Nashville Predators 2010 Winter Olympics Preview

As part of SB Nation's series of previews for the upcoming Winter Olympics, let's take a look at the Nashville Predators who are expected to represent their country this February in Vancouver. We'll break down which players should pack their bags already, which are in a battle for a roster spot, and which have real work to do if they want their shot at Olympic glory.

Pack Your Bags!

The most prominent Predators discussed in terms of the Winter Olympics are Nashville's twin towers on defense, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber:


Ryan Suter - USA

#20 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators

6-1

194

Jan 21, 1985

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Ryan Suter 25 2 9 11 -2 16 1 0 0 0 24 8.3

Suter, as has been discussed repeatedly, is the son of Bob Suter, a member of the 1980 "Miracle On Ice" U.S. Mens Team. A steady two-way defender who faces elite opposition every night, Suter's greatest strength is his ability to carry the puck from defensive to offensive zone, and get the attack moving. The U.S. should contend for a medal, and Suter is likely to play a major role on a pretty young American squad.


Shea Weber - Canada

#6 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators

6-4

230

Aug 14, 1985

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Shea Weber 23 6 9 15 -2 4 4 0 1 0 66 9.1

The roster selection for Team Canada is one of the most-talked about hockey stories this year. In every online projection for which players will don the Maple Leaf, however, you'll see Shea Weber's name listed as a regular on the blueline. He brings that rare combination of reliable defensive work, outstanding offensive production, and brute physical force that franchises dream of building a team around.


Alexander Radulov - Russia

#47 / Right Wing / Nashville Predators

6-1

188

Jul 05, 1986


Well, he's still under a valid NHL contract with Nashville, so I guess this counts. Radulov should provide secondary scoring for what should be a dynamite Russian squad led by the formidable trio of Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, and Evgeni Malkin.


Marcel Goc - Germany

#9 / Center / Nashville Predators

6-1

200

Aug 24, 1983

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Marcel Goc 23 2 1 3 -2 6 0 0 0 0 36 5.6

Germany isn't exactly stacked with NHL-level talent, and the versatile Goc is sure to be included on Uwe Krupp's team.


Roman_josi_medium

Roman Josi - Switzerland

Defenseman / Nashville Predators

6-1

198

June 1, 1990


This smooth-skating young blueliner, Nashville's 2nd-round pick (38th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, plays in the Swiss League, and last season led all players under age 20 in goals, points and assists. Having appeared in the 2009 World Championships, he's expected to suit up in Vancouver for his native Switzerland, which is capable of the occasional upset, having beaten both the Czech Republic and Canada in the 2006 Turin Games.

In A Battle

Patric Hornqvist - Sweden

#27 / Right Wing / Nashville Predators

5-11

186

Jan 01, 1987

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Patric Hornqvist 25 5 5 10 2 8 0 0 2 0 82 6.1

Sweden is the defending gold medal champion, and while being hailed as "a prime example of someone playing their way onto an Olympic team", the field of potential forwards is a tough one to crack, especially if Peter Forsberg is healthy and ready to go.


Pekka Rinne - Finland

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

206

Nov 03, 1982

GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Pekka Rinne 17 961 11 5 38 2.37 452 414 .916 2

Finland is turning into a real hotbed of goaltending, and with Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff proclaiming that he'd rather stay home if he's not the #1 starter, Rinne might be able to play himself onto this squad alongside competitors like Nicklas Backstrom, Tuukka Rask, and Antero Niitymaki. 


Alexander Sulzer - Germany

#52 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators

 6-1

 204

 May 30, 1984

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Alexander Sulzer 5 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.0

Originally thought of as a lock for the German team, Sulzer's OIympic dreams have likely taken a hit given his lack of playing time so far this season.

Work To Do


Robert Dietrich - Germany

#50 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators

5-10

172

Jul 25, 1986


Dietrich was on Germany's preliminary roster at their summer organizational camp, but is part of a crowded field of players in either North American minor league hockey or European elite leagues. With Milwaukee, he is the Admirals' 2nd-leading scorer with a goal and 13 assists in 21 games.


Martin Erat - Czech Republic

#10 / Left Wing / Nashville Predators

6-0

203

Aug 29, 1981

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Martin Erat 22 4 5 9 -7 20 2 0 1 0 43 9.3

Perhaps the recent injury to Edmonton's Ales Hemsky opens up a roster spot at forward, but Erat's slow start hasn't helped his chances.


Dan Hamhuis - Canada

#2 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators

6-1

203

Dec 13, 1982

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Dan Hamhuis 21 1 6 7 1 18 0 0 0 0 39 2.6

Hamhuis has represented Team Canada at the World Championships on a number of occasions, and was invited to their Olympic camp this summer. There's little reason to believe he'll crack the lineup for the Winter Olympics, however; that's not a crack on his ability, as the competition there is incredibly tough.


David Legwand - USA

#11 / Center / Nashville Predators

6-2

202

Aug 17, 1980

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - David Legwand 25 5 9 14 -1 10 0 1 2 0 53 9.4

Given his stellar defensive work this season in a checking role between Joel Ward and Jerred Smithson, Legwand might gain consideration for a similar job on Team USA. There are few players in the world that can match Leggy's combination of skating ability and size at the center position, and he could help an American team that will hope to win tough, low-scoring games. He'll have to maintain his recent offensive success, however, to get noticed as a hot commodity.

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