With several weeks separating us from training camp, and the bulk of free agent activity behind us, it's time to step back from the day-to-day stories around the Nashville Predators, and consider some of the broader conversation around the long-term story of this franchise. With that in mind, let's pick up with a series which got rolling last summer, debating which player best represented each jersey number worn in team history.
NOTE: The poll below refers to what each player did while wearing this jersey number, we're not rating their entire career, or entire time with the Predators.
We resume with #37, which brings up some painful memories of what might have been...
A journeyman winger who served two different stints in Smashville, Stevenson wore #37 for just one game, on March 11 2001 (featuring an uneventful six shifts for 4:20 of ice time), before switching to #28 for the rest of his days as a Predator.
A fan favorite for his self-sacrificing style of play as one of the league's top shot-blockers, Zanon spent most of his time in Nashville wearing the #5, but for four games in 2005-6 he wore #37 instead. By the time he showed up at training camp in the fall of 2006, he switched to #5 and stuck with it for the next three seasons.
Peverley's story reopens an old wound for many Predators fans, as he has gone on to a very successful career after getting waived by Nashville in January of 2009. He had only put up seven goals and 13 assists in 73 games across three seasons for the Preds, but there was the question of whether he had been placed in a position to succeed by centering muckers and grinders on depth lines. Claimed by the Atlanta Thrashers, Peverley immediately paid dividends as a playmaker for Ilya Kovalchuk, before moving on to Boston and now Dallas as a valuable secondary scorer.
Acquired at the 2010 Trade Deadline from Edmonton in exchange for a 2nd-round draft pick, Grebeshkov was primed to add a new dimension to Nashville's game as a savvy puck-moving defenseman. Unfortunately, in just his 4th game for the Predators, he took a puck right in the Grebeshkovs, requiring post-game surgery (the amazing thing is that he played through the injury for most of that night's game). He only returned to action for the final two games of the playoff series against Chicago, recording a pair of assists, and the Preds decided not to extend him a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent, so he headed off to play in the KHL. This summer, however, he signed a new contract which brings him back to Edmonton, potentially giving the Oilers a sorely needed injection of talent on the blueline.
This makes for an interesting debate, because nobody stands out for having achieved an incredible amount while wearing this number for Nashville, but both Peverley and Grebeshkov showed signs of being able to do so before circumstances dictates otherwise. Who gets your vote as the top #37 in Preds history? Vote in the poll and sound off in the comments below...