The Nashville Predators made their NHL debut in the 1998-99 season. The exapnsion franchise was officially accepted into the league in the summer of 1997, owned by Leipold Hockey Holdings LLC and were slated to play in the brand new Nashville Arena. The team name "Predators" was announced by majority owner Craig Leipold and president Jack Diller. For their logo, the Predators chose the image of a sabre-toothed tiger which was native in prehistoric times to what is today the Nashville area. They also hired veteran Washington Capitals general manager David Poile and brought in Barry Trotz as the franchise's first coach. The Predators began to build their team through in the 1998 amateur entry draft with the selection of highly regarded Ontario Hockey League prospect, David Legwand.
The Nashville Predators registered their first win in franchise history on October 13, 1998, by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. They finished their fist year with a 28-47-7 record for 63 points, finishing last in the Central Division. Their second season saw the Predators add to their quality of play and prove to be a tough game for most teams. But they finished with a record similar to the year before, 28-47-7-7, and once again finished in last place in the Central division and out of the postseason. The 2000-01 season would see the Predators put up their best record to date, finishing with a 34-34-9-3 record and 80 points. But even with the .500 record, they fell short of a Stanley Cup playoff berth. The 2001-02 season brought much of the same in Nashville - an inconsistent style of play that would see the Predators fall back below .500 in the regular season.
The 2002-03 regular season saw the Nashville Predators start off on the wrong foot. They only won two of their first twenty games and soon experienced some long awaited changes. Long time goaltender Mike Dunham was traded to the New York Rangers, a move that would eventually be followed by more in the next off season. Back on the ice their streaky play continued as the Preds followed their cold streak with a hot couple of months that had them knocking on the playoff door. But that dream would also succumb to a streak as the Predators went winless in their last fifteen games to finish out of the playoffs with a of 27-35-13-7 record. The offseason saw the team get even younger as Andy Delmore went to the Buffalo Sabres, Bill Houlder wasn't signed as a free agent and Cale Hulse was moved to the Phoenix Coyotes.
Nashville Predators Overview:
Arena: Gaylord Entertainment Center
Stanley Cups won: 0