The 2012-2013 NHL season is still a long ways off, so to keep us occupied until then we're kicking off a new series of articles intending to stir conversation and bring back some memories of former Nashville Predators. We'll take a look at all the jersey numbers which have been worn by multiple players over the years, and ask you to decide who which has done each number the
Let's take a look at the contenders for our first number to consider, #2...
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Rob Zettler (1999)
Zettler had a long NHL career as a rugged defenseman, playing 569 games for 6 teams. Only two of those games came in a Nashville Predators jersey, however, after he was claimed from Toronto in the Preds' expansion draft in 1998. He spent most of the 1998-99 season with the IHL's Utah Grizzlies, but got called up for a couple contests with the Preds in February of '99, a pair of losses to Detroit and Pittsburgh. He recorded no points, 2 penalty minutes, and was a -2.
Dan Keczmer (1999-2000)
Another journeyman blueliner, Keczmer played 235 games over the course of 10 seasons for 5 different NHL teams. Late in the Predators inaugural season of 1998-99, Nashville claimed Keczmer off waivers from the Dallas Stars, suiting up for 16 games with the Preds down the stretch, and 24 the next season. On February 9, 2000, Keczmer was traded to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick, but Keczmer never played in the NHL again.
Through 40 games as a Predator, Keczmer recorded 5 assists, 40 penalty minutes, and a -5 rating.
In an interesting sidenote, back in 1991 he was traded by San Jose to Hartford for our new Milwaukee Admirals head coach, Dean Evason.
Dan Hamhuis (2004-2010)
A prototypical example of Nashville's reputation for drafting and developing quality defensemen, Hammer was a 1st-round pick (12th overall) in the 2001 NHL Draft. He played one more year of junior hockey and one in Milwaukee before making his NHL debut with an 80-game rookie season in 2003-4. During the lockout he went back to the AHL, but picked right up where he left up once NHL play resumed, solidifying his role as a Top 4 defender and versatile contributor on special teams.
After six seasons in Nashville, Hamhuis racked up 32 goals, 129 assists, 375 penalty minutes and a +3 rating. In the summer of 2010 he left the Preds as a free agent and signed with his hometown Vancouver Canucks. He turned off many fans here with some joking comments about attendance in Nashville, but he was always a positive influence in the community here.
Teemu Laakso (2012)
Laakso has worn a variety of numbers during occasional appearances in the NHL over the last three seasons, sporting #4 and #32 before switching things up last fall. Despite continued development in Milwaukee, he never could earn a regular job at the NHL level, and this summer took his game back across the water to the KHL.
In 9 games wearing the #2 in 2011-2012, Laakso tallied no points, 8 penalty minutes, and -1 rating.
So who gets your vote as Nashville's consummate #2?