With the 2013-2014 season finally reaching its conclusion, the NHL quickly moves into its busiest two weeks of the offseason with the 2014 NHL entry draft and open season for free agents upcoming. Meanwhile, a couple of other significant moments have occurred in the last few days, including the release of the 2014-2015 schedule, Nashville releasing it’s preseason schedule, the 2014 Hall of Fame Class being announced and the first major trade of what could be a summer full of them.
~NHL releases it’s 2014-2015 schedule~
The National Hockey League has released its 2014-2015 regular season schedule. Here are few Predator key dates to look forward to:
Oct. 9: Preds vs. Senators. Nashville opens the season against Ottawa on home ice. (NHL’s opener is a day earlier, with Montreal and Toronto breaking the ice with the first of four games).
Nov. 25: Preds vs. Kings. Nashville’s first matchup with defending champion Los Angeles.
Dec. 27: Preds vs. Flyers. Nashville’s new coach Peter Laviolette faces his old Philadelphia squad, minus one hairy stalwart (more on this later), for the first time.
Jan. 16: Preds vs. Capitals. Nashville welcomes former coach Barry Trotz back to the Music City for his first game as an opposing coach.
~2014 Hall of Fame Class Announced~
The Nashville Predators finally have a former player in the Hall of Fame. Peter Forsberg joins the hockey immortals after terrific, but injury shortened career. For the record, the man who has his own postage stamp back home in Sweden, played in just 22 games for Nashville, accounting for two goals and 15 points in 17 regular season games, and two goals and four points in a five-game series loss to San Jose. Forsberg was acquired at the trade deadline for former Admiral Scottie Upshall, 2005 Predators first-round draft pick defenseman Ryan Parent (who played 10 playoff games with Milwaukee in the spring of 2006) and a pair of draft picks (2007 first and third rounders). Though Nashville got a future Hall of Famer as a rental, Philadelphia acquired what amounted to three first round picks in the deal, making this one of David Poile’s most questioned trades.
Forsberg joins fellow first-time player inductees Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano in the 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame Class. Defenseman Rob Blake was the fourth and final selection. Also going into the Hall of Fame via the builders category were long overdue, three-time Jack Adams Award winning coach Pat Burns and referee Bill McCreary.
~2014 Predators Preseason Schedule~
Shortly before the release of the entire 2014-2015 schedule, Nashville released its 2014 preseason schedule. Several future Milwaukee Admirals will be in action in a Predators’ jersey during the six-game slate which includes four home games, and two contests each with Eastern Conference foes Tampa Bay, Florida and Columbus.
~Scott Hartnell traded for R.J. Umberger~
Count me as shocked when I heard the news that former Nashville Predator Scott Hartnell was traded on Monday for Columbus forward R.J. Umberger, plus a 2015 fourth-round pick. The two-time 30 goal scorer is now the third Flyer in recent years that signed a long-term extension with the club, only to get traded shortly after (Mike Richards and Jeff Carter being the others). Hartnell, who waived his no-trade clause to make the deal happen, was swapped for a player who had requested a trade away from the Blue Jackets.