is the gold jersey. After all the Predators have announced that Saturday night games this year “Golden Saturdays“. You don’t want to miss out on that.
Okay, next you have to decide whose name to have on the jersey. While it is safe, it is generally considered lame to put your own name on the back of the jersey. Of course that idea may have started with the NHL who likes to sell those new jerseys every year! So now you have to choose between your favorite players.
There is one other thing you might want to take into consideration. You should probably think about the chances that your choice will be playing in Smashville for as long as possible. That way your jersey will continue to be relevant and you won’t have to make another trip to that seamstress. They don’t take the jerseys back at the store just because your favorite player got traded to another team.
With that in mind we wanted to help you decide who has the best chance to be a Predator for a long time and is still a name that you would be proud to wear. This is mostly based on length of contract and how likely they are to stay a Predator. Here is our ranking:
1. Roman Josi – There could have been several players here that are more popular but none that are as safe a bet as the young defenseman. He has a cap friendly contract that will last for five more years until after the 2019-20 season. He is only 25 years old and looks to get even better, possibly into superstar status in the league. There is very little chance that the Predators would consider trading him for those reasons. Your jersey will be safe for many years.
2. Pekka Rinne – Pekka could have easily been number one on this list but he does have one less year on his contract than Josi does. He is signed for four more years although it is at $7 million per year. Good goaltenders are very hard to come by and Rinne is one of the best. The Preds do have a couple of highly rated goalies in the minors but it is a pretty sure bet that your jersey will be good for four more years and probably a lot longer than that.
3. Shea Weber – Another possible choice for the top spot but there has been so much talk about possible trades for the Captain that he settles in at number three. He is also signed for another five years although his cap hit is $7.8 million a year. If there is ever cap trouble in Nashville, this is one place that would have to be looked at. A pretty safe bet for your Gold Sweater though.
4. Craig Smith – Smitty just signed a new deal that will keep him here for five more years. He is coming off two nice years of 23 or more goals and the upside on this kid is great. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020 but at 25 years-old I expect him to be here for many years to come.
5. Colin Wilson – Coming off his first 20 goal season, Willie is finally showing the promise the Predators expected when they made him their first round draft pick in the 2008 entry draft. He just signed a cap-friendly four-year deal and like Smith is only 25 years old and full of promise. His jersey is a safe bet too.
6. Filip Forsberg – Okay, so young Mr. Forsberg is a restricted free agent at the end of this year. That is the only reason that he is so low on the list. Any team can offer him a contract after this year if the Predators don’t sign him by the deadline. That doesn’t happen often and the Predators can match like they did with Shea Weber. There is no reason to believe that Prince Filip won’t be with this team for a long, long time as he is one of the faces of the franchise. He would be a lot of folks first choice and that is a pretty safe bet.
7. Seth Jones – See #6 above. Most of the same things go for Seth Jones as they do for Filip Forsberg. He will be an RFA at the end of the year but he’s not going anywhere. The Predators have plenty of cap space and they will sign both of these youngsters even if they have to match another team’s offer.
8. Ryan Ellis – Ryan Ellis signed a new contract at the beginning of last season. He has four more years to go on it and becomes an unrestricted free agent. If he continues to improve and he gets that far he will be worth a fortune on the open market. Puck moving defensemen are hard to come by. Like a former Preds defenseman with the last name of Suter, he may have to think about getting out from under the publicity of other Nashville Predators defensemen when that time comes. It’s still a long way off but if any defenseman were traded, he would be the most likely candidate.
9. James Neal – It seems like James Neal has been around the league forever but he’s only 27 years old and has three years left on his contract with the Preds. He is not home-grown like everyone else on this list with the exception of Forsberg, and had a bit of an off-year last season. I think he will come back strong this year and might be a good pick for your jersey.
10. Kevin Fiala – This might be a bit of a stretch as Kevin Fiala isn’t even on the roster yet. And he may start the season in Milwaukee at the beginning of the season. From everything I’ve seen from this youngster though, it won’t be long before he is making his presence felt on the Bridgestone ice. He is on the first year of an entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent after that. If he becomes the player that I think he might, there will be lots of folks wearing jerseys with FIALA across the back very soon.
Well there you have it. Run down to the Predators store at the Arena, shop online or put it on your Christmas list but now you are ready to choose your Nashville Predators jersey to wear proudly.
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