The Nashville Predators Are a Goaltending Factory
By Patrick Hoffman
Ever since the Nashville Predators joined the league in the 1998-99 season, they have been one of the better clubs in the National Hockey League.
This is a franchise that knows how to win consistently, draft well, have strong depth in their lineup, and hire the right people throughout the organization. This is why when it comes to NHL franchises, the Predators are good one to model yourself after.
A major reason why the Predators have been so competitive is because of their goaltending. This team has had a plethora of solid goaltenders and because of this, the team wins a lot more games than they lose.
It really all started with Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun was a member for the Predators for eight seasons and put up some solid numbers with the franchise and had 161 career victories.
After Vokoun, it was Chris Mason who took over the starting role. Mason did not fair as well as Vokoun did, but he still did his part to keep the Predators competitive on a nightly basis.
Following Mason was Dan Ellis. Ellis had a great season in 2007-08 as he went 23-10-3 with a 2.34 goals against average, a .924 save percentage and 6 shutouts, while also playing pretty well in their first round loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.
The team also had Anders Lindback. In 2010-11, he went 11-5-2 with a 2.60 goals against average, a .915 save percentage, and 2 shutouts.
Pekka Rinne was the next man up and obviously, he has been the franchise's best goaltender. Rinne is the franchise leader in wins, shutouts, goals against average, save percentage, playoff wins, and he has also been a three time Vezina Trophy finalist for the league's best goaltender (2011, 2012, and 2015).
Should Rinne ever go down, the Predators would be set in goal once again with Juuse Saros. In 14 games this season, he is 5-4-4 with a 2.33 goals against average, a .927 save percentage and three shutouts.
What's also great about Saros is that he is only 22-years-old. With Rinne starting to get up there in age (35), Saros may be next in line to take over the starting goaltender throne for this franchise.
If you're a Predators fan, you have to be proud of all the solid goaltenders that your franchise has had. The Predators goaltending is one of the main reasons why their franchise has been competitive so long.
Let's hope that it stays that way for Nashville!
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.