While Nashville Predators fans are left on the outside looking in to the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, there are familiar ties to a number of teams, since so many former Preds are playing for contenders this season. Today's question: which ones are you rooting for to win it all?
#55 / Defenseman / Montreal Canadiens
Oct 17, 1975
|2012 - Francis Bouillon||48||1||8||9||4||21||0||0||0||46||2.1|
The Cube was a beloved depth defenseman for three seasons here before returning to Montreal as a free agent. He seems to be faring pretty well under head coach Michel Therrien, for whom he played in junior.
#10 / Left Wing / Washington Capitals
Aug 29, 1981
|2012 - Martin Erat||45||5||19||24||-7||30||1||0||2||69||7.2|
Sure, the Marty Party came to a sudden stop in Nashville at the very end of Trade Deadline Day, but at least the Predators got a tantalizing goal-scoring prospect in Filip Forsberg via trade.
#4 / Defenseman / Toronto Maple Leafs
Aug 08, 1987
|2012 - Cody Franson||45||4||25||29||4||8||3||0||0||70||5.7|
Fruit Cup was sent to Toronto as the price for the Maple Leafs taking on Matthew Lombardi's contract risk, and has developed into a pretty productive blueliner. There simply wasn't any opportunity for him to grow on the right side in Nashville anyway, but it's nice to see him lead Toronto defensemen in scoring this season.
#2 / Defenseman / Vancouver Canucks
Dec 13, 1982
|2012 - Dan Hamhuis||47||4||20||24||9||12||0||1||0||61||6.5|
Hammer left Nashville in the summer of 2010, opting to sign as a free agent with the Canucks, and has established himself as Vancouver's top man on the left side, leading the Canucks' blueliners in scoring just like Franson in Toronto. In fact, five former Predators led their team in defense scoring this year, including Mr. Moneybags below along with Philadelphia's Kimmo Timone and New Jersey's Marek Zidlicky, who didn't make the playoffs.
#27 / Defenseman / San Jose Sharks
Jan 23, 1979
|2012 - Scott Hannan||33||0||1||1||-14||22||0||0||0||25||0.0|
Scott Hannan's stay in Nashville was a brief one, as it was hoped that he could shore up the left side of the D behind Roman Josi, but things never panned out. Traded to San Jose at the deadline for a conditional draft pick, he paid off for Nashville by dressing in Game One of the Sharks/Canucks series, which means the Preds get San Jose's 6th rounder (instead of 7th) this summer.
#38 / Defenseman / Washington Capitals
Jan 24, 1986
|2012 - Jack Hillen||23||3||6||9||9||14||0||0||1||28||10.7|
Thunder Jack was another popular depth defenseman who has gone on to find a steady gig in Washington, where he recently signed a two-year contract extension.
#20 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild
Jan 21, 1985
|2012 - Ryan Suter||48||4||28||32||2||24||3||0||1||91||4.3|
Preds fans who despise Suter for spurning Nashville in free agency are having a rough go of it these days. Together with BFF Zach Parise he led the Wild back to the playoffs, and is the odds-on favorite to win the Norris Trophy.
#22 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Feb 02, 1983
|2012 - Jordin Tootoo||42||3||5||8||0||78||0||0||1||45||6.6|
Toots riled up many by signing with arch-rival Detroit, but even though his paycheck went up, his ice time and offensive production have gone down with the Red Wings.
#92 / Goalie / Pittsburgh Penguins
Jul 02, 1976
|2012 - Tomas Vokoun||20||1029||13||4||0||42||2.45||519||477||.919||3|
Vokoun was all set to be the kind of franchise goalie to lift the expansion-era Preds into Stanley Cup contention, but his best shot in 2007 went bust, and shortly after that team was eliminated he was sent out of town in the Great Fire Sale. He's put up good numbers as Marc Andre-Fleury's backup in Pittsburgh, and it will be interesting to see how much action he gets during their playoff run.
#42 / Right Wing / Washington Capitals
Dec 02, 1980
|2012 - Joel Ward||39||8||12||20||7||12||1||1||1||52|
Wardo left Nashville as a free agent like many others on this list, but you won't find many Predators fans holding a grudge. His unlikely rise from pro roller hockey to stud shutdown winger in the NHL was one of the great stories around Smashville over the last few years. Last spring, he carved himself a permanent spot in Capitals lore by scoring the overtime goal in Game 7 which knocked the Boston Bruins out of the playoffs.