April 15, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Kevin Klein (8) celebrates his goal in the second period of game three of the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
After a day off, our greatest jersey number series moves on to the Great 8's. Who is the top Octo-Predator in Nashville history? Let's find out...
Doug Friedman (1998)
A member of Nashville's Expansion Draft class, Friedman played just two games as a Predator, spending most of the 1998-1999 season with the Milwaukee Admirals. His assist on December 10, 1998 in a 2-1 win over San Jose was the only point he recorded in his NHL career.
Craig Millar (1999-2001)
Acquired in the summer of 1999 by the Preds from Edmonton, Millar enjoyed perhaps his most productive professional season manning the Nashville defense that year. His 57 games played, 16:53 average ice time, 14 points (3 goals, 11 assists) and 28 penalty minutes were all career highs.
After 5 games in the 2000-2001 season, however, Millar was put on waivers and claimed by Tampa Bay. He suited up for 16 contests with the Lightning to round out his NHL playing days.
Stu Grimson (2001)
The Predators have a long tradition of dressing heavyweight enforcers, and the Grim Reaper ranks among the game's greatest over the last 20 years. By the time he joined Nashville in the summer of 2001, however, he was already 36, and didn't have much tread left on the tires.
As has been much discussed over the last few years, fighters often pay a high price to do their job, and a fight with Edmonton's George Laraque led to a concussion which ended Grimson's playing career. Grimson retired in the Nashville area, however, and has perhaps made a more last mark as an alumnus of the club, easing himself more and more into a media role with the team over the course of time, often serving as color commentator on radio broadcasts, or filling in on TV (such as when Terry Crisp was called away for Winter Classic activities). Expect to see much more of Grimson in the years ahead.
Kevin Klein (2007-present)
Known as the guy Nashville drafted 12 spots ahead of Shea Weber in the 2003 Entry Draft, Kleiner has grown into a fairly reliable 2nd-pair defenseman and PK specialist. After wearing the #49 during his two-game debut in 2005-2006, Klein has worn the #8 ever since, and has now passed 300 games played during the regular season.
As a defenseman's defenseman, Klein usually shows up in the highlight films when an opponent scores a goal, leading to him receiving perhaps more than his fair share of abuse. During this spring's playoff run, however, he enjoyed a couple moments in the spotlight, which earned him a nod from Barry Melrose at the time:
Who is the Greatest #8 in Nashville Predators history?
Doug Friedman (2 votes)
Stu Grimson (91 votes)
Kevin Klein (417 votes)
Craig Millar (3 votes)
513 total votes