|NHL||02/08 01:07||-||VGS Golden Knights vs NAS Predators||-||View|
|NHL||02/11 17:30||-||PHI Flyers vs NAS Predators||-||View|
|NHL||02/14 01:00||-||NAS Predators vs ARZ Coyotes||-||View|
|NHL||02/17 01:00||-||NAS Predators vs BOS Bruins||-||View|
|NHL||02/18 19:00||-||NAS Predators vs FLA Panthers||-||View|
|NHL||02/19 19:00||-||MIN Wild vs NAS Predators||-||View|
|NHL||01/27 01:00||-|| NJ Devils v NAS Predators ||W||4-6|
|NHL||01/25 01:00||-|| WIN Jets v NAS Predators ||W||1-2|
|NHL||01/22 01:00||-|| LA Kings v NAS Predators ||W||3-5|
|NHL||01/20 01:00||-|| NAS Predators v STL Blues ||L||2-5|
|NHL||01/18 01:00||-|| CLB Blue Jackets v NAS Predators ||W||1-2|
|NHL||01/17 01:00||-|| CAL Flames v NAS Predators ||W||1-2|
|NHL||01/15 01:00||-|| BUF Sabres v NAS Predators ||L||5-3|
|NHL||01/13 00:00||-|| NAS Predators v MON Canadiens ||L||3-4|
|NHL||01/12 00:30||-|| NAS Predators v TOR Maple Leafs ||L||1-2|
|NHL||01/10 00:30||-|| NAS Predators v OTT Senators ||W||3-0|
|NHL||01/07 00:00||-|| NAS Predators v WAS Capitals ||W||3-2|
|NHL||01/06 00:00||-|| NAS Predators v CAR Hurricanes ||W||5-3|
The Nashville Predators (commonly referred to as the Preds) are a professional ice hockey team based in Nashville, Tennessee. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Central Division in the Western Conference, and have played their home games at Bridgestone Arena since 1998. Their television broadcasting rights are held by Bally Sports South, and the Nashville Predators Radio Network flagship station is WPRT-FM. The Predators are currently affiliated with one minor league team: the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League (AHL).
The club was founded in 1997, when the NHL granted an expansion franchise to Craig Leipold, with the team beginning play in the 1998–99 season. After five seasons, the Predators qualified for their first Stanley Cup playoffs during the 2003–04 season. In 2008, ownership of the team was transferred from Leipold to a locally based ownership group. The Predators advanced to their first Stanley Cup Finals in 2017, but were defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. In the following season, the Predators won their first Presidents' Trophy and Central Division title.
In late 1995, rumors began to circulate that the New Jersey Devils would relocate to the planned Nashville Arena. Nashville offered a $20 million relocation bonus to any team that would relocate, and the Devils attempted to terminate their lease with the NJSEA before ultimately restructuring it to stay in New Jersey.
After the failed attempt to land the Devils, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stated Nashville would probably be considered in upcoming expansion. The arena was opened in 1996, and after an attempt to bring the National Basketball Association's Sacramento Kings did not materialize, the city instead went after a hockey team.
In January 1997, a group led by Wisconsin businessman Craig Leipold made a formal presentation before the NHL requesting an expansion franchise. When Bettman and league officials visited Nashville to tour the arena, thousands gathered on the arena plaza to greet them. In June, the league granted conditional franchises to Nashville, Columbus, Ohio; Atlanta, and Minneapolis–Saint Paul.
The Nashville team would begin play in 1998 if they met the NHL requirement of selling 12,000 season tickets before March 31, 1998. Of the four cities, Nashville was the only one with a completed arena and therefore began play first. One month later, Leipold named former Washington Capitals general manager David Poile as the franchise's first general manager. Portland Pirates' head coach Barry Trotz was named the franchise's first head coach on August 6.
On September 25, 1997, Leipold and team president Jack Diller held a press conference where they unveiled the franchise's new logo, a saber-toothed cat (Smilodon fatalis). The logo was a reference to a partial Smilodon skeleton found beneath downtown Nashville in 1971 during construction of the First American National Bank building, now the UBS Tower.
Once the logo was unveiled, the franchise held a vote among fans to choose a name. Three candidates were culled from 75: "Ice Tigers," "Fury" and "Attack." Leipold added his own submission to the vote, "Predators." On November 13, Leipold revealed at a press conference that his submission had won out and the new franchise would be known as the "Nashville Predators."
When awarded a franchise, the city of Nashville paid 31.50% of the $80 million fee to join the league. The city has engaged an affiliate of the team to operate the arena, and that agreement protects the city against annual arena operating losses over approximately $3.8 million. The $15 million payroll of the team was the lowest of the NHL.
The Predators began play during the 1998–99 season, taking to the ice for the first time on October 10, 1998, where they lost 1–0 at home to the Florida Panthers. It was the only sold-out game of the Predators' first five bouts in Nashville. Three nights later, on October 13, they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3–2 for their first win. Forward Andrew Brunette scored the first goal. The Predators, in their first year of existence, finished second-to-last in the Western Conference with a 28–47–7 record. In the 1999–2000 season, the Predators finished with a similar record to the previous season, and finished last in the Western Conference behind the Calgary Flames. However, during a game versus the New York Islanders on February 20, 2000, the Predators scored four goals in 3 minutes and 38 seconds.
To begin the 2000–01 season, the Predators played two games at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Each team won a game in front of the largest crowds ever to see a hockey game in Japan (13,849 for the first game and 13,426 for the second game). This included around 100 fans who made the trip from Tennessee. Backed by the goaltending duo of Mike Dunham and Tomas Vokoun, Nashville finished the season in tenth place in the Western Conference, ten points out of a playoff spot with a total of 80 total points. During the 2001–02 season, the Predators recorded their 100th victory on December 6, 2001. With that win, Nashville became the second-fastest expansion team of the 1990s to reach the 100-win plateau. In the 2002–03 season, head coach Barry Trotz broke the record for most games coached by the original coach of an expansion team (392 games).
In June 2003, the Predators hosted the NHL Entry Draft. Future Predators captain Shea Weber was selected by the team with the 49th overall pick.
The club failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs for their first five years as a franchise. However, in the 2003–04 season, the Predators finished eighth in the Western Conference, qualifying for their first postseason berth. The Predators were eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings in six games in the first round of the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs. The following 2004–05 season was wiped out by a labor dispute between NHL owners and players.
The Predators made their biggest free agent signing to that point in August 2005, when they signed Paul Kariya to a two-year, $9 million contract.
In the 2005–06 season, the Predators set an NHL record by winning their first four games by one goal each (although two of those were shootout victories, which would have been tie games in previous seasons). They also became only the fourth NHL franchise to start the season 8–0; the last time a team did so was the Toronto Maple Leafs, who set the mark with a 10–0 start in the 1993–94 season. The Predators set the franchise mark for wins in a season with a 2–0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes on March 16, 2006. In that match, Chris Mason became the ninth goaltender to score a goal. By the end of the season, the Predators had accumulated 106 points—their first 100-point season—and clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in team history. They finished the season with an NHL-best 32–8–1 record at home. However, the Predators would be eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in five games in the first round of the 2006 playoffs.
During the off-season, the Predators acquired veteran center Jason Arnott from free agency on July 2, 2006. In the following season, Arnott and David Legwand led the team in goals with 27 each. Late in the season, the Predators traded two former first-round draft picks, Scottie Upshall and Ryan Parent, plus their first and third-round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, to the Philadelphia Flyers for five-time NHL All-Star Peter Forsberg. The Predators finished the season ranked fourth in the Western Conference with a franchise-record 110 points, finishing third overall behind the Buffalo Sabres and the Red Wings. They were defeated by the Sharks in the first round of the 2007 playoffs for the second year in a row, losing the series 4–1.
The roster saw a depletion in talent during the off-season. With multiple potential buyers and rumors of the franchise moving hounding the team until almost mid-season, the Predators were not expected to be successful during the 2007–08 season. Chris Mason, former backup goaltender to Tomas Vokoun (who was traded to the Florida Panthers) had a shaky season and shared net-minding duties with Dan Ellis. Ellis, who was signed from the Dallas Stars before the season began, had a 233:39 long shutout streak (fifth longest in league history) nearing the end of the season that helped Nashville attain the eighth playoff spot with 91 points. The Predators met the Presidents' Trophy-winning (and eventual Stanley Cup winners) Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs and were defeated 4–2, their fourth-straight first-round knockout.
The first off-season of settling in under new ownership was a quiet one for the Predators with little personnel movement. As such, the Predators began the 2008–09 season with little expectation. Following a strong push after the All-Star break and no movement at the trade deadline, the team found themselves still battling for a playoff spot into the last week of the season. Buoyed by the return of Steve Sullivan after almost two seasons recovering from a back injury, the Predators finished with 88 points, settling for tenth place in the Western Conference, missing the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.
The Predators made few major additions to their roster in the 2009 off-season, signing former San Jose Sharks forward Marcel Goc (who was extended for another year by the club in mid-season) and former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Francis Bouillon. The 2009–10 season also saw the much-anticipated debut of top prospect Colin Wilson. However, due to a groin injury suffered in training camp, Wilson spent the first week-and-a-half of the season on the sidelines, and was sent to the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League (AHL) in November. He returned to the club in February and scored 11 points in his next 15 games and finished the season with 15 points in 35 games. 2010 also saw a breakout year for the last pick in the 2005 Draft, Patric Hornqvist, as the 23-year-old Swede scored 30 in the 2009–10 season, becoming the fourth Predator to do so (the others being Steve Sullivan, Paul Kariya and Jason Arnott). The Predators qualified for the 2010 playoffs, facing the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round. The Predators earned their first postseason road win on April 16, 2010, when they beat the Blackhawks 4–1 at the United Center, although they lost the overall series in six games.
On July 9, 2010, the Predators announced defenseman Shea Weber would become the club's fifth captain. In the following years' playoffs, the Predators advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They defeated the Anaheim Ducks in the first round, winning the fourth game of the series at Bridgestone Arena on April 24, 2011. Two days prior, Predators' goaltender Pekka Rinne was nominated as a Vezina Trophy finalist for his performance during the 2010–11 season. The Predators played against the number-one ranked team in the NHL in the second round, the Vancouver Canucks. The Predators lost the series 4–2.
On June 22, 2011, the Predators unveiled their modified logo set for the 2011–12 season. With the color scheme simplified to blue, gold, and white and eliminating orange, silver, and steel, the Predators cleaned up their primary logo and wordmark. A new alternate logo incorporating elements from a guitar pick and the Tennessee state flag was also introduced. Home jerseys changed from blue to gold.
In the beginning of the 2011–12 season, on November 3, 2011, the Predators signed goaltender Pekka Rinne to a seven-year, $49 million deal. It was the largest contract awarded in Predators' history, as well as making Rinne the highest-paid goaltender in the NHL that year. On February 27, 2012, during the NHL's trade deadline, the Predators acquired Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad from the Montreal Canadiens and the Buffalo Sabres, respectively. The Predators surrendered draft picks to bolster their team for the 2012 playoffs. The season also saw the return of Russian forward Alexander Radulov to the Predators after a four-year hiatus to play in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). For the second year in a row, and the second time in the team's history, the Predators won a first-round series in the Stanley Cup playoffs, defeating the Red Wings in a best-of-seven series 4–1. However, for the second year in a row, the Predators were ousted in the Western Conference second round, this time to the Phoenix Coyotes.
The following 2012–13 season as a result of the 2012–13 NHL lockout. The Predators failed to qualify for the playoffs in the shortened season, the first time they failed to do so since the 2008–09 season. After the season, the Predators signed Weber through a front-loaded $110 million, 14-year offer sheet, $68 million of it as a signing bonus, from the Philadelphia Flyers on July 19. The offer sheet was the richest in NHL history in terms of total money, money per season, and length, surpassing the previous offer sheet record set by Thomas Vanek.
The following season saw the departure of center David Legwand, the first player ever drafted by the Predators, the club's all-time leading scorer, and was co-leading scorer for the season at the time. Agreeing to waive his "no-trade clause", he was traded on March 5, 2014, to his hometown team, the Detroit Red Wings, in exchange for prospect forward Calle Jarnkrok, forward Patrick Eaves and a third-round pick in the upcoming 2014 NHL Entry Draft. After missing the playoffs for the second season in a row, the Predators opted not to renew the contract of Barry Trotz as their head coach after 15 years, although he was offered an unnamed position within the organization. On May 6, 2014, the Predators announced Peter Laviolette as their new head coach.
In Peter Laviolette's first season as the Predators' head coach, the Predators finished second in the Central Division. Despite having home advantage in the first round of the 2015 playoffs, they lost the first round in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks, who went on to win the Stanley Cup. For the following 2015–16 season, the Predators name Sean Henry CEO and then finished as the Western Conference's first wild-card, earning 96 points. When they advanced to the second round after beating the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7, it was the franchise's first seven-game series and seven-game series win. They were eliminated in seven games by the San Jose Sharks, who went on to win the conference.
The Predators hosted the 2016 National Hockey League All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena.
In the 2016 off-season, on June 29, 2016, the Predators traded Weber to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman P. K. Subban. The trade surprised many hockey fans because the details to this trade were kept strictly confidential until the deal was already made. On September 7, 2016, the Predators announced Mike Fisher would replace Weber as the sixth captain of the club.
In the 2016–17 season, the Predators finished fourth in the Central Division with 94 points, which earned them the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The 2016–17 season marked the first time the Predators sold out all 41 regular season home games. Their eighth-place finish in the conference gave them a first-round Stanley Cup playoff matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks, who finished first in the conference during the regular season.
The Predators swept the Blackhawks in four games. This was the first time an eighth seed swept a playoff series against the top seed in the conference in NHL history as well as the first time that there had been a sweep by an eighth seed against a top seed in a best-of-seven playoff series in the history of North American major league professional sports. In the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Predators defeated the St. Louis Blues in six games, marking the first time the team advanced to the Western Conference Finals. On May 16, the Predators became the first team in 20 years (since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997) to achieve ten-straight wins at home in the postseason. On May 22, 2017, the Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks 6–3 and won the series four games to two, winning the Western Conference, and advancing to the club's first Stanley Cup Finals. In the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals, the Predators went down 2–0 against the Penguins before battling back and leveling the series at two, winning games 3 and 4 at home. Returning to Pittsburgh, the Predators lost 6–0 before being eliminated at home 2–0 in game 6.
On April 5, 2018, the Predators clinched their first division title in team history while also claiming their first Presidents' Trophy. They defeated the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the playoffs in six games, and then lost to the Winnipeg Jets in seven games in the second round.
The Predators played in their first outdoor game at the 2020 NHL Winter Classic, facing the Dallas Stars at the Cotton Bowl.
The Predators fired head coach Laviolette on January 6, 2020, with the team sitting at sixth place in the division at the time and a record of 19–15–7.
On January 7, 2020, John Hynes was hired as the third head coach in the Predators' franchise history. In Hynes' first game as coach, Pekka Rinne became the second Predators goaltender to score a goal in a 5–2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The team's season would come to an abrupt end two months later when the league suspended operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Predators advanced to the 2020 playoffs, but were defeated by the Arizona Coyotes in the qualifying round. The Predators returned to the playoffs in 2021, but were defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes in the First Round.
The Predators hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nissan Stadium in their second outdoor game, the 2022 NHL Stadium Series, on February 26, 2022, losing 3-2 in front of a crowd of 68,619. They clinched the 2022 playoffs, but were swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche in the First Round.