We are now moving on to #21 in our jersey series. Two candidates will forever be remembered by the Predators' faithful, while two will be more remembered for having their teammate's backs at every turn.
After two successful runs to the Stanley Cup Finals with the Florida Panthers in 1996 and Colorado Avalanche in 1998, Fitzgerald joined the expansion Predators before the commencement of their inaugural season and named the veteran winger their first captain. A leader and penalty killer for the Predators, Fitzgerald recorded 32 goals and 88 points in four seasons, though he had incurred a horrendous -45 +/- rating during this time period. Due to his declining play during his last season with the Preds, Fitzgerald was dealt in the latter half of the 01-02 season to the Chicago Blackhawks for a fourth-round selection in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
An alum of seven NHL teams, Johansson left his mark on the Predators after being signed as free agent at the beginning of the 02-03 season. The Hofors, Sweden native had prolific first year in Music City, leading the team in goals scored (20) and shooting percentage (16.1 %). During his two seasons with Preds, Johansson scored a total of 32 goals and 64 points. He became a free agent after the 03-04 season and returned to the Swiss National League for the lockout season, though he would never end up making his way back to NHL for the remainder of his professional career.
Arguably one of the most hyped-up trades at the Trade Deadline in recent NHL history, Forsberg was traded in 2007 to the Preds from the Philadelphia Flyers for Ryan Parent, Scottie Upshall, a first-round pick and third-round draft pick in the 2007 Entry Draft. This was the first time in the history of the fledgling franchise that the Preds made a move for such a high-profile player as Forsberg. Unfortunately, the Preds received him in the latter part of his career, and the center who had won two Stanley Cups on top of the Hart and Art Ross Trophies did not necessarily have the impact that Preds fans and upper management had counted on. That year, the Predators were beat in the first round of the playoffs by the San Jose Sharks.
Nevertheless, Forsberg's numbers were still fairly impressive, considering his age and the amount of games he played with the team. In only 17 games with the Preds in the regular season, he amassed 2 goals and 15 points, and in the playoffs, he managed 2 goals and 4 points. During the offseason, Forsberg underwent foot surgery and became a free agent, eventually being resigned by the team for whom he won two Stanley Cups, the Colorado Avalanche.
Grant was acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers along with a seventh-round pick in the 2009 Entry Draft for defenseman Janne Niskala on June 24, 2008. He played 3 games with the Preds, sat in the penalty box for 9 minutes, and was thereafter reassigned to the Admirals for the remainder of the season. In 74 games with the Ads, Grant scored 12 goals and 25 points. He did not fail to maintain his tradition of sitting in the box, accumulating 236 in that time span. He became a free agent in the offseason and was eventually picked up by the Rochester Americans, farm team of the Buffalo Sabres.
Contrary to popular belief, Stortini has once crossed paths with the Predators organization, seven years ago. In the 05-06 season, he played 37 games with Milwaukee, tallying seven assists before being sent to the Edmonton Oilers organization the following season. Five years later, the Predators signed him to one-year, two-way contract. Shortly after the beginning of the season, Stortini was placed on waivers by the Preds, but he was eventually reassigned to Milwaukee. This past year, Stortini had a sub-par season, amassing 9 goals and 15 points, though he did rake in 146 PIM.