After Fitzgerald’s departure for the Chicago Blackhawks (gross), the franchise turned to another player taken in the 1998 Expansion Draft (with the 23rd pick), Greg Johnson.
Johnson would go on to serve as captain of the team from 2002 – 2006, and during its first two playoff appearances in both 2004 and 2006 (because of the 2005 lockout).
Though the Predators didn’t make it out of the first round in either instance, it was still a major milestone for the franchise, and the first indicator that hockey belonged in Nashville.
In seven seasons with Nashville, Johnson managed a respectable 238 points while logging 14 game-winning goals.
Johnson would later sign with the Red Wings, and then retire before playing with them, due to a heart condition. He died tragically in November of 2019 and will always be remembered as one of the original leaders of the Predators franchise.