With their date for the playoffs happily assured, let's turn our thoughts to the season as a whole, and how things have worked out for the Nashville Predators. On Friday, we opened the question of which rookie has impressed the most, and now it's time to name a team MVP.
Follow after the jump for a breakdown of the candidates; debate in the comments, and vote in the poll below!
#27 / Right Wing / Nashville Predators
Jan 01, 1987
|2009 - Patric Hornqvist||79||30||21||51||18||40||10||0||8||0||275||10.9|
He leads the Predators in goals, total points, Plus/Minus, and snappy t-shirts. Hornqvist's emergence as an NHL scoring threat has been a pleasant surprise after spending most of last season in Milwaukee. Who says the Preds can't develop young offensive talent?
#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators
Nov 03, 1982
|2009 - Pekka Rinne||56||3122||31||15||5||132||2.54||1478||1346||.911||7|
For a while, we wondered where the amazing rookie from last season went, as he struggled with inconsistency and couldn't lock down the #1 job. Two weeks off to watch the Winter Olympics and a fresh two-year contract have inspired him, however, and Peks has been the best goalie in the league since then. Can he carry this momentum into the playoffs?
#26 / Left Wing / Nashville Predators
Jul 06, 1974
|2009 - Steve Sullivan||80||16||34||50||3||35||4||0||4||0||147||10.9|
So much for all the "injury-riddled Sully" talk that many national commentators used to write the Preds' off as a playoff contender this season. The Timmins Tornado is one of only 3 Predators to play every game, and his combination of veteran savvy along with "the guts of a burglar"*** make him a threat that draws the attention of opposing defenses with every rush. This season, Sully has used that to his advantage in setting up his teammates, and he leads Nashville with 34 assists.
#6 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators
Aug 14, 1985
|2009 - Shea Weber||76||15||26||41||2||36||7||0||3||0||214||7.0|
He simply does it all on the blueline, starting with solid, disciplined defense (he's cut his penalty minutes in half from last season). That low PIM total doesn't mean he's not an intimidating presence, however, as he remains one of the strongest physical defenders in the league, playing heavy minutes against top opponents. His slap shot is legendary, putting him 2nd among NHL defensemen in goals scored, and oh yeah, he's got a pretty snazzy t-shirt, too.
So who gets your vote as the MVP of the 2009-10 Nashville Predators???
***An old expression that Hubie Brown used to use to describe Isiah Thomas back in the 80's, when he'd slash between defenders and drive straight to the hoop. I love that phrase.