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J is for Jethro

The Nashville Predators are already being lauded as an early pick for Western Conference leadership this year (along with Anaheim), but today they took a bold step in validating those predictions by signing free agent J.P. Dumont to a two-year contract. This gives the Preds unrivaled depth up front, with Jason Arnott, Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya supported by a bevy of 20-goal scorers like Scott Hartnell, Martin Erat, and Dumont. Toss in Josef Vasicek, David Legwand, and the highly anticipated Alexander Radulov, and it looks like Nashville is ready to shake off the image of gritty, overachieving scrubs that they've had in years past. Instead of fighting for 2-1 victories and relying on Tomas Vokoun to outplay the other goalie every night, the Preds should have enough firepower to make other teams adjust their gameplans.

Worse news yet for rivals like Detroit is that this deal still leaves Nashville waaaaaaaay under the salary cap, meaning that they'll have the flexibility to fill those few missing pieces (like a bruising defenseman) close to the trading deadline if they're in a position to contend for a Cup. A real giant could be in the making down in Music City...