Ain't no party like a Marty party...
Our Predators jersey series moves on to number 10. Though there are only three players that have ever donned that number in the team's history, two of the three will be remembered undoubtedly as figures who greatly impacted the fate of the Predators.
Another player that joined the Predators during the inaugural season, the Swedish forward was acquired by the Predators after playing in Sweden for six seasons. Prior to arriving to Nashville, Kjellberg was part of the Swedish squad that captured the gold medal on Peter Forsberg's dramatic shoot-out goal at the Olympics and the gold medal at the 1998 World Championships. The Predators scouted all across Europe to add depth to the fledgling franchise and were able to bring Kjellberg back to the NHL (Kjellberg had played for the Montreal Canadiens).
In his first season with the Predators, Kjellberg scored 11 goals and 31 points. The following season he improved to 23 goals and just as many assists, finishing second in points on the team. Moreover, at the end of the season, Kjellberg had the greatest number of powerplay goals on the team (9) and had the highest shooting percentage (17.8%). The following year, Kjellberg tallied only 14 goals, yet his point total hovered around the same number (45), good for third on the team. By the time the fourth season rolled around, Kjellberg was not the same point accumulating machine he had been the last three years for the Preds, which led to his trade to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on November 1, 2001, for Petr Tenkrat.
Before joining the Predators organization for the 02-03 season, Wilm played four seasons in Calgary. After only one season in Nashville, in which Wilm amassed 5 goals and 16 points (and a horrible +/- rating of -11), the former Saskatoon Blade junior was acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the summer of 2003, where he would struggle to produce offensively and would mostly spend the rest of his professional hockey league career in North America in the AHL.
The other well known "Marty" of the NHL besides Martin Broudeur of the New Jersey Devils has proven to be an invaluable asset to the Predators since his debut with the team in the 01-02 season. It is quite mind-blowing that Erat was drafted in the seventh round of the 1999 Entry Draft and has now proven to be a formidable top-six forward for Nashville. In his debut season, Erat finished with a remarkable 33 points (9-24-33) in 80 games. Though Erat underwent a slump and was reassigned to Milwaukee for the season the following year, he would return to the NHL readier than ever to earn his way to the top of the Predators lineup. This of course occurred after changing his number from 19 to 10 in the offseason. In the 03-04 season, Erat went on to establish a career high 49 points (16-33-49), as well as a +10 rating (second on the team), helping the Preds reach the post season for the first time in franchise history. In the 06-07 season, Erat secured his spot on the team's top unit, often being paired with David Legwand and Paul Kariya.
Since that magical season for Erat, he has not sunk below 49 points in a season and has performed phenomenally both on the NHL and international stages. Erat is second on the Predators roster for all-time games played (616), goals (140), assists (262), points (402), and multiple-point games (87). Due to his consistent success, Erat signed a 7 year, $31.5 million dollar contract with the Predators following the 07-08 season. On the international scene, Erat represented the Czech Republic in the 2001 World Junior Championship in their run to winning to the gold medal. In the 2006 Winter Olympics he helped the Czech team secure a Bronze Medal. In 2006 and 2008, Erat was selected to play alongside his countrymen in the World Hockey Championship, winning a silver medal in 2006 in Riga, Latvia.
Who is the greatest #10 in Nashville Predators history?
Martin Erat (514 votes)
Patric Kjellberg (7 votes)
Clarke Wilm (5 votes)
526 total votes