We have a quartet of prime candidates for today's entry in the jersey number series. A banger, a scorer, a bargain-bin wonder and a minor-leaguer who rose to the challenge all vie for today's top spot...
Patrick Cote (1998-2000)
Selected as part of the 1998 Expansion Draft from Dallas, Cote piled up 242 penalty minutes during the Preds' inaugural season to lead the team. He played just 21 games in 1999-2000 to wrap up his career as a Predator before moving on to Edmonton.
Scott Hartnell (2000-2007)
One of the more popular players in team history, Hartnell was picked in the 1st round (6th overall) in 2000 by Nashville and stepped right into an NHL job, an incredibly rare feat in this organization. He still ranks in the teams Top 10 in Games Played (436, 10th), Goals (93, 9th) and Power Play Goals (30, 6th). Perhaps my favorite moment was when he came back to Nashville the first time as a Philadelphia Flyer, however, and when his mug was put up on the big screen for a rousing round of applause, he responded with a wave to the camera like a five-year-old who had just caught a puck.
Jan Hlavac (2008)
Is this guy the Greatest Trade Deadline pickup ever by the Preds? He was acquired from Tampa Bay for just a 7th-round draft pick in 2008, and seemed to make a perfect fit alongside David Legwand and Martin Erat, scoring 3 goals and adding 10 assists in 18 regular season games for Nashville. Many were disappointed when the Predators simply let Hlavac go back to Sweden rather than bring him back for about $1 million during the summer of 2008. In the 2008-2009 campaign, the Preds suffered a horrendous lack of depth on the wing and failed to make the playoffs for the only time in the last eight seasons.
Chris Mueller (2011-2012)
The workmanlike hustler who made an impression on Preds fans when pressed into duty during the 2010-2011 season switched to #17 last season, going scoreless in four contests. He's inked to a two-way contract for 2012-2013, so we'll see if he gets another shot.