The Nashville Predators have announced their 2018-19 opening night roster.
It hardly takes an official announcement to know that reigning Vezina Trophy winner Pekka Rinne, 2017-18 All-Rookie Team member Juuse Saros, Norris Trophy finalist PK Subban, captain Roman Josi and the top line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson have made the squad. Matter of fact, most of the roster was already set when training camp started back in mid-September.
There were a few conversation that needed to be had, however. With Austin Watson’s 27-game suspension, who would take his place? Could controversial free agent Zac Rinaldo be anything more than an AHL signing? Would the Predators actually carry eight defensemen to start the season?
Today, we have those answers.
FORWARDS (12): Viktor Arvidsson, Nick Bonino, Kevin Fiala, Filip Forsberg, Frederick Gaudreau, Calle Jarnkrok, Ryan Johansen, Zac Rinaldo, Miikka Salomaki, Colton Sissons, Craig Smith and Kyle Turris.
DEFENSEMEN (8): Anthony Bitetto, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Dan Hamhuis, Matt Irwin, Roman Josi, PK Subban and Yannick Weber.
GOALTENDERS (2): Pekka Rinne, Juuse Saros
Also of note, winger Ryan Hartman will start the season on the injured reserve while forward Austin Watson is designated “non-roster” as he serves his 27-game suspension.
That gives the Predators 22 players as opposed to using the full 23-man limit, allowing General Manager David Poile some flexibility were something to arise.
Nashville opens their 21st National Hockey League season this Thursday at Madison Square Garden as they take on the New York Rangers before heading to Brooklyn to face the John Tavares-les New York Islanders on Saturday.
The home opener — complete with Presidents’ Trophy banner raising — is Tuesday night, October 9, when they host James Neal and the Calgary Flames.