The Nashville Predators made a deal in the 1998 Expansion Draft with the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings would trade Kimmo Timonen, who they drafted in 1993, along with another player if The Predators agreed not to take Gary Galley during the expansion. Even though Timonen was drafted in 1993 he played for his home country of Finland before playing in the NHL. Having never played for the Kings, Timonen started his rookie year split between Nashville and Milwaukee.
After his first season he became a mainstay on the Predators roster and as each season came he got better and better as an offensive defenseman. He never scored 20 goals like Shea Weber, but he contributed to multiple 40 point and 50 point seasons. Timonen is 4th overall and 2nd for a defenseman when it comes to the team records of games played, assists, and overall points. Timonen becomes the standard for Nashville before Weber became the new defensive face to the team.
Timonen had his best season statistically during his final season as a Predator. He played in 80 games tying his highest season goal total of 13, his most assists in a season with 42, and most points in a season with 55. Timonen was in his early 30’s when we traded him with Scott Hartnell to The Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a first-round pick that turned into Jonathon Blum. That didn’t turn out too well.
It’s a shame to see the business side of hockey take over sometimes when it comes to trading players like Kimmo. You always hope players like him could just retire a Predator and you don’t have to see them go. The good news for Kimmo Timonen was how he ended his career. After battling blood clots found in both his leg and his lungs Timonen was able to play for one more season. He was traded from Philly to Chicago in the 2014-2015 season where he played only 16 games, but got to enjoy the greatest prize in all of sports, The Stanley Cup.
It was sad to see a Predator great not only defeat the Preds in the playoffs, but to also raise the Cup with a bitter rival. But with all that aside I’m glad number 44 got to raise the Cup in his last season, and I hope for his banner in Nashville soon.
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